The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

I don’t often read novels in verse. They aren’t my thing, but Elizabeth Acevedo’s debut novel, “The Poet X,” is making think I have been missing out.  Acevedo tells the story of Xiomara who feels ignored at home and school, but is also the target unwanted attention from both her classmates and mother. The boys see her curves as an invitation comment and touch. Her religiously devout mother is only concerned if Xiomara does her chores and obeys her strict rules. The people around make it clear to her they are only interested in what she can do do for them, so she keeps her thoughts and feelings to herself and instead pours them into her poetry. Things start to change once Xiomara is invited to join a slam poetry club at school and she starts to find her voice. It gives her the confidence to share her inner thoughts for the first time and the courage to stand up to those around her.

The “The Poet X” was captivating from start to finish. Acevedo’s verse is full of beautiful imagery where words and ideas flow effortlessly to give the reader insight into what Xiomara’s life. Highly recommended for everyone who enjoys contemporary, realistic fiction and novels in verse. Also recommended as an audiobook.


The Emperor of Any Place by Tim Wynne-Jones

Evan’s father died with a yellow bound book in his hand.  The yellow book contains the journal of a Japanese soldier, who was stranded on a small island in the Pacific during WWII.  As Evan cracks the journal open he realizes that it was recovered by his estranged grandfather, a U.S. Marine and that the stranded Japanese soldier never made it off the island.  Now this grandfather (Griff), who Evan’s never met, is coming to help put Evan’s father’s estate in order.

The arrival of his grandfather and the information contained in the yellow book send Evan down the rabbit’s hole.   If his father hated Griff so much, why was he reading this journal?  The night before he died Evan’s father said that Griff may have been a murderer.   What did he mean? Did his father read something in the journal?  Evan has to get to the truth and is seems like Griff is actively hiding something from him.  The Emperor of Any Place blends Evan story and the story of the Japanese soldier seamlessly.  The tension between Evan and his grandfather, Griff keeps the reader engaged the whole story.  This is a great blend of historical fiction and realistic fiction.

Stieg Larsson’s Companion Releases Audiobook

June 10, 2011

Eva Gabrielsson, Stieg’s longtime companion, is attempting to fill the knowledge gap about Larsson’s life. On June 21, her memoir, There Are Things I Want You to Know About Stieg Larsson and Me, will be available as an audiobook. The work will touch on his personal relationships and his efforts to expose Swedish neo-Nazis, among other topics. Click on the above link to access an audio excerpt. (It will also be out in hardcover and Kindle.)

Shira S.

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