Book Review: With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo


Publication Date: September 19th 2019

Ever since she got pregnant, seventeen-year-old Emoni’s life has been about making the tough decisions – doing what has to be done for her young daughter and her grandmother.

Emoni wants to be a chef more than anything, but she knows it’s pointless to pursue the impossible. There are rules she has to play by. And yet, once she starts cooking, and gets that fire on high, she sees that her drive to feed will feed her soul and dreams too. And anything is possible. (Read More)

My Rating:⭐⭐⭐⭐

I started this at midnight. I finished it three hours later; eyes stinging and barely staying open, a cramp in my neck from my odd reading position and my dog glaring at me for still having the lamp on and disturbing his precious sleep.

Was I half dead and lowkey a moody bitch the next day? Yes. But it was worth it!        I could not put it down!

With the Fire on High follows Emoni during her senior year of high school as she’s juggling: schoolwork, her two year old daughter and her passion for cooking.

This book was so easy to get lost in. I was flipping pages without even realising. Like I said I started this at midnight with plans to read just a couple of chapters before bed then the next thing I know I was halfway through and couldn’t bare to put it down. (So I didn’t).

In my eyes this is definitely a very character driven book and I really liked that. I loved reading about Emoni’s life, her culture and life experiences both as a character of colour and as a teen mum. I was rooting for her and feeling anxious for her throughout the story to the point where I cried during the final chapter.

There’s a romance which I wasn’t expecting but greatly enjoyed. Its by no means the main focus of the story … it’s an added ingredient that works super well.

One of the main plot lines is that Emoni is taking a culinary arts class and there’s a trip to Seville, Andalusia. I personally loved this! I live in Andalusia and I’ve been to Seville for school trips so it made this book feel close to home.

My culinary knowledge barely stretches past cooking pasta and baking brownies but this book made me want to cook. I’m not going to because I am terrible but the way the food and cooking was written in described in this book kind of inspired me.

Overall I really liked this book. I’ve heard really great things about Elizabeth Acevedo’s work and I wasn’t disappointed.

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