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With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

With the Fire on High

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"Ever since she got pregnant, 17-year-old Emoni's life has been about making the tough decisions - doing what has to be done for her young daughter and her grandmother. Keeping her head down at school, trying not to get caught up with new boy Malachi. The one place she can let everything go is in the kitchen, where she has magical hands - whipping up extraordinary food beloved by everyone.

"Emoni wants to be a chef more than anything, but she knows it's pointless to pursue the impossible. There are rules she has to play by. And yet, once she starts cooking, and gets that fire on high, she sees that her drive to feed will feed her soul and dreams too. And anything is possible."

With the Fire on High is only Elizabeth Acevedo's second novel, yet the characters and city she creates are magical and clearly demonstrate her love of language.

The story is fuelled by hope, optimism and the glorious tastes of exotic cuisine. It is told through the eyes of Emoni, a teenage mother who is learning the fine balancing act of motherhood, family and school work, all while pursuing her true passion of cooking. Emoni has a strong sense of realism and will inspire many a reader thanks to her strength and determination to excel despite what is expected of someone with her place in society.

Fans of Acevedo's first novel, The Poet X, may be surprised that this novel is not written in verse. This demonstrates her versatility and true talent, as she ably crafts such wonderful characters and stories no matter what writing style she uses.

I guarantee that you will get lost within this story and feel every emotion with each of the characters Acevedo has so wonderfully created. As with her first novel, I did not want to put this book down, so I cannot wait to see what her upcoming third novel holds.