November 21, 2020

#BookReview: With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo






Synopsis: 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.



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Rating: ⭐⭐
My Review: I was so happy when I got this one but sad when it didn't work out.  The story is one that I was hoping to love as I love recipes and this story of a girl with a daughter just trying to make it sounded right up my ally.  However, the writing on this one just didn't work out at all. I found myself wanting to move to other titles and other stories or just doing anything else from reading this one.  










From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up-The acclaimed author follows up her celebrated The Poet X with a love letter to food and a tribute to young, single mothers. Emoni Santiago is an Afro-Latinx high school senior in Philly who dreams up the most delectable concoctions, always mixing up tastes from her two cultures with a spice of her own. The news of a culinary arts course with a possible trip to Spain grabs her interest, but how will she juggle school, work, and taking care of her daughter? The young woman is barely balancing everything on her plate with the help of her talented best friend Angelica, 'Buela (her intractable grandmother), and occasional visits from her activist father (who moved to Puerto Rico after her mother's death). Acevedo populates her first prose novel with complex and unforgettable characters and turns the stereotype of "teen mom" on its head. Emoni has to deal with daycare drop-offs, custody issues, and making ends meet alongside college applications, budding romances, and the high school rumor mill. Realistic dialogue and vulnerable interior monologues about sex, loss, and insecurities will ring true with all adolescents. The author expertly weaves Spanglish, toddler mom worries, and culinary lingo and aptly evokes the Philly and Spain settings, immersing readers in Emoni's world. The novel's three parts are introduced by recipes created and perfected by the protagonist, and hints of Laura Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate will leave teens hungry for more. VERDICT Acevedo's second serving offers a much-needed nuanced exploration of teen parenting that belongs on all shelves.-Shelley M. Diaz, BookOps: The New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public Libraryα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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))

“[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))

“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))

“Acevedo continues to create beautifully realized characters with complex lives... Readers of all sorts will find something to connect with in this honest and ultimately hopeful story.” (Horn Book (starred review))

“With the Fire on High is a worthy follow-up to Acevedo’s nationally lauded debut. Emoni’s headstrong perseverance is inspiring. Acevedo’s clever imagery and explorations of language and culture make the journey not only beautiful, but thought-provoking.” (Entertainment Weekly)

“Acevedo’s first novel, written in verse, centered on a teenage poet. Now, we have a teenage chef. A former eighth grade English teacher, Acevedo sees these young talents not as rarities. They are everywhere — and in Acevedo’s hands, their stories transcend what is expected of them.” (Washington Post)

“Emoni’s story is a gift... With its judicious depth and brilliant blazes of writing that simmer, then nourish, With the Fire on High is literary soul food.” (New York Times Book Review )

“With such distinctive ingredients combined with Acevedo’s already established sizable audience, this Fire on High should undoubtedly prove to be a sizzling success.” (School Library Journal)

"Acevedo’s unvarnished depiction of young adulthood is at once universal and intensely specific." (Publishers Weekly)

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, the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, and the Walter Award—as well as With the Fire on High and Clap When You Land. 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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