Book Review – “With The Fire On High”

Elizabeth Acevedo has cooked up a real treat in this young adult book. It hit a note with me, and is one of those books I know I’ll be recommending to many a person for a while to come.

Emoni is seventeen, in school, dreaming of being a chef, and raising a two year old daughter. She has magic hands, and the food she creates makes people feel things, reducing them to tears with the power of what she has made them think of. And yet how can she possibly make her dream come true whilst balancing being a single mother, living with her grandmother, and studying for her last year of high school?

This book called to me from as soon as I read the preview. Having been a teenage mum myself, I knew I would relate to many of the themes that would undoubtedly come into play. And yet even knowing that, I was surprised at how many times this book left me in tears, with just how precisely accurate it was. It was a beautiful read, relaxing despite my emotional connection, and like a good meal, something to savour.

It is written so vividly that you become immersed into the story, and become sure that you’ll meet the characters just walking down the road, like you know them almost as well as they know you. And it takes a certain skill to be able to make such captivating magic happen. Elizabeth Acevedo has created a beautiful book – including the stunning illustrations – that will stay with you long after you have snapped it closed for the last time. There is far more to this story than words. Like Emoni’s cooking, it makes you think of things you had forgotten and feel things you had pushed down inside.

Thank you to HarperTeen (Harper Collins Publishers), Elizabeth Acevedo, and Readers First for this prior to publication copy. Happy publication day!


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