Sara's Review of With the Fire on High
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Bookseller: Sara Franco
I'm not 100% sure how to write about this book because it had such a huge impact on me that saying anything about it feels impossible. What words can you say that will convey how moved you felt watching a character as wonderful and strong as Emoni struggle through and triumph over the hand that life dealt? How do you talk about how you felt reading yourself in the pages of a book?
The story centers around teen mom Emoni and her love of cooking. She is trying her best to be a great mom and a great high school kid. And when life gets to be too much she find comfort in the act of cooking, creating dishes that can't be found in any recipe book but that invoke emotions in those that eat them.
This was such an important book for me because I saw myself in the story, Being a Hispanic woman from a tiny town in Northern California I never felt at home in my Hispanic-ness. It always felt like something to apologize for until I started reading more and especially reading Elizabeth Acevedo's work. Emoni is a woman of color and she is proud, she is a teen mom and she is proud, while she struggles and goes through difficult times she finds a way to come out the other side. She is an inspiration for me in oh so many ways.
This may be a YA novel but it transcends age and I think that everyone can find something to love in this book. It is sweet and tender, it is moving and at times heartbreaking, it is full of hope and love. It is such an incredibly well round novel that I couldn't put it down and it has quickly moved into my top books of all time. Elizabeth Acevedo knows how to tell a good story and her characters are strong and diverse and utterly lovable because of their flaws, because they are human and they jump off the page. It is just a really, really good read and I highly recommend it to anyone that enjoys a great novel.
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See her other book reviews here: Sara F.
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