Book reviews Contemporary

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

with the fire on high -cover

About the Book – With the Fire on High

With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness.

Still, she knows she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for the class’s trip to Spain—and shouldn’t still be dreaming of someday working in a real kitchen. But even with all the rules she has for her life—and all the rules everyone expects her to play by—once Emoni starts cooking, her only real choice is to let her talent break free.

Goodreads Page

The world is a turntable that never stops spinning; as humans we merely choose the tracks we want to sit out and the ones that inspire us to dance.

Quote from With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

Our Review of With the Fire on High

The book was such a popular one that I kept seeing it on every reader’s shelf but somehow I kept pushing It. I kept getting the vibes that it might be not of my taste and that it might be too intense for me. Fortunately, the audiobook was a rescuer as is the case for me these days ( so technically I am listening more than reading 😛 ). So I was right assuming that With the fire on high was not essentially a romance book. Even though the book is not one, it does deal with a relationship angle.

The book is more of a character study. The book is more about struggles, joys and everything in between for a single mother. The plot and story resonate very well with anybody, be it a mother, single woman or anybody because I feel the simplicity and naturality of the plot, makes it very relatable. I think that is why the book found its huge audience. It isn’t preaching on how to survive or live. It is more like a picture of one person, her situation and how she handles it. I liked that aspect of the book. It didn’t try to make take pity over the plight of the character. It didn’t try to change society’s outlook and call out for radical changes. No. It simply portrayed some life events and it’s completely up to the readers to take what they want.

I loved the whole theme of food in the book. You could see that in everything about the book, from the cover, plot to even the incorporation of recipes. Amazingly seasoned and cooked to devour in one bite. Oooo, look at that cooking analogy :P. The book is well-paced. Neither slow nor fast but with a linear and natural progression to events and fortunately characters don’t flip a coin and change by the end. There are no sparks flying romance and life-changing miracles. It is as natural and realistic as it can be and that is why it has the perfect ingredients to resonate with any kind of readers


It’s a well-cooked book that I would say deals with a very sensitive and emotional story with absolute charm and without making it too heavy. This book could have gone so bad in so many ways but you have to appreciate the author for treating it right and so beautifully. The book even though deals with a heavy topic, is done nicely and in a very charming way 

Squirrel Rating

Squirrel Rating- 4 Stars

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