• Ellie

Author Spotlight: Elizabeth Acevedo

Updated: Nov 7, 2020

Today we are doing something new on the blog. This is a new series that I will be adding to as I read from more authors. This post will be focusing on Elizabeth Acevedo, the writer to The Poet X, With a Fire on High, and Clap When You Land.


What type of books does she write?

Elizabeth Acevedo writes YA contemporary fiction. They typically deal with very heavy topics but are not written in a heavy or dense way. They also normally have a lot of emotion and conflict that drive the plot. Two of her books, The Poet X and Clap When You Land, are written in verse.


What are her books about?

I'm so glad you asked. Here is a quick summary of each of her books and my personal mini review:


The Poet X

This is her debut novel and was published in 2018. The story follows Xiomara Batista living in Harlem not feeling heard by anyone around her. Although she has many ideas and thoughts, no one is there to listen so she writes them all out in her notebook. With her Mami's strict rules, Xiomara recognizes she must keep to herself. However a new opportunity arrises in her school: to join the school's Slam Poetry Club. Though Xiomara has to keep it a secret from her Mami she struggles with keeping all her words just to herself since she desires to be heard.


I read this book last year, and to be honest, I didn't really find it very memorable. It is written in verse and I think that helped the story work better since it is about poetry. However overall, the story for me wasn't one to write home about. I did however remember quite enjoying it while I was reading it and I know it is highly loved by many. On Goodreads it has a 4.42 average star rating with 62,057 ratings which is really good.


With a Fire on High

Emoni Santiago is a teen mom with a true love for food and cooking. She dreams big even though the chances of these dreams coming true are slim. In school, her cooking class is going on a trip to Spain and Emoni doesn't think she will have enough money to go. This is a story about Emoni reaching for her dreams while the truths of her reality keep pulling her to the ground.


This is my favorite book by Acevedo. I loved everything about it. Emoni is such an interesting, sweet character to read about and her story is very interesting to read. There are so many different parts/conflicts in this book that it makes the story very complex (in a good way.) This is Acevedo's only novel not written in verse and this was her second release.


Clap When You Land

A story about two sisters who have the same dad but each doesn't know the other one exists. This is because the dad had created two lives for himself. Part of the time he was living one life with one of his families and during the other part he would be with the other. The conflict in the story was a sudden plane crash that takes the life of the father. Through this tragedy, the two sisters find each other and meet each other to cope with the loss of their father. This is Acevedo's most recent novel, published in 2020 and is written in verse.


I read this book near its release date and I quite enjoyed it. I found the story very emotional and certain sections of words very memorable. The entire concept was generally very interesting. There were a few slow bits and originally I didn't know that the two girls were sisters so that was a surprise when I read that. Overall, a very enjoyable read and especially beautiful verses.


Who is her target audience?

These books are most suitable for teenagers, however I do feel like adults could enjoy them just as much. This is because of the beautiful, lyrical writing and the deep and emotional stories. I do think that teens will enjoy them more because they are have topics and conflicts more relatable for teens.


Will you enjoy her books?

The people who will like her books the most are readers who either fit in the target audience for the books or adults who want emotional and rich stories about teenagers that are unique and possibly lighter than an adult hard hitting contemporary. These books are definitely one of a kind and have plots and words that are unique specifically to Acevedo.




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