With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Ever since she got pregnant with babygirl, Emoni’s life has been about deciding right: she knows better than to mess around, because she’s got babygirl to look after and money to save. College, mistakes like boys, and even the new cooking course that could let her pursue her dreams as a chef seem so far beyond her reach.
The snappy dialogue of Emoni’s internal monologue is easily matched by the well-crafted plot and brilliant characterization of the novel. Acevedo spins a fun, thought provoking tale of hope, responsibility, success, and picking yourself back up after you fall down. The romance is better handled in than many other books I have read in the genre, and the author does a stellar job of handling difficult topics. While the novel my be a little more mature than most YA works, it is still accessible enough to resonate with teen readers and honestly better written than many a YA beach reads.
With the Fire on High is a stunning piece, just as good if not better than Acevedo’s earlier work on The Poet X. Her characters are realistic, complex, and likable, and while I can see her writing style developing in some similarities in her protagonists, Acevedo has clearly proven she is not a one trick pony. -Anya W. ’20
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