With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo Book Review

Originally publishedMay 7, 2019
Genres:Young adult literature, Bildungsroman


Emoni is a seventeen-year-old mother who lives with her grandmother in Fairhill and has a gift and passion for cooking. She can make anyone’s day better just with a bite of her food. When senior year starts, Emoni is at a crossroads for both her present and future. A new elective is starting at her school; culinary arts. But the bills are piling and she barely has enough time for her job, homework, and Babygirl as it is. Her heart longs for the kitchen but her mind is screaming at her about all the responsibilities she has. This school year, Emoni’s life will be shaped one way or another.

Non spoilers review:

This book is very touching. It is filled with passion for what you love, it is filled with family and friendship. It is exactly what I needed. Emoni is such a great character. She loves her Babygirl and her ‘buela with all her heart and she would do anything to see them happy. Life has taught her to be more careful and less trusting but that doesn’t affect how she views her family and friends. Her passion for cooking is so inspiring and wonderful to read about and her struggles are what make her even more relatable. This book is absolutely wonderful.

Fair warning though, this story will make you hungry for all kinds of recipes you might have never even heard of, to places you might have never even been to, and to people you definitely never met.

Spoilers review:

Where to begin? I loved everything about this book. The writing style was beautiful. I had to pause a few times and reread some lines because they were just that good. The story was amazing. The struggles Emoni went through, not only as a mom but as a seventeen-year-old, as a daughter and granddaughter. It was all very raw and very impactful. Emoni’s passion for cooking and her love for her ‘beula and Babygirl are the highlights for me. That moment when she rushed back into culinary arts class and told Chef Ayden she’s not a quitter has got to be one of my favorite scenes. I’m not even going to get into the trip to Spain. It was wonderful, the descriptions were so good I could imagine everything. The fact that my dream is to one day travel to Andalusia might make me biased on this particular part but I digress.

 I liked Chef Ayden a lot (low-key wish more of my teachers were like him) he is strict but very supportive and he believed in her from the start. ‘buela is very sweet and caring. She had the kind of warm presence that told you over and over that everything would be alright. I also liked Chef Amadi. I like how she gave her the special to prepare since day one. She had a lot of faith in her, encouraged her, and even invited her back if she wanted to work with her. Angelica is a great best friend too. I liked how she knew when to push harder and when to simply change the subject. I loved the scene where she made Babygirl a Halloween costume. She’s great and her relationship with Laura is so cute.

Malachi was an interesting character. I found myself mumbling over and over how sweet he was. I like how he never pressured her on anything and how he didn’t even bat an eyelash when he found out about Babygirl. He also isn’t one-dimensional like most love interests. He has a past in Newark and a future as a doctor. He was great. I laughed a lot when he invited just about everyone Emoni cared about just so she could go on a date with him to Disney on ice. And I liked how he went to prom and then came back early to spend time with Emoni at home. That moment was so wholesome my heart hurt.

I especially liked the ending. I may or may not have cried at her dad’s confession. And her final decision was perfect. How she decided to stay and work in her town because she has so much to offer it.

So overall, I loved this book and I’ll pick up The Poet X and Clap When You Land by this author soon.


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