With the Fire on High

With the Fire on High

by Elizabeth Acevedo


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From the New York Times bestselling author of the National Book Award longlist title The Poet X comes a dazzling novel in prose about a girl with talent, pride, and a drive to feed the soul that keeps her fire burning bright.

Ever since she got pregnant freshman year, Emoni Santiago’s life has been about making the tough decisions—doing what has to be done for her daughter and her abuela. The one place she can let all that go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness.

Even though she dreams of working as a chef after she graduates, Emoni knows that it’s not worth her time to pursue the impossible. Yet despite the rules she thinks she has to play by, once Emoni starts cooking, her only choice is to let her talent break free.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062662835
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/07/2019
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 2,850
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.60(d)
Lexile: 810L (what's this?)
Age Range: 13 - 17 Years

About the Author

Elizabeth Acevedo is the author of The Poet X, which won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, the Michael L. Printz Award, the Pura Belpré Award, and the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award. She is a National Poetry Slam champion and holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Maryland. Acevedo lives with her partner in Washington, DC. You can find out more about her at www.acevedowrites.com.

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With the Fire on High 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Valerian70 24 days ago
Emoni Santiago is that teenage girl your parents always warned you to keep away from. Her mother is dead and her father is absent so she is being raised by her grandmother and is from a relatively insalubrious neighbourhood. Even worse she got pregnant at 16 and decided to keep the child, even though she is estranged from the baby-daddy. She also had the audacity to stay at her Charter school, wandering the hallways with her protruding belly instead of hiding away from "decent society". Nothing really changes does it. Heck, I went to secondary school (roughly equivalent to middle and high school) in the early 1980s and in every year that I was there at least 1 girl of 14, 15 or 16 would turn up pregnant (usually 2 or 3). Even worse this was a Catholic High School with nuns as the head and deputy headteachers so you would have thought we would have been morally immune. But no, teenagers are teenagers the world over and it's no different in the 21st century than it was in the 20th. What Ms Acevedo does with this book is show not to judge a book by it's cover. Yes Emoni is mixed race, yes she is a teenage mother, yes she is from a cash poor home. All things that the media tells us to fear and to hate. Yes Emoni is a loyal friend, yes she is a good mother, yes she works hard both in school and at the Burger Joint. All things that the media tells us are to be applauded. Emoni narrates the book and she is warm and rather wise. She struggles to balance her life and has her failures and her triumphs - in fact she is far more mature than I and I am almost at my half century. From early on in the book it is very hard to escape the pull of her personality and be sucked in to the trivialities of daily life and to really pull for her when things get tough. I never once felt the touch of the author in the book, it felt wholly authentic as the voice of a 17 year old. I wouldn't go so far as to say I laughed and I cried with her; but I was definitely invested in her life. The only downside in the whole thing for me was Malachi. As a character he is great and probably just what Emoni needs. However, he was a little bit too good to be true for my taste. Even worse I started to find myself humming the Fresh Prince theme tune after finding out his reasons for moving to live with his Aunt (admittedly he only moved across Philly and not to Beverley Hills). I thoroughly enjoyed this read. It did feel a little "pulled back" in places but maybe this is to do with the target demographic rather than any failing of the authors. Definitely a wonderful story that really does explore the nature of being a human. THIS IS AN HONEST REVIEW OF A FREE COPY OF THE BOOK RECEIVED FROM READERS FIRST
Anonymous 7 months ago
Great follow-up to Acevedo's The Poet X. A true telling of a struggling single teen-mom who overcomes her circumstances. Recipes were so unique and added so much "flavor" to the writing (pun intended). I was fortunate to attend a dinner with the author that included recipes inspired from the book and not only is Acevedo a humble soul but a true talent one to not be over looked. Can't wait to see what else she puts out!
Take_Me_AwayPH 9 months ago
Of course I couldn't resist the urge to get my hands on Elizabeth Acevedo's newest work! I'm just now reviewing this because I wanted to also listen to the audio since it was narrated by the author. And trust me, that was such a good choice! Emoni has more responsibilities than other high school seniors. Not only does she have her abuela who needs help with the bills, but there is also her daughter. She uses the kitchen as a way to forget all that she has going on. But then she is enrolled in this culinary arts course at her school where so many other chances are opened up to her. But before she can do anything else, she must decide what she wants to do with those chances that she's been given. My favorite part about this was the characters, with Emoni being my favorite. This is a great story of just being a teen. So many changes and so many decisions and all the while having to care for a toddler as well? I know things couldn't be easy for her, but she took them in stride and did what she could. All the while juggling school and work? I felt for her but was also way impressed by her work ethic. And then there was Buela. Not only was she extremely supportive and everything Emoni needed right then, she was also a Philadelphia Eagles fan. Smart woman. All the characters in this were developed wonderfully and created a great, unique for Emoni and Babygirl. And then there was the writing style. It was an automatic connection to the way Emoni and her friends interacted with each other. Even as someone who's only Black, the AAVE that was included in this was made this a very comfortable read and I fell right into it everytime I picked it up to read. There were some parts where I thought she got a bit repetitive and at least three times where she "let out a breath she didn't know she was holding," but even still, I don't feel it took away from the book. I rolled my eyes yes, but it didn't take anything away from the book for me. [SPOILER] I also really enjoyed that this book explores other things to do after high school. College isn't for everyone and Emoni knows it. Culinary arts and other programs are great alternatives that I feel don't get much attention. I love that she decided to go a different route and go with something that fit her more instead of going with the norm. It made the book feel more "realistic" and can hopefully help other people to take a different route than those others have already picked for them as well. For about half the book I wanted to listen to the audio because I heard it was narrated by Acevedo as well. And let me tell you.... It was a good choice indeed. Again as the author she knew the best times to take a breath, the best times to inflict on something, and of course had the best voice for Emoni. No doubt it wouldn't have been as good by anyone else. As much as I love The Poet X, I think this one is my favorite. Emoni is an amazing main character and Acevedo's writing style is still amazing. I can't wait to see what it is that she does next. If all the awards she's won so far isn't proof, this new novel of hers is, she's an author to watch.
LVE 10 months ago
This is a beautiful story of grit and hope. Acevedo is a stand- out voice in literature.
Anonymous 11 months ago