Book Rec: “With the Fire on High” by Elizabeth Acevedo


Louise Kim, Staff Writer

“Food is meant to feed more than an empty belly. It’s also meant to nourish your heart.” -Emoni Santiago

High school senior Emoni Santiago has her daughter to care for, her abuela to support, and her father in Puerto Rico to think about. In With the Fire on High, Emoni’s life forces her to make tough decisions, except when she is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks: when people taste Emoni’s food, something deep inside them, once misaligned, shifts back into its proper place. She knows she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, enough money for the class trip to Spain, or enough autonomy to dream of working in a real kitchen someday. Yet, one adventurous risk leads to another, and Emoni realizes she won’t look back at her past; she’ll do anything to follow her passion. Elizabeth Acevedo’s book is a refreshing read with complex, human characters and a fast-paced, vivid plot. In addition, Emoni is a beautiful character with talent, pride, and dedication that keeps her fire burning high. With her arsenal of ingredients and unstoppable passion, Emoni is ready to stir up readers’ hearts!