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Publisher's Summary

Fans of Jacqueline Woodson, Meg Medina, and Jason Reynolds will fall hard for this astonishing #ownvoices novel-in-verse by an award-winning slam poet, about an Afro-Latina heroine who tells her story with blazing words and powerful truth.

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers - especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, whom her family can never know about.

With Mami's determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. So when she is invited to join her school's slam poetry club, she doesn't know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out. But she still can't stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

"Crackles with energy and snaps with authenticity and voice." (Justina Ireland, author of Dread Nation)

©2018 Elizabeth Acevedo (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"An incredibly potent debut." (Jason Reynolds, author of the National Book Award finalist, Ghost)

"Acevedo has amplified the voices of girls en el barrio who are equal parts goddess, saint, warrior, and hero." (Ibi Zoboi, author of American Street)

"The author's passion and pacing unite in her rhythmic reading of linked free-verse poems telling the story of Xiomara Barista. The author, a performance poet, and her heroine possess a gift for arranging words, sequencing sounds, and enriching both with emotions.... The subject, tone, form, and expression of this audiobook are diverse and poignant." (AudioFile)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

open mic night

It's like sitting in the front table at a cafe on open mic night. Listening to and bearing witness to a teen's life with the strength, angst, love, and struggle

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

AMAZING!!!

I loved everything about this book. I felt every emotion and would read it again. Love that the author narrated this. Although my mom doesn’t rice me at the knees, she is a strong Christian. Xio has the same questions I have about the Bible and the curiosity. This book is going to be in my Top 5!! Love it love it love it!!!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant!!

I don’t even know how to review this in all honestly. Acevedo, who has earned herself favorite new author status in my eyes, has written ( in verse!!) the moving story of Xiomara. A girl just trying to figure herself out while living with a ultra religious mom, a cinnamon roll brother, and a dad who pretty much stays out of matters at home. Acevedo did a marvelous with the narration. The emotion she put into this made the characters seem so unbelievably real. LISTEN TO IT!! You will not be disappointed.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Beautiful inside & out

This book seems best suited for audio. I'm so glad I listened! And it feels like the first book I've ever read that actually portrayed what it's like to be a beautiful girl in high school - it's not all rainbows

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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So good i stopped breathing a few times

I'm not usually a fan of audiobooks, but the format really works for this story because of the slam poetry. Powerful in every way.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Billy
  • Brandon, FL
  • 01-17-19

When the audio is better than the print book

Listening to Elizabeth Acevedo narrate her own book, a story told through spoken word poetry, is an exquisite gift. If any book wholly and completely lends itself to an audio format, it's this one.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A beautifully written story/poem

This book was a very pleasant surprise. The writing is like a poem yet flowed like a narrative. The complex relationships between mothers and daughters is so beautifully described here. The author's narrative was perfect. I highly recommend this read to all, but young adults will appreciate the coming of age story and the struggle to find your voice journey X takes. Had me searching for the local poetry slam.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Such a Great Book!!!

This book was awesome and captivating from the moment I picked it up until the moment I put it down and finished it. I am looking forward to the author's next book coming out in March.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Better

I don't have the words
To say how much
I needed -
As a mother,
As a teacher,
As a human -
To hear Xiomara's/Elizabeth's words
Straight from her own lips.
I'm a better
mother,
teacher,
human
having listened!

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Highly entertaining.

I can fully empathize with the highly catholic family, and the problems that brings. My family was highly religious and forced that belief system on the children. You feel this constant guilt when you question things, it is very problematic. I’m glad the author was vocal about it. I really enjoyed this book and the way the author puts so much emotion into how she reads is truly amazing.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sandra
  • 12-14-18

YA that feels real

The performance of this book is excellent. I picked it up on the recommendation that the author does spoken word and reads the book herself, and that recommendation was solid.

Besides the book flowing with a pleasant rhythm and being read right it was also a compelling story. It felt real like so much of the YA I'm reading doesn't.

I loved this book!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Laura Pohl
  • 08-10-18

Great!

This book is one of the most amazing things I've ever listened to. I don't even enjoy poetry all that much, but it's powerful and it gave me so many chills while listening. Xiomara's story is one of the most beautiful experiences I've had while reading, and I loved every moment.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-11-18

A stunning performance

You NEED to listen to this audiobook!!! Incredibly performed by the author, who is herself a slam poet, and wow does it show - I don't even have to words to describe just how good this is, just download it, please!!!!