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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


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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Free sample

Check out a preview of With the Fire on High.

Why I love it

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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Member ratings (1,249)

  • Mary I.

    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

  • Renn G.

    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!

  • Gemma B.

    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!

  • Priscilla M.

    San Jose , CA

    This is such a beautiful, poetic, and heartwarming book. It’s not just about romantic love, familial love, and parental love, but it is also about loving your self enough to step into a new beginning.

  • Summer F.

    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!