Elizabeth Acevedo‘s latest novel, With the Fire on High, is a story full of beauty and warmth. The characters and the setting feel like home. To me, that’s one of the marks of a good story–when it immediately tugs at and settles in a part of the reader in a way that’s hard to explain.
I love that, even though Emoni has her struggles and a million responsibilities to juggle, there’s still time for laughter and friendship and optimism. It’s a beautiful reflection of what life can be like for us all, no matter what our age.
Emoni is a passionate and ambitious young woman with a gift for cooking and dreams of being a chef. She’s also a teen mother, a reality that’s often looked at with disapproval from elders and judgment from her peers, but she never thinks about her daughter with anything but love and a desire to be the best she can be for her. That’s one of the parts I love the most about who she is.
The decisions she makes throughout this book to open her world to the possibilities of reaching out and taking hold of the dreams she’s afraid to allow herself to have will make you determined to live some more.
“Trust. Yourself mainly, but the world too. There is magic working in your favor.”
Synopsis Excerpt (via Goodreads)
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…
Buy With the Fire on High at The Strand here.
(This happens to be my favorite indie, but please support your local ones if you’re able to!)