Book Review: With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

Rating: 4.5/5 (More like 4.75)

A book that I pretty much bought for the cover but was happily surprised with how much I loved it.

Book CWs

  • Parent Abandonment
  • Character Death
  • Racism


Emoni Santiago is a single mother supporting her daughter and her abuela, all while trying to graduate from high school. With all of the stress that comes with her everyday life, Emoni often finds solace in the one activity that she has always loved: cooking.

At the start of her senior year, her high school begins offering a brand new culinary class–an opportunity too sweet to pass up. There is even a class trip to Spain!

But when Emoni’s talent is undermined by her inability to follow directions and when she realize just how much going to Spain will cost, she is forced to reevaluate how far her talent and passion can take her.

Review (No Spoilers)

I bought With The Fire on High because it was the Gryffindor book for House Battles and I thought the cover looked absolutely amazing. Seriously, I love everything about the cover.

I’m actually very thankful that House Battles chose this book because although I admired it at Barnes & Noble every so often, I don’t think I would have ever bought it on my own. I remember once I stopped to read the flap and all I thought was that the book seemed to be about nothing at all, which meant it was definitely not worth spending money on.

I was wrong.

This book was wonderful.

Admittedly, the book is about very little. But it’s the characters that make the story worthwhile. Emoni was the strong black female protagonist that I didn’t even know I needed. Not once did she ever regret begin a teen mother or place any type of blame on her daughter. She took almost all of her challenges head on and didn’t let anyone tell her she wasn’t good enough.

Malachai (the new hot dude in town), on the other hand, was basically the biggest cinnamon roll ever and I still feel like I, as a reader, didn’t deserve him. He was honestly perfect.

The character development in this book was so so good. I watched several characters (both main and side) learn from their mistakes and actually grow. My only qualm was that two or three characters seemed to be let off easy in the end, when in my opinion, they should have been told off. If you’ve read this book, I am happy to rant to you about it.

Overall, I definitely recommend this book. The chapters are really short and it’s fast paced so you can easily finish it in a day if you wanted to.

P.S. I can’t be the only one who misread Acevedo as Avocado, right?

17 thoughts on “Book Review: With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

  1. dinipandareads October 11, 2019 / 9:20 pm

    I still have this one on my to read list but I’ve heard lots of great things about it. I love when characters go through some real growth and when they’re actually show how they’ve grown through their actions. Loving the sound of Malachai being a cinnamon roll — my fave kind 😍Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Stephen Writes October 12, 2019 / 9:04 am

    Having read The Poet X and liked it, I am looking forward to reading this. Great review and I agree, the cover is really nice.


  3. Laurie October 12, 2019 / 8:31 pm

    Is this in verse too? Because I’m afraid it’s not for me. Glad it surprised you pleasantly!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Jules_Writes October 14, 2019 / 9:41 pm

    The cover is gorgeous but I’m so glad the book was brilliant! Great review.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. phanniebeingginger October 14, 2019 / 9:56 pm

    Great review! I loved this book when I read like a few weeks ago but it also made me hungry all the time!
    Don’t worry I’ve also misread the name of the author and I’m glad that I don’t have a booktube account but only a book blog so I won’t accidentally misspell and butcher her name on Youtube xD

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Gina October 15, 2019 / 1:04 am

    Excellent review. You made me want to read it. I’ll be adding it to my TBRR list.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Asha Seth June 3, 2020 / 11:18 pm

    Some opinion on the plot would help too. I guess that’s missing from the review.


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