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All booksYoung adultWith the Fire on High
With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
Young adult

With the Fire on High

by Elizabeth Acevedo

Quick take

Fire up the oven, because this inspiring story of family and ambition will make your stomach grumble.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_400

    400+ pages

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Feminist


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_SocialIssues

    Social issues

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_WellKnownAuthor

    Famous author

Why I love it

Liberty Hardy
BOTM Judge

Elizabeth Acevedo serves up another fabulous book in this story of a talented teen chef trying to follow her dreams. This was one of the most inspiring YA novels I’ve read in a long time. It will tickle your taste buds and warm your heart!

Ever since she was little, Emori has been an amazing cook. Herhome is a loving place filled with laughter and amazing food. She, her two-year-old daughter, and her abuela don’t have much money, but they have each other.

Then Emori returns to high school for her senior year, and learns about the chance of a lifetime: a class in culinary arts that culminates in a trip to Spain. Emori knows that the trip is not something her family can afford, and that she should be spending her time looking for a steady job instead of chasing her dreams.

… But wouldn’t it be great if she could do both?

I positively loved this novel! Emori is an amazing character. She’s smart, and strong, and she’s an amazing mother. And her story of family, following your dreams, and struggling with life’s tough choices is so real that it almost felt like a memoir. OH, AND THE FOOD—the descriptions are incredible! (Pro tip: Don’t read this on an empty stomach.)

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Ever since she got pregnant freshman year, Emoni Santiago’s life has been about making the tough decisions—doing what has to be done for her daughter and her abuela. The one place she can let all that go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness.

Even though she dreams of working as a chef after she graduates, Emoni knows that it’s not worth her time to pursue the impossible. Yet despite the rules she thinks she has to play by, once Emoni starts cooking, her only choice is to let her talent break free.

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Check out a preview of With the Fire on High.

Member thoughts

All (880)
All (880)
Love (629)
Like (238)
Dislike (13)
898 ratings
  • 70% Love
  • 27% Like
  • 1% Dislike
  • Southlake, TX

    I loved Emoni’s story and the pace of this amazing book! Definitely one for an inner foodie! A quick read, the story includes emails and short chapters to propel the reader into Emoni and Buela’s life

  • Seattle , WA

    I don’t think I have to say much more than this—Elizabeth Acevedo is an absolute star. I will continue to buy and devour anything she puts out. This book was just like Emoni’s cooking—delectable!

  • Fairfax, VA

    I loved this book! This book touches on many important topics and the main character had such a great voice.I loved the recipes and Emoni’s descriptions of how she feels when shes cooking.A Must Read!

  • South Glens Falls, NY

    I loved Emoni’s character, her family, and her friends. They had so much depth and character. This book offers a peek into the life of a teen mother and the sacrifices she makes for her child. Great!


    Emoni is the type of strong at 18 that I hope to be and am still working on now at 28. E chooses to move forward and work hard, even when it would be easier to lash out. She's an amazing role model.

  • Farmington Hills, MI

    The best YA novel I have read this year! Emoni takes on a lot being a young mother. Family, friends, & perseverance are so important, and I loved seeing her mature and grow into adulthood. Great book!

  • Freeport, TX

    17 year old Emoni Santiago lives in Philadelphia with her daughter and grandmother. Trying to finish high school and navigate life with friends and an ex boyfriend and recipes to make your heart sing.

  • Lynn, MA

    I first knew about this author through slam poetry. But boy, Acevedo can sure write a damn good novel. The writing style and and story telling is refreshing and this story is authentic to the culture!

  • Tallahassee, FL

    There are book characters that, when a story ends, I wonder what will happen to them after the last word. Emoni Santiago is a character that I don't have any worries or doubts of her future. So good.

  • Brockport, NY

    Acevedo is officially an auto-buy author. Her work is so beautiful and her writing is so atmospheric and engaging; using recipes to tie in feelings and building layers to the story & Emoni's journey!

  • Noblesville, IN

    I love this author. From her first book, Poet X, to this book she has not failed me yet. I read this book in one day. Could not put it down. The story moved fast and was engaging from front to back.

  • Philadelphia, PA

    With the Fire On High is about a girl with dreams of being a chef. She has to choose if her dreams or working and taking care of her daughter is the most important. This is something women deal with.

  • Nashville, TN

    This was so good! What a great YA book! I just loved all the characters and Emoni is such a strong young lady. Raising a daughter while in high school can’t be easy for anyone (my Mom did it too)!


    I can’t believe I let this lovely little book sit on my shelf for so long before I read it! It is the sweet story of a teen mom who cares for her child but still has dreams of her own. I loved it!

  • Saint Louis, MO

    What a great, uplifiting book! I feel in love with Emoni and so enjoyed cheering her on throughout her senior year. It made me crave all sorts of yummy foods and take more risks in the kitchen too!

  • Salem, OR

    It took me a bunch of tries to read this simply because I kept getting distracted by the overwhelming need to cook the recipe @ the beginning! ???? but wow I loved this story & savored every minute!

  • Puyallup, WA

    I loved everything about this book: showcasing a teen mom (in YA, no less), positive relationships, class struggles, racism, delicious cooking, and a trip to Spain. Emoni is smart and hard-working.

  • Salem, SC

    this was beyond excellent. the story of a young girl rising up despite all circumstances is not only inspiring, but beautiful. i read this on a plane ride and couldn't put it down the entire time.

  • Oklahoma City, OK

    I love the realistic story of a single high school mom balancing love, school, starting a career, and raising a kid. I absolutely loved this book and have recommended it to so many of my friends.

  • Chesterfield, MI

    Emoni is a fierce character with a lot going on in her life but her passion of cooking always remains and is her form of therapy. I love all of the characters in this book, such a beautiful story!

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