Ask The Author

Elizabeth Acevedo

The Poet X

What role did poetry play in your teenage years? – Lara, Ama, 12

I was lucky to have found poetry really early in my life. I wrote my first poem when I was eight. In my teenage years poetry was often the way I understood myself, my family, my community, and the many complicated feelings I had towards all of the formerly mentioned.

Why did you decide to have that big twist at the end? – Sophia, 11

It felt important that something happened in the text that would force Xiomara to stand up for herself and use her voice. That twist seemed the only way to make that happen.

Was Xiomara's story influenced by your childhood in any way? – Katy, 13

There are some parts of Xiomara's story that reflect my own; mostly in how she felt, but not necessarily on her character arc or the things that happened to her. I came from a home that was really supportive of my poetry so I never felt I had to hide my writing.

Why does Xiomara's mother harbour resentment towards her dad? – Rafaela, 12

In many ways, Xiomara's mother, Altagracia, was in a marriage of convenience that brought her a lot of hurt. Particularly in her husband's infidelity before they had children. Her own desires to be involved in the church and feeling like her marriage pulled her away from that also created a lot of resentment.