With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Still, she knows she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for the class’s trip to Spain — and shouldn’t still be dreaming of someday working in a real kitchen. But even with all the rules she has for her life — and all the rules everyone expects her to play by — once Emoni starts cooking, her only real choice is to let her talent break free.
Babygirl doesn’t even cry when I suck my teeth and undo her braid for the fourth time. If anything, I’m the one on the verge of tears, since at this rate we’re both going to be late.
Wow! Elizabeth Acevedo has quickly become an autobuy author for me. I didn’t think there was any way that With the Fire on High could live up the brilliance that was her debut novel, The Poet X, but it truly did.
Acevedo has this way of creating characters that find their way in to your heart and make you care deeply about what happens to them. I will not soon forgot Emoni. I have not actively cheered on a character in such a long time… probably since The Poet X. The side characters are just as memorable and fleshed out- particular Emoni’s grandmother and Angelica- Emoni’s best friend. I loved how supportive they were, but they also had their own lives, which I enjoyed reading about. I would love a book that follows Angelica!
I thought that the romance was very sweet and genuine. It felt like a realistic high school relationship, and I always appreciate that.
Food was such a big part of the story and, as a bit of a foodie myself, it was so fun to read about. Emoni’s love of food and cooking added an interesting element to the story while also making me extremely hungry. The way the author described that food was so vivid!
There are so many layers to Emoni’s story that I was not expecting which added a lot of depth and made her journey to chase her dreams all the more inspiring.
Of course, the writing was beautiful and I would expect nothing less from Elizabeth Acevedo. She is a genius whether she is writing a book in verse or in prose.
Yes- for everyone! It is beautifully written with realistic characters and a great message. This is one of those books that I want everyone in my life to read, especially teenagers. I think a lot of people will find it motivating and will see themselves within the pages.
Release Date: May 7th, 2019
Is With the Fire on High on your TBR?
What is your favourite novel that centers around food and cooking?
Thank you to Edelweiss and HarperCollins for sending me an eARC in exchange for an honest review.