Review #169

Title- With the Fire on High

Author- Elizabeth Acevedo

Series- standalone

Rating– 4.0/5.0

Genre- YA contemporary

POV- first person, present tense

Trope- teen pregnancy, coming of age

Cover– I’m in love with the cover and the hardcover without the jacket is gorgeous. I want to buy a copy so I can show it off both ways.

Comps– “Mothers” by Brit Bennett mixed with “Simmer Down” by Sarah Smith


Ever since she got pregnant freshman year, Emoni Santiago’s life has been about making the tough decisions—doing what has to be done for her daughter and her abuela.

The one place she can let all that go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness.

Even though she dreams of working as a chef after she graduates, Emoni knows that it’s not worth her time to pursue the impossible. Yet despite the rules she thinks she has to play by, once Emoni starts cooking, her only choice is to let her talent break free.

First chapter-

The recipe to start it off is adorable. Right away we learn that Emoni had Emma young and is still a student herself. She lives with her grandmother and they are scraping by to afford a couple new outfits for Emma’s first day of daycare. The chapters are extremely short like little tidbits of info to form the pieces of their life into a cohesive unit.

Character Development- this is a coming of age story altogether

Best part- chef culinary school

What I would change- calling Emma “Babygirl” was annoying to me, but that’s just my preference

Prose- average, but I’ve heard this author is a great poet. Check out her stuff

Character goals/motivations- a path to college or culinary school or working in a restaurant?

Theme- making a choice for the good of your family

Vivid sensory descriptions- with the cooking, yes

Dialogue- I appreciate the realistic cultural representation of dialogue and grammar. This is a controversial topic within reader/author platforms and is interesting to see different takes on the writing. I love the characters voice and her passion for cooking

Inclusivity- Angelica and Laura have a FF relationship.

Conflict/tension/obstacles- money, distractions, parenthood, custody

Pacing- medium

Thoughts while reading-

Page 124- this is a story of hopes and dreams and finding one’s path. Emoni has to make sacrifices and hard choices for what is best for her family. Even though the chapters go by quickly, I’m wishing there was more punch to the plot.

Page 216- it’s a sweet story but there’s a lot of mundane tasks/events that aren’t as interesting to me as a reader compared to other options

Page 300- oh my, Malachi in Spain?!!

Ending- Spoilers- Page 388- I’m glad she had the moment with her father and made a step in the direction towards her dream career.

Published by CassieSwindon

Fiction author

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