Title: With the Fire on High
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.
Elizabeth Acevedo’s work has been on my radar since her debut verse novel, The Poet X, came out. Unfortunately, I was not able to read it before it went back to my local library. When I heard that she had a sophomore novel coming out in May, I put it on hold, and I was lucky enough to receive my library’s first copy! It’s been sitting in my stack for a while, and once I realized I couldn’t renew it anymore, I pushed it up to the top right after Finale. With the Fire on High did not disappoint; it’s one of my favorite books of 2019. Fresh, honest, endearing and sweet and full of unique flavor, I will never forget Emoni Santiago and her journey. Acevedo has cemented her place as one of my favorite authors with this prose novel.
Emoni Santiago is the girl that all the parents warn their kids away from, because she got pregnant with her daughter her freshman year of high school. But she doesn’t let that bother her, because she’s got Babygirl, her beloved grandmother, Buela, and her passion: cooking. But Emoni has a lot on her plate: dealing with Emma’s father, Tyrone and his parents, who never approved of her, becoming reluctant friends with a new student named Malachi, and her fierce desire to become a renowned chef, worrying about Buela and her college applications, her semi-absent father. When the opportunity to go to Spain arises with the culinary arts class elective, Emoni jumps at the chance, despite knowing that she may not be able to go. But how will she juggle all of her responsibilities and the dreams she longs for so desperately?
I loved, loved, loved this book! It was amazing! Teen moms need more of a spotlight in literature in general, and Acevedo did a fantastic job with Emoni Santiago. I was instantly captivated by her vibrant, honest, and hilarious voice. Also, diverse books for the win! The pacing was breakneck, and I was rooting for her the whole way through the book. It felt like I was talking to a friend, and I ended the book feeling happy and sad all at the same time, because that’s what Enomi became for me. The characters around her helped emphasize her: Babygirl, Tyrone and his parents, Buela, Julio, and Angelica. Emoni’s budding friendship with Malachi was one of my favorite parts of the book. I also adored her relationships with Emma and her loving grandmother. She was fierce and tender, determined, sassy and sweet. I loved her, and her character development was excellent. Elizabeth Acevedo has recently become one of my favorite writers with With the Fire on High, and I am just floored (in the best way) by her talent. The bottom line: Delicious, sweet, and savory, I loved Elizabeth Acevedo’s sophomore novel and first prose offering; I will never forget Emoni Santiago! Next on deck: Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston!