Snapshot Review: With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

Title: With the Fire High
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Series: N/A
Pages: 392
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: May 7th 2019

      “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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“And something special does happen when I’m cooking. It’s like I can imagine a dish in my head and I just know that if I tweak this or mess with that, if I give it my own special brand of sazón, I’ll have made a dish that never existed before.”

  • The writing – It’s no secret that I loved The Poet X. It reintroduced me to poetry and created a thirst for more. Acevedo’s sophomore novel is told in prose and it’s no surprise that her writing is just as poetic. There were times while reading where I had to pause just to appreciate her imagery.
  • Emoni – I really enjoyed Emoni as a character. She has so much love for her daughter and her grandmother. All throughout the story, you can feel her hesitation when it comes to pursuing her dreams. She has responsibilities that have kept her from doing so, but learns that it is herself that has been holding her back for so long. I loved reading about her passion for cooking. It’s an outlet for her emotions and her creativity. Something she is a natural at, but a skill where she still has a lot to learn.
  • Afro-Latinidad – The exploration of what it means to be Afro-Latinx is at the center of who Emoni is. I loved that the MC was so adamant about her identity. Being black and Latinx aren’t mutually exclusive; being black does not subtract from her Latinidad and being Latinx does not subtract from her being black.
  • Teen parenthood – Most books I see about teens with children have to do with teen pregnancy, so it was refreshing to read a book about a teen mother with a toddler.
  • Emphasis on family and friends – Emoni might not have much, but she has an incredible support system, from her best friend Angelica to her abuela. As strong as these relationships are, Emoni doesn’t have the best relationship with her father and feels distant from her mother’s side of the family, but I loved that these relationships end of shifting for the better.
  • Magical realism – Although this one might strictly be called contemporary, Acevedo weaves in elements of magical realism. Emoni’s cooking is said to elicit emotional responses from those who taste it. It’s presented very subtly, but I think that’s one of the reasons I loved it so much.

  • Nothing comes to mind!

  • Elizabeth Acevedo creates another wonderful and very relatable MC in With the Fire on High. Emoni is a character who is both vulnerable and strong and whose successes at the end of the novel feel like your own.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
(5/5)

8 thoughts on “Snapshot Review: With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

  1. I read this book earlier in the year and enjoyed it.
    I also liked that the main character was a teenage mother. I feel we don’t have many books about pregnancy and its consequences.
    It was great that the main character was responsible and focused on family. I could definitely relate to her.

    Didn’t you just love the cooking parts?

    Like

  2. SO excited to get to this beauty. Adored The Poet X as well so I definitely have high hopes for this one! I feel like Elizabeth Acevedo is bound to be one of the longest lasting authors in the YA world (and literature in general) because there is something so breathtaking about how she writes. That prose!!! Ah, I’m excited to get to With the Fire on High, if that wasn’t obvious. I am probably (definitely) a stan.

    Like

  3. I knew you would love this!! Your review captures it perfectly- I loved Emoni as a character and the friends and other family members were such strong characters too. I also love that she had such a strong passion for cooking but it wasn’t the only aspect of her personality. Looking forward to more prose books from this author in the future!

    Like

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