*A COUPLE OF SPOILERS*
I really enjoyed this book!
With the Fire on High follows the story of Emoni who absolutely loves to cook and ever since she got pregnant in freshman year it has become a way to escape the harsh realities of her life. Having to make so many tough decisions and being on the verge of so many changes has started to take a toll on her and she uses the kitchen to let all of that go.
I really loved Emoni’s character. She truly felt like a 17 year old who has had to grow up at such a young age but still hasn’t fully matured. I thought her character was very realistic and the challenges and obstacles that she has to overcome throughout the book I thought was a great representation of what teen mothers have to endure in the real world. I could only imagine how tough that sort of situation would be and I really thought she handled it as best she could. I like that she made mistakes and spread herself too thin and wasn’t a perfect model character. She doubted herself constantly but overall it was the health and well-being of Emma that took precedent over everything.
I loved Abuela’s character as well. It was nice that Emoni touched on many times throughout the book how much she appreciated and loved her grandmother and the sacrifice she has had to make in order to raise Emoni and Emma. I liked that she took a stand and she gave herself that time at ‘the doctors’ to have to herself even though she had to deceive Emoni. And I appreciated that Emoni respected her enough to not dig into her grandmothers business and just accepted that she needed space from them.
Overall I thought this was a very well balanced book. There was definitely times when Emoni was at her absolute lowest point and then we see her at bounce back and make it to graduation and decide how she is going to live her life. I thought the book was very diverse and had a variety of characters that were all very multicultural and multifaceted. The addition of the recipes I thought was a fantastic touch. It really showed how little Emoni actually stuck with a traditional recipe and just went with her gut.
This was a highly anticipated read for me and I didn’t look too much into it before I started reading and I was very surprised with the direction the book went with
⭐️4/5 stars fresh, fast paced, realistic and touching!