ARC REVIEW: With the Fire on High 💭There might be actual tears in my eyes?


Title: With the Fire on High
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Pages: 400

Release Date: May 7 2019
Publisher: HaperTeen
Format: ebook

Genre: Contemporary
Goodreads Rating: 4.44 (of 275 ratings)


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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.


Disclaimer: I received this ARC courtesy of Epic Reads. I am grateful for the opportunity to review an ARC for my readers, but this will not influence my final rating. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and based solely on the book. 

Well, I read half of this book as an e-ARC and the other half as a physical book, so I’m not entirely sure what to call this book review. But the fact that I read half of this in a physical book because I was enjoying it enough to need a physical format should tell you a how this review will be going.

Earlier this year, I tried Acevedo’s first book, The Poet X, on a whim. It was easily one of the best decisions that I ever made, and with this stunning cover and the fact that I knew Acevedo can seriously write, I knew I had to try this one – and yes, it worked out exactly how it would be. This book was incredible, and seriously, like I teared up and felt so so emotional at the end. It made me feel so hopeful and ready to take on the world, and that is what good good YA contemporaries – or any YA genre – is meant to do and now I just need to sit in my feels, okay?

Acevedo’s writing is incredibly amazing. I don’t have an auto buy author list, since I mean, this is me, and I don’t trust anything apparently – but I honestly think I might make the exception for her. While this book isn’t in verse like I loved in the first one, Acevedo proves that she can totally own it in prose as well. Her writing is magic just like Emoni’s cooking, and I want to binge all of it now. Thank gosh there are more books on their way because I need it all. Acevedo can easily crush you to a million pieces in emotions and bring you right back with such hope and light and goodness.

I loved the characters in this novel – seriously, I just loved them. Emoni is such a fantastic heroine. I easily started rooting for her from the very beginning, and her voice is real, powerful, and so likeable. She has such passion – for her family, her babygirl, food, and it honestly spills right off the page. It’s tangible, and like, I don’t even eat/understand all the fancy spices and flavors and food that were mentioned in this novel (my main food groups are fried chicken and salads) but I wanted to dive in them alllllllllllllllllllll. Ugh, I loved being in her world and voice so much, because her hope, determination, and passion were just so contagious and inspiring.

The side characters were incredibly down as well. Buela and Gelly and Malachi and everyone else were so dynamic and complex. Malachi is a gem, too, and so many feeeeeeeeeelllllllllllllls for him and Emoni. Ugh, all of them bolstered Emoni up, and there were so many intricacies to them even though they were side characters.

This is a novel that is more about characters instead of action, and that was perfectly fine with me. The novel focuses on Emoni’s struggles in finding her way in this world as she goes through senior year, and its a beautiful and intriguing journey. Even though it did take me a bit to get through it, I was always invested in it. This was a coming of age story done beautifully right, and I just want to bask in it.

I can’t even think of more words for how good this book is. It’s beautifully well done, and I’m back to being emotional again. There were tears in the eyessssssssss, and now they backkkkkkkkk. I’mma wrap it up with this: just read it now. please and thank you.



rating: 5 crowns & a Mulan rating because Emoni is one fierce heroine who doesn’t back down from any fight – and this book is a total favorite
representation: Afro-Latinx lead, black and Hispanic leads, teen mother, lesbian side characters
content warnings: ex-boyfriend can be controlling/possessive in parts, prejudice faced because of race and the fact she is a young mother in parts

What do you think? Let’s discuss in the comments below!

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22 thoughts on “ARC REVIEW: With the Fire on High 💭There might be actual tears in my eyes?

  1. I’m so happy to hear that you loved this! I’ve heard nothing but praise for Acevedo’s writing, and I just got the audiobook for The Poet X. Maybe I’ll have to read this one after! I feel like it would make me hungry though 😂 Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ditto. No, but seriously, Acevedo did an amazing job creating Emoni. I found her whole journey during this book so inspirational. I cried at the end, because I was so, so happy and excited for her. A really beautiful and honest story.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful review, sweets!! It’s so great to see that you enjoyed this one! I haven’t read anything by this author yet, but I’ve heard such wonderful things about this one and the Poet X! It’s nice to hear that it’s a character driven book (my favorites!) with many complex, dynamic leads! I can’t wait to read it! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This sounds like such a lovely read! The cover is awesome. I haven’t read The Poet X yet *hides in a corner* though I have been meaning to so I will read these back to back as it would be cool to compare the writing styles. Character driven stories are always my favourite 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yesssss. It really was such a beautiful read and that cover tooooo. And omg, you’re going to love The Poet X too. I definitely think that is going to be a perfect plan because there are some slight differences that will be intriguing. And they are too! I love being able to dive deeper into them.


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