Review: With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

With the Fire on High
Elizabeth Acevedo
Publisher: Quill Tree Books
Publication date: May 7, 2019
Genre: Young Adult

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.




This story is one about following your dreams. Emoni is a teenage mom. Since getting pregnant, she’s been dismissed and an outcast by both her peers and adults. However, when the opportunity arises to take an elective for her passion, cooking, she goes for it. That’s not to say that there are not hardships along the way. However, Emoni won’t let that stop her from reaching for her dream and making a better life for her and her daughter.

While Emoni struggles with money, being a teen mom, her classes, and trying to keep her head above water in Philly, she kept help but dream about running her own kitchen one day. She knows that her dream is a big one given her circumstances, but she the opportunity presents herself, those in her corner won’t let her give up without a fight. From her family raising money across the country, to her grandmother pooling together what she can, Emoni saving her earnings from her part-time job, and her teachers pushing her to follow her dream. Emoni had a huge support system pushing her to not only succeed but to push herself out of her comfort zone.

While I likes the undertone of the story as a whole, I will say that I did have some issues that kept me from fully enjoying this. While I wanted to love Emoni’s character, she had a chip on her shoulder and was quick to judge people. Which people are entitled to, but when you know what it feels like to be judged so quickly, you think that she’d be a bit less quick to write people off. I also, and this is going to be a shocker coming from me, felt like the romance was very unnecessary. There was no need for a long interest what so ever. He didn’t add anything to the table. I would have much rather have the story focus on Emoni, her family, and best friend all supporting each other.

This was an enjoyable story. I liked seeing Emoni’s passion come to life. Seeing all her loved ones have her back and push her to strive for more. It was a good story about holding onto your dreams and reaching for what you think is unattainable.

One Thought on “Review: With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

  1. This does sound like a good story.

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