Book Review: With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Avecedo

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ISBN: 0062662856

Title: With the Fire on High

Author: Elizabeth Acevedo

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: May 7th 2019

No. of Pages: 400

Genre: YA Contemporary

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.

Book Review:

This book is a magnificent portrayal of a diverse teenage parent. Emoni is a wonderful character, to begin with. She has spectacular talent when it comes to cooking. She strives to be better when life hits her hard than she expected. Juggling work, being a student, pursuing her passion, and while being a mother to her child is already difficult enough to adults today. I just couldn’t imagine how hard it is to become a parent at such a young age.

I know people. People who will be able to resonate with Emoni. The difficulties and the challenges that they need to face as they go along in life. And with huge responsibilities ahead, sometimes, we couldn’t do more because of the fear that lies ahead. I am glad that Elizabeth Avecedo was able to pull off some worries that need to give light in the book. I know where Emoni is going and I understand why is she hesitant at times. I am not a parent and even if I am not, I think, we could all relate that there are moments and things that we wish we want to achieve but we need to sacrifice in order to keep on moving forward not just for yourself but for everyone else as well who has been a part of your life.

My mother told me that being a parent is difficult. You always need to put your child first before yourself. This is also the reason why I appreciate Emoni’s character but at the same time, it terrifies me because there are a lot of factors going in her life. And it would be scary to move forward. And that’s completely understandable. When people became comfortable with their situation, we tend to get afraid of what would come next. Even if these new changes in our life could be better.

What I love about this novel is that aside from showing vulnerability towards its character, it shows how women could be strong as well. Emoni is already a brave one. With that, I would also like to commend the side characters that Avecedo made because surely those women had a huge impact on Emoni’s personality. And not only that, the fact that Emoni loves food and loves to cook is already amazing.

This book shows that whatever your age is, you could do the things that you want to do as long as it makes you happy. Strive and get it. Don’t let them hinder your passion. You may be too young right now or too old but what’s matter is; There will be a time that you are going to get what you want and be content.

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth reminds me of my grandmother who has a huge resemblance with ‘Buela in the novel. I learned a lot from my own lola and she taught me a lot of cooking and baking back then. This book is a huge journey in the memory lane for me. It re-ignites my love for food, my love for cooking and I am thrilled that Emoni and I share the same passion towards cooking. I guess this book is here to give us an insight into a certain situation that could be happening right now in the world. It symbolizes how courageous a teenage mom could be with her own resilience, perseverance, and mobility despite the fact that Emoni is suffering the consequences of a wrong decision. Regardless, this book provides different cultural insights that you will fall in love with. Start to get the book as it will introduce you to a wonderful ride of flavors and sacrifices and lastly, happiness.


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Shirt design by Melissa Chan, read more about her designs here.


1st week

April 22 – Afire Pages | Welcome Post & BTS Look on the Cover Design Process

April 23 – Reading Peaches

April 24 – Shut Up, Shealea | Printable wallpapers/ bookmarks

April 25 – A Book Devourer | “The Life of Emoni; A Comparison”

April 26 – Bookish Wanderess

April 27 – Flipping Through the Pages

April 28 – Utopia State of Mind


2nd week

April 29 – For the Love of Diversity in Books

April 30 – The Royal Polar Bear Reads 

May 1 – Endless Chapters

May 2 – The Ultimate Fangirl

May 3 – The Wolf & Books

May 4 – Book Lover’s Book Reviews

May 5 – Weekend Reader


3rd week

May 6 – The Writer and The Story

May 7 – Themollyweather

May 8 – All Things Gene

May 9 – Darque Dreamer Reads

May 10 – Your Tita Kate

May 11 – Afergtale

May 12 – F A N N A


ELIZABETH ACEVEDO is the youngest child and only daughter of Dominican immigrants. She holds a BA in Performing Arts from the George Washington University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland. With over fourteen years of performance poetry experience, Acevedo is a National Poetry Slam Champion, Cave Canem Fellow, CantoMundo Fellow, and participant of the Callaloo Writer’s Workshop. She has two collections of poetry, Beastgirl & Other Origin Myths (YesYes Books, 2016) and winner of the 2016 Berkshire Prize, Medusa Reads La Negra’s Palm (Tupelo Press, forthcoming). The Poet X is her debut novel. She lives with her partner in Washington, DC.


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