With the Fire on High
by Elizabeth Acevedo
A single mother in high school, Emoni does her best to take care of her daughter and abuela while dreaming of becoming a chef after graduation.
Although this reads younger than I typically prefer these days, I enjoyed this book. It covers a lot of topics I haven’t seen discussed much in YA fiction before. A young mother with not a lot of family around, doing her best to make things work out for the child she’s raising mostly alone. It’s not such an unusual thing in real life, but it’s not something I’ve seen much in books.
Emoni does a lot of growing up in the short time we spend with her throughout this story. She learns to not only appreciate the help she’s had in her personal life and her daughter’s life, but to appreciate herself and her own wants and needs. I do wish her situation felt a little more difficult than it did. Not that I wanted her to struggle, but I wish the effects of living in poverty as a young mother in an urban setting had a bit more weight in the story that ultimately always resolved positively and conveniently.
Beyond that minor complaint, I think this is a great story about family and cooking and respecting yourself enough to pursue your dreams.