ACEVEDO, Elizabeth. With the Fire on High

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      * ACEVEDO, Elizabeth. With the Fire on High. 400p. HarperCollins/Harper. May 2019. Tr $ 17.99. ISBN 9780062662835. Gr 9 Up--The acclaimed author follows up her celebrated The Poet X with [...]


Booklist Reviews 2019 March #2

*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.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2019 Fall

High school senior Emoni Santiago (an aspiring chef) and her two-year-old daughter live with Emoni's [cf2]abuela[cf1]. Emoni signs up for a culinary arts class that culminates in a trip to Spain--and she begins to see a path forward, if only she dares follow it. Acevedo creates beautifully realized characters with complex lives. A few recipes (such as "When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemon Verbena Tembleque") are interspersed. Copyright 2019 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2019 #3

High school senior Emoni Santiago, whose "Puerto Rican side is as Black as [her] Black American side," is many things—an aspiring chef, a proud North Philly native, a reserved student who keeps to herself, a teenage single parent. Emoni and her two-year-old daughter live with Emoni's abuela, as Emoni's mother is dead and her father lives in Puerto Rico. Emoni's life is one of difficult choices, and she is not sure she will be able to both pursue her cooking dreams and support her daughter. But as seniors begin choosing electives, Emoni signs up for a culinary arts class that culminates in a trip to Spain—and she begins to see a path forward if only she dares follow it. In this prose novel (following her acclaimed verse novel The Poet X, rev. 3/18), Acevedo continues to create beautifully realized characters with complex lives ("I shake my head at all the separate feelings inside me; sometimes I feel like a bigger mess than Babygirl's scattered toys"), and her portrait of a young mother is a story too infrequently taken up in YA. But readers of all sorts will find something to connect with in this honest and ultimately hopeful story—and aspiring chefs like Emoni can follow a few actual recipes (such as "When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemon Verbena Tembleque"). christina l. dobbs Copyright 2019 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

PW Reviews 2019 March #1

In this stunning sophomore novel from National Book Award and Printz winner Acevedo (The Poet X), Afro–Puerto Rican and African-American Emoni Santiago, a high school senior, lives in Philadelphia with her two-year-old daughter, Emma—nicknamed Babygirl—and paternal grandmother, 'Buela. A talented cook, Emoni balances school, work at a local burger joint, and motherhood—including shared custody with her ex-boyfriend, Tyrone—with moments in the kitchen, where her "magical hands" create dishes that allow the eater to access deep, surprising memories. But she's not sure what to do with her passion, or after high school, until enrolling in a culinary arts elective helps her to hone her innate cooking skills in the classroom and during a hard-won weeklong apprenticeship in Spain. As she gains practice at leadership and fund-raising, she also cautiously develops a budding relationship with new student Malachi, a boy who respects Emoni's boundaries. Acevedo expertly develops Emoni's close female relationships, which are often conveyed through the sharing of food and recipes, and which shape and buoy Emoni's sense of her own direction and strength. With evocative, rhythmic prose and realistically rendered relationships and tensions, Acevedo's unvarnished depiction of young adulthood is at once universal and intensely specific. Ages 13–up. Agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (May)

Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.