With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo is a touching story about following your passion and cooking. The main character is mature, and the subject of teen motherhood is handled in a way that is sensible, while it is not really in the spotlight of the story. Ultimately, I found this book original and very readable.

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth AcevedoTitle: With the Fire on High
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult Fiction
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Rating: four-stars

Summary (from Goodreads):

From the New York Times bestselling author of the National Book Award longlist title The Poet X comes a dazzling novel in prose about a girl with talent, pride, and a drive to feed the soul that keeps her fire burning bright.

Ever since she got pregnant freshman year, Emoni Santiago’s life has been about making the tough decisions—doing what has to be done for her daughter and her abuela. The one place she can let all that go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness.

Even though she dreams of working as a chef after she graduates, Emoni knows that it’s not worth her time to pursue the impossible. Yet despite the rules she thinks she has to play by, once Emoni starts cooking, her only choice is to let her talent break free.

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❃ I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃

Review: With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

I am a sucker for any book about cooking, so I was very excited to learn about this book. It follows Emoni, a teen mom who finds herself with the opportunity to go to Spain with a school cooking class. However, she worries about cost, time, and her daughter holding her back from the trip. I enjoyed how the story is not simply about a love for cooking but it explores a deeper topic and the struggles Emoni faces daily as a young mom that many people overlook. The short chapters in the novel make it very readable, and I would recommend it to those looking for an inspiring read.

❀ Strong Main Character

Emoni is such a strong main character, and I was rooting for her as the book progressed. She has a lot on her plate with her grandmother’s disability and a child of  her own, but she handles situations responsibly and she is very mature. In the kitchen, Emoni faces criticism for her creativity which she resents at first. But as she gains more practical experience, she learns that there are times when you need to step back and follow instructions in order to gain a solid foundation. Overall, Emoni is a fantastic main character who is very well-rounded.

❀ Teen Mom Theme is Handled Well

When I first saw this book, I was a little skeptical about the teen mom thing. I have read too many books containing 300 pages of a teen mom complaining about the difficulties of raising a child, which I understand, but I need something more. The subject of being a teen mom is handled really well in this story, and I love how Emoni fully accepts responsibility for her daughter and doesn’t grumble throughout the whole book. The fact that the main character being a teen mom is almost in the background of the book with the main focus being on cooking is an interesting choice that worked well. It showcases that fact that Emoni can be a teen mom and still have a life.

❀ Heartwarming Story

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo is a heartwarming story about following your dreams. I loved the descriptions of cooking and the strong main character. The subject matter is also executed in the perfect way, allowing for fresh content to shine. This is a powerful novel that I would definitely recommend.

About Elizabeth Acevedo

Elizabeth Acevedo

ELIZABETH ACEVEDO is the youngest child and only daughter of Dominican immigrants. She holds a BA in Performing Arts from the George Washington University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland. With over fourteen years of performance poetry experience, Acevedo is a National Poetry Slam Champion, Cave Canem Fellow, CantoMundo Fellow, and participant of the Callaloo Writer's Workshop. She has two collections of poetry, Beastgirl & Other Origin Myths (YesYes Books, 2016) and winner of the 2016 Berkshire Prize, Medusa Reads La Negra’s Palm (Tupelo Press, forthcoming). The Poet X is her debut novel. She lives with her partner in Washington, DC.

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17 thoughts on “With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

  1. Sam@wlabb says:

    Yes to all that. I loved Emoni and found so easy to root for. It was refreshing the way she embraced her role as a mother, but I think it helped that the book was set when Emma was a bit older. It gave Emoni time to grow into the role and acquire a lot of insight in the almost 3 years that she had been dealing with it. The ending was money in the bank though. My heart exploded and tears ran down my cheeks, because it made me so happy.

  2. Kelly | Another Book in the Wall says:

    Wonderful review! I’ve been hearing many good things about this novel lately, and am happy to see that you enjoyed it too, love! <3 I'm a sucker for any book about cooking as well, so that immediately piqued my interest when I first heard of this one. It's great to hear that the teen mom aspect of this novel is handled well! I can't wait to read this one some time soon!

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