Tuesday, August 20, 2019
With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
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.
(Synopsis from Goodreads).
Last year, I read The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. I thought it was a deeply powerful, moving book. When I heard that she was releasing a new book, With the Fire on High, this year, I knew I had to read it as soon as I possibly could. I recently just finished it, and I think I liked it even more than The Poet X.
With the Fire on High was also a beautifully compelling book. It tackled tough issues such as teenage pregnancy, falling in love after being hurt, and the challenges of raising a child with someone that you no longer have a relationship with. It really drew awareness to these issues, and made me think of them in ways that I hadn't before. I thought that Elizabeth Acevedo's writing style was beautiful. She writes in this lyrical way that make the words come off the page into the reader's heads. The whole time I was listening to the audiobook, it was like a movie was playing in my mind. I was picturing Emoni going about her morning routine with baby girl, or sitting there having important discussion with abuela. The romance in this was also beautifully written. I love who Emoni ends up with. He treats her so well, and is exactly what I think of when I think of the picture perfect book boyfriend.
I do have to admit, there are a couple of things that did bother me about With the Fire on High. The first one is a particular phrase. This is just a pet peeve of mine. I don't like the phrase "I let out a breath I didn't know I'd been holding", or any variation of it. It just feels too cliche to me, and overused in young adult and romance books. That phrase was in the book at least three times, if not more. The other thing that bothered me is that it felt like the book ended abruptly. Maybe it's because I wanted more of this world and these characters, but I wanted the storyline of what Emoni and Tyrone argue about (trying to be vague so I don't spoil the plot for anyone) to be further explored. I felt like there was an important discussion that could have stemmed from that, and it just didn't happen.
Other than a couple of tiny details, I really loved With the Fire on High. After reading this book, Elizabeth Acevedo has become one of my one-click authors. I will buy any book by her without even having to know what it's about. I am eagerly anticipating whatever she writes next. I'm sure it will be phenomenal, just like her other two books.
I give With the Fire on High: 4/5.
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I received this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.