With the Fire on High
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Published: May 17, 2019
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
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.
Best. Cover. Ever. Easily my favorite of the year so far. This is one that I bought exclusively for the cover, it’s that gorgeous!
This is my first book by Acevedo and after reading it, I might just get her other book. I liked this story a lot. She kept it real and without much embellishment or polish. Emoni is believable and completely likable. She’s a young person who doesn’t hide from her responsibilities or the consequences of her actions. I loved her passion for food. While I thought this book was going to fall into the same problem as Fangirl, a student refusing to take the wisdom of the teachers and quitting something because it’s just too hard, Emoni surprised me and matured throughout the story.
I also liked the look into the life of a pregnant teen. While I don’t believe in sex outside of marriage, it happens and of course, accidental pregnancies crop up as well. Emoni and her grandmother worked hard to adapt to the new baby and I appreciated how Acevedo commended the hard work and effort put into the new life and responsibilities. I also now want to go on a food tour of Spain!
Overall, this is a sweet read, that combines happy and sad perfectly. There was a little bit of that woke focus on race, but thankfully, it wasn’t much. I really liked this book and absolutely recommend it!