Title: With the Fire on High
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Date Published: May 7, 2019
Number of Pages: 400
Publisher: Harper Teen / Harper Audio
“And I know the past isn’t a mirror image of the future, but it’s a reflection of what can be; and when your first love breaks your heart, the shards of that can draw blood for a long, long time.”
📚 Series: No.
📚 Genre: Young Adult Realistic Fiction
📚 POV: First.
📚 Cliffhanger: No.
⚠ Content Warnings: Teenage Pregnancy and people’s misconceptions about it. A lot of girl-on-girl hate on maybe 25% of the book.
⚠ Read if: you’re looking for books to read this Latinx / Hispanic Heritage Month. Also, read if you love realistic fiction and cooking.
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Book Blurb from Goodreads
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.
With the Fire on High is the first book that I have read from the author. Because of how I loved this book, I am definitely adding The Poet X to my reading list soon!
This story talks about Emoni Santiago, who is a teenage mom living with her baby girl, whom she fondly calls “baby girl”, and her abuela. Emoni loves cooking, and it is something that she can see herself doing for the rest of her life. On the other hand, Emoni is extremely struggling with keeping her grades up. At her senior year, Emoni faces the challenge of being able to balance her time with her abuela, her time for her daughter, an after school job, dealing with her ex-boyfriend and his mom, a non-love interest possible love interest, and the new culinary arts class in her school.
I love how this book portrayed an Afro-Latina main character. I don’t know how much of their culture was portrayed, what I know is that I enjoyed knowing about bits and pieces of both cultures, especially in the way that Emoni cooks. Personally, I love cooking so much, so I enjoyed the little recipes and the spices mentioned throughout the entire book.
Plot-wise, I loved how the story was portrayed. It was realistic, giving things to you subtly while giving an effect that goes deep down in your heart. In its core, the book talks about being a mother. Even though Emoni is very young, it shows how much she loves her child Emma and how she is willing to do so much for her.
Reading this novel felt like reading a diary. As a reader, you gain access to Emoni’s most intimate thoughts. You will feel hopeful for her. You will laugh with her. You will get frustrated with her. But most of all, you will admire her strength and resilience.
In the terms of the writing style, Elizabeth Acevedo has the power of playing around with prose and delivering a woven set of words that can grip you even with the first few lines. The book is written like a precious possession, tender and touching, encapsulated with love.
There’s so much that happened in this book, and there were so many valuable secondary characters that shaped Emoni’s journey to her passion much more colorful.
If there’s one part I didn’t like, it’s the girl-on-girl rivalry that Emoni had with a side character, Pretty Leslie. But, the author did an amazing conflict resolution, which is actually a very heartwarming scene.
I also read this as an audiobook, and I loved that the narrator was the author herself. Elizabeth Acevedo has a smooth velvety voice. She was great in narrating Emoni’s story as well as the rest of the characters. Part of how much I loved the book was how effective she was in delivering the message of her book.
All in all, this novel was a perfect mix of multi-dimensions, showing the life of a teenage mother as a whole, and not just some glimpses to some parts of a person. Brutally honest and painstakingly real, With the Fire on High is a special story that represented and delivered its message well.
My Book Rating Breakdown
🌼 Main Character:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌼 Significant Other: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
🌼 Support Characters:⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
🌼 Writing Style:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌼 Character Development:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌼 Romance: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆
🌼 Pacing: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌼 Ending: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌼 Unputdownability: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌼 Book Cover:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
☁ FINAL VERDICT: 4.64/5 ☁
Have you read With the Fire on High? Did you like it?
Tell me in the comments!