Acevedo's sophomore novel is a delightful concoction of a book, whose voice is as unique as a restaurant's signature dish.High school senior Emoni Santiago takes care of her young daughter and her aging grandmother. She goes to school, hangs out with her best friend, and tries not to stress about whether or not she can afford to go to college. Emoni is an average American high school student, but her talent in the kitchen is anything but. Emoni learns to transform the insufficient ingredients found in her neighborhood to cook creative meals, inspired by her 'buela's Cuban recipes and her aunt's Southern classics. Through Emoni's love of food, the reader gains insight into Emoni's internal world, as well as all the unique flavors and cultures that make up her neighborhood in urban Philadelphia. With this alchemy of flavors comes a unique political awareness of what it means to live with a complex and marginalized identity in the U.S. Emoni recognizes the importance of owning her heritage and her story, of seeing the beauty in her family's struggles and triumphs. Recommended By Caroline M., Powells.com
Between parenting her daughter, being a high school senior, and helping her abuela, Emoni is already stretched too thin. But then a new cooking class at school has her dreaming of more. This book is like a bite of delicious food you're tasting for the first time — unexpected, delightful, and leaves you wanting more. Emoni is a bilingual, Afro-Latinx, teen single mom. Teens who don't often see themselves represented in books will see pieces of themselves in her relationships, struggles, sacrifices, triumphs, community, language, and food. I adored this book! Recommended By Christine R., Powells.com
Elizabeth Acevedo has worked her magic again in With the Fire on High, crafting a beautifully written novel that is both realistic and fantastical, touching, funny, thought-provoking, inspirational, diverse, and thoroughly entertaining, all at the same time. Bonus: it's chock-full of fantastic food descriptions! Recommended By Leah C., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
From the author of 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.
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 doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for their trip to Spain — and certainly can’t follow her dreams of working in a real kitchen someday.
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 choice is to let her talent break free.
"The acclaimed author follows up her celebrated The Poet X with a love letter to food and a tribute to young, single mothers... Acevedo's second serving offers a much-needed nuanced exploration of teen parenting that belongs on all shelves." School Library Journal (Starred Review)
"[A] stunning sophomore novel from National Book Award and Printz winner Acevedo.... With evocative, rhythmic prose and realistically rendered relationships and tensions, Acevedo's unvarnished depiction of young adulthood is at once universal and intensely specific." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"Acevedo has done it again: the multi-award-winning author of The Poet X (2018) here delivers perfection... This sophomore novel is simply stunning." Booklist (Starred Review)
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.