With the Fire on High
by Acevedo, Elizabeth






Teen mother Emoni Santiago struggles with the challenges of finishing high school and her dream of working as a chef.





*Starred Review* Acevedo has done it again: the multi-award-winning author of The Poet X (2018) here delivers perfection, from the cover art featuring a young Afro-Latina woman looking out, her curls picked up in a scarf, and kitchen staples framing her face, to Acevedo's keen, stirring prose that reads like poetry and demands to be read slowly. In a distinct, perceptive, and vulnerable first-person narrative, Emoni, a young single mom being raised by her grandmother while raising her own daughter, relates the story of her last year of high school in vignettes and short chapters, trading off between sharing bits of the story and her musings about her life and her future. Emoni has a gift for cooking, and her food, like magic, conjures emotions in people she shares it with. Her teachers, friends, and family are all ready to support her when the subject of culinary arts schooling comes up, but the one Emoni needs to learn to trust is herself. Acevedo compassionately challenges her readers with a wide variety of topics, including cultural and personal identity and the needs and desires of older women, something that is so often forgotten. Fittingly, for a book so deeply about food, she also includes Emoni's recipes. This sophomore novel is simply stunning. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Acevedo's debut won a National Book Award and the Printz Award and her many fans will be salivating for this superb follow-up. Grades 9-12. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.





Seventeen-year-old Afro-Boricua Emoni Santiago hones her gift for cooking and makes important decisions about her future. Emoni's 'Buela says she's had a gift for cooking since she was small. Now Emoni has her own toddler, Emma ("The kind of name that doesn't tell you too much before you meet her, the way mine does"), nicknamed Babygirl. Emoni's first day of senior year at her Philadelphia high school is also Babygirl's first day of day care, leaving Emoni saddened about missing parts of her life. Emoni's a classic example of the school system's failure to harness many students' creativity and interests, but thankfully she discovers and enrolls in a new class called "Culinary Arts: Spain Immersion." Though the teacher, Chef Ayden, respects her, he's strict, and Emoni nearly drops the class, but eventually she gathers the ingredients-connections and skills-she'll need for success. A romance that doesn't fit the usual mold and a class trip to Spain round out this fl avorful tale. Emoni occasionally breaks from first-person narration to address readers directly, and her voice and story feel fresh and contemporary. Diversity in representation is primarily racial and ethnic; however, Emoni's best friend Angelica is a lesbian. The short, precise prose chapters will draw in even reluctant readers, and the inclusion of several recipes adds to the appeal. Current pop-culture references and cultural relevance will attract both window and mirror readers. Sabroso. (Fiction. 14-adult) Copyright Kirkus 2019 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.






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