Friday 20 November 2020

With the Fire on High by: Elizabeth Acevedo

 Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary 

Published: May 7, 2019 by: Quill Tree Books 

Pages: 400 

Rating: 5/5 stars 

CW: slut shaming, difficult parental relationships

Emoni Santiago has a young daughter to care for and her abuela to support. She also has a dream of working in a real kitchen, and her high school culinary arts class is the perfect way to get there. Emoni loves to cook, and when she is in the kitchen, all her troubles go away. But, her responsibilities are tolling, and when Emoni gets the opportunity to attend a class trip to Spain, she will stop at nothing to get the funding for that trip. Mix that with a budding romance, and her complicated relationship with the father of her child, and Emoni is in for one hell of a senior year. 

I loved this novel. This was the first Acevedo book I have read, and I believe she mostly writes in verse poetry, though this novel was prose. The story was incredible. I immediately took a liking to Emoni as a character, and I was rooting for her the entire way. Also, can we discuss this gorgeous cover? Everything about this book was just fabulous. 

First off, I loved how this book wasn't just a sad story. Often times when reading of girls who have teenage pregnancies, their lives are just absolutely horrible. Now I'm not saying that having a kid in high school is all butterflies and rainbows. But Emoni's story is one of triumph, and that's refreshing to see. She is an amazing mother, and amazing granddaughter, and an amazing chef. She is so much more than just a teen mom. 

The food descriptions in this book will make your mouth water. Emoni is Afro-Latina, and so a lot of her cooking is based off of Latin American cuisine. I loved how Acevedo describes the flavours that Emoni uses, and how each ingredient is meticulously used. I am a sucker for food descriptions in books, and this one had a lot of it. There was something really magical about all of the food descriptions. You could really see how this is Emoni's passion. 

I also enjoyed the secondary characters. Emoni's best friend is so supportive of her, and I loved her sarcasm and wit. Even Emoni's ex who is the father of her child, was not a super hateful guy. I mean, he definitely has his faults. But he and Emoni were able to make it work for their kid. And that was great to see. Also, Malachi, who is Emoni's love interest, was so adorable. This book had a great slow-burn romance to it. And I loved every second. 

With the Fire on High was a fantastic read, and it really made me love Acevedo as a writer. I think she is so gifted in her writing, and she writes fantastic, diverse characters who I rooted for every step of the way. I was so happy that I got a book about an Afro-Latinx teen mom that wasn't just doom and gloom. 

Have you read With the Fire on High? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess


  1. "I was so happy that I got a book about an Afro-Latinx teen mom that wasn't just doom and gloom."
    Definitely wholesome!

  2. I definitely need to give this novel a chance, I've heard nothing but great things about it so far. Glad you liked it so much, Emily. :) Fantastic review!

  3. I found this one fun and sweet :) I wasn't really into the food descriptions - but then, I never really get along with food descriptions in books... my synaesthesia gets confused: the descriptions never taste like the tastes they're describing!

    1. That makes sense! I'm just always hungry so me and food descriptions really get along haha.

  4. With The Fire On High is one of my favourite books I’ve read this year so I am really happy to see this review :D I totally agree with all your points - I especially loved how Emoni was portrayed as being “so much more than just a teen mom”, to use your words :)