Title: With the Fire on High
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
I’ve had a lot of things to feel ashamed about and I’ve learned most of them are other people’s problems, not mine.
Synopsis: 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.
The world is a turntable that never stops spinning; as humans we merely choose the tracks we want to sit out and the ones that inspire us to dance.
Review: Elizabeth Acevedo has once again blown my mind with her incredible style of writing. She knows just how to manipulate my emotions with her words.
Let’s talk about characters – I was immediately in love with Emoni and her daughter. I thought that their relationship was absolutely beautiful, and I loved reading about them together. I also really loved Emoni and her abuela’s relationship. She never treated Emoni like a child, but made sure that Emoni had the room and safety to make her own decisions.
However, one of the few things that I didn’t like about this book was Emoni‘s attitude toward authority. I appreciated that her abuela treated her like a grown up and allowed her to make her own decisions (especially regarding her daughter), but when Emoni was dealing with her instructors, she had a complete disregard of their knowledge and authority. She did get better as the book progressed, but I thought that she came across as spoiled and entitled, when that was the very thing that she was criticizing her classmates for. I just found it pretty hypocritical, and I had to take a star for it because it irked me so much.
I really loved the plot of this novel. I thought that it developed at a really nice pace! I loved Emoni’s struggle with her responsibilities, and her struggle to make grown up decisions at 17. I thought that it was very realistic, and relatable.
Overall, I think this book is a breath of fresh air. I have never read a more quotable book. I struggled to just pick three quotes to highlight for this book, because they’re all so good. I think that Elizabeth Acevedo is a force to be reckoned with, and I can’t wait to read more from her.
And sometimes focusing on what you can control is the only way to lessen the pang in your chest when you think about the things you can’t.
What did you think of With the Fire on High?