Elizabeth Acevedo does it again.
With the Fire On High is a fierce and stunning sophomore novel, full of heart, empowering females, and delicious food.
I absolutely adored Acevedo’s debut in verse, The Poet X, and found With the Fire on High to be equally, if not more, stellar. There were so many things I adored about this book, but overall, it just was so real and a true joy to read.
Slice-of-life done right.
I know slice-of-life type stories are kind of hit or miss for me. Sometimes they feel aimless or don’t grab me.
With the Fire on High did none of that, and I was absolutely sucked into Emoni’s story. One of the reasons was that Emoni herself was such a relatable character and one who could connect with the reader easily.
Emoni felt like a friend, and for the reader, reading With the Fire on High was like holding Emoni’s hand and watching her navigate her life, in spite of the hurdles it throws at her. She’s fierce, and the sheer amount of bravery in this heroine makes her an immediate connect for so many readers. Emoni is very easy to empathize with, and her story is one that you just want to read.
Emotional connections > instalove.
There were so many meaningful connections in this book, and I was stunned by how connected I felt not just to Emoni, but to all the side characters too.
One of the most notable was the love interest Malachai who is a new student at Emoni’s school and one that slowly wriggles his way into her heart, even after all Emoni has gone through and her lack of a romantic life for the past three years. The slow burn was amazing, and Malachai and Emoni really developed their relationship in such a wholesome way, I can’t help but ship them so hard.
Plus, Emoni and her best friend Angelica, Emoni and her grandmother, and Emoni and her culinary teacher all also had really significant relationships that really brought heart to this story.
So much food. And culture. And heart.
I love these characters so much, and any book with FOOD is a book I am in love with.
SO MUCH FOOD. I was drooling the whole way through, and it’s not just pretty fruits. It’s delicious, homey meals and fancy restaurant dishes and so much more. I would eat at whatever restaurant Emoni opens, and I hope she does get to do that one day.
I love how Acevedo really captured the heart of Emoni’s community and how it contrasted with her school, and I think With the Fire on High is just such a heartfelt and true novel, and I can’t shove it at enough people.
Overall? Another giant handful of stars for Acevedo.
With the Fire on High was just as amazing as I hoped, and I sincerely wish that everyone reads it.
Emotional, heartfelt, and full of loveable characters and delicious food, With the Fire on High was another great read—about a teen mom, her hopes and dreams, and how she chases them.
P.S. Oh yeah. Emoni also lets out a breath she didn’t know she was holding on two different occasions, and she OWNS IT.
Being a teen mom isn’t easy, and being a teen mom while trying to support your family is even harder. That’s why Emoni is just trying to make it through her senior year so she can go out and do what needs to be done.
But when a culinary class is offered at her school, it launches Emoni on a path that will help her pursue her long-held dreams of going to culinary school, as well as meeting a new boy who wiggles his way into her heart, and learning more than she ever thought she could.
Emoni will have to decide whether she’ll chase her dream, even if it comes at a high cost.
Thank you so much to Edelweiss and Harper Collins for providing me with a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review!