Review: With the Fire on High

Title: With the Fire on High
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Indigo Preview 2019
Format: Paperback arc
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Rating: ★★★★


Goodreads 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.


Emoni Santiago is a senior in high school, with a two-year-old daughter to care for. Her grandmother, who raised her, is also helping look after her daughter. Emoni has had to make tough decisions in her life, but she knows she’s meant to be in the kitchen. When she learns that her school will be offering a culinary arts class, Emoni doesn’t think she has time for it, despite dreaming of working in a kitchen one day. Emoni also doesn’t think she can afford the trip to Spain that will be included in the course. Throughout her final year of high school, Emoni must decide if she follows her dreams or follows the rules she’s set out for herself.

Emoni had to face unique challenges throughout this story. She had been raised by her grandmother, since her mom died when Emoni was born and her dad lived in Puerto Rico for most of the year. She also had a baby following her freshman year of high school. Since people would often look down on her because she was a very young mother, Emoni had a thick skin and didn’t let many people into her inner circle.

All of the reviews I’ve read for this book mention the food. This is definitely a book that will make you hungry. All of the food described sounded so delicious, from sweets to savory dishes. Do not go into this story with an empty stomach because it will make you hungry!

With the Fire on High was a beautiful modern novel!

Thank you Indigo for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

When We Make It by Elisabet Velasquez

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Have you read With the Fire on High? What did you think of it?


Author: jilljemmett

Jill lives in Toronto, Canada. She has studied English, Creative Writing, and Publishing. Jill is the creator and content producer of Jill’s Book Blog, where she has published a blog post every day for the last four years, including 5-7 book reviews a week. She can usually be found with her nose in a book.

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