Title: With the Fire on High
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Genre: Young Adult
Two things before we start. I, 99% of the time, do not read Young Adult (YA) books, and I, 99% of the time, do not read books that everyone is going crazy over. I am happy I took a chance on this book because it was worth it. With the Fire on High tells the story of Emoni, a Philly teenage mom, who is trying to navigate high school while dealing with issues most teenagers don’t have to focus on. She was able to embrace her culture, handle the tough life she has been given, and owns her decisions, and it was refreshing. You can’t help but cheer for her every step of the way.
Emoni is strong in her identity and passionate about cooking, which was one way I was able to connect with her. Her love for her Abuela is evident, and she fights to give Babygirl what she didn’t have growing up. Small references in the book reminded me of living and visiting family up north. I caught and understood some of the Philly references thanks to my 15 plus year friendship with the bestie who was born, raised and currently lives there. Acevedo throwing in a reference to Mancala tugged at my heartstrings a bit as that game was part of my childhood and I now have one in my living room. Overall, this book was a quick read because I couldn’t put it down. I gave it 5-stars because I was able to connect and feel for Emoni in a way that makes you forget she is a fictional character and not the sister/cousin/friend that she could so easily be. By the way, I only cried once, which is significant for me since I’m such a wuss. Now, who wants to come over and cook the recipes that are the book with me?
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