I hope you guys are just as excited as I am! This was my first time participating in a blog tour with actual physical arcs involved. 😮 Any of you who are international bloggers as well, know how hard those magical objects are to come by for us…
Anyway! The blog tour is hosted by Karina @ Afire Pages who’s been an absolute gem. And a big Thank You to HarperCollins International for making this all possible! There are two (!) giveaways happening during this blog tour, as well, so you definitely wanna read the whole post, to get to the info about those!
Let’s get cooking!
With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
Published: HarperTeen (May 7th 2019)
Genre: young adult; contemporary
LGBT rep: side wlw relationship
Rating: 4/5 🍑
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.
ARC provided by the publisher.
I have to be honest. Half the reason I wanted to read With the Fire on High is that Acevedo is a poet. If you know me at all, you’re probably aware how much I love poetry. So a chance to see how a person who usually works with a totally different set of rules translates their thoughts into prose? I couldn’t pass it up.
And it’s obvious from the very first pages that the author is also a poet. The beauty with which With the Fire On High is written! The unassuming metaphors, the word choices, the rhythm of sentences itself! I would even say that the length of chapters has something of a poem to it, being short enough just to convey a feeling. Acevedo’s poetic delicacy shines through every line and it feels a little bit like a gift. (It probably feels like eating Emoni’s cooking feels.)
This is the story of Emoni who isn’t even eighteen yet at the start of it, but she already experienced more than half of us. She’s mixed race – Afro-Puerto Rican on her dad’s side and Black on her mom’s and that heritage doesn’t make it easy to find her place in the world. She was raised by her grandmother because her mom died in childbirth and her father is only good for a visit once every few months. Emoni also has a daughter, who’s already two years old.
But those are all aspects of her life she’s known; sure, she still didn’t exactly figure out how to handle them all, but it’s an ongoing fight. What’s new is her struggle to accept that she actually can be a little bit selfish, even though she’s a mother, even though her grandmother is old & tired, even though the world doesn’t want to hear her opinions. And this is what With the Fire On High is truly about – a journey to self-love.
That’s what I loved so much about it. Because even with such a wonderful set of secondary characters, all of whom are incredibly well fleshed out, this is – and make no mistake about it – an Emoni story. She’s the star of it, she’s right at the center and even the romance doesn’t outshine her, like it often happens in contemporary novels. I actually adored the love arc, with how simple & not overwhelming it was, but mostly – how every single second of it happened on Emoni’s terms.
And all these things going on in Emoni’s life? The rep doesn’t actually end there and it’s another aspect of this book that feels like someone feeding you a homemade dish with a dash of magic. Because seeing yourself in a story? Nothing better than that! And here we have a best friend who’s an out lesbian in a committed relationship (who doesn’t find Idris Elba attractive and oh boy, do I relate to that!). We have whole working-class neighborhoods and we touch upon gentrification more than once. We even have a Polish side character! Granted, he doesn’t say much, but his last name is Jagoda which translates to blueberry and personally? I think that’s perfect for this story.
Most importantly, none of those things (and I still didn’t list everything) feel like an addition made just so that the book is “politically correct” or whatever. Rather – the book acknowledges we live in a diverse world and that it exactly what it tries to portrait.
With the Fire On High is a book that will make you hungry: for food, for good & loyal friends, for a big family, for adventure, for passion, for love. All of it is packed in those four hundred pages, with some cinnamon and beautiful writing sprinkled on top. Truly a summery gem you do not wanna miss out on.
Here are some places where you can purchase the book!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ELIZABETH ACEVEDO is the youngest child and only daughter of Dominican immigrants. She holds a BA in Performing Arts from the George Washington University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland. With over fourteen years of performance poetry experience, Acevedo is a National Poetry Slam Champion, Cave Canem Fellow, CantoMundo Fellow, and participant of the Callaloo Writer’s Workshop. She has two collections of poetry, Beastgirl & Other Origin Myths (YesYes Books, 2016) and winner of the 2016 Berkshire Prize, Medusa Reads La Negra’s Palm (Tupelo Press, forthcoming). The Poet X is her debut novel. She lives with her partner in Washington, DC.
The Blog Tour Dates:
April 22 – Afire Pages | Welcome Post & BTS Look on the Cover Design Process
April 23 – Reading Peaches
April 24 – Shut Up, Shealea | Printable wallpapers/ bookmarks
April 25 – A Book Devourer | “The Life of Emoni; A Comparison”
April 26 – Bookish Wanderess
April 27 – Flipping Through the Pages
April 28 – Utopia State of Mind
April 29 – For the Love of Diversity in Books | Aesthetics + Quote Graphics
April 30 – The Royal Polar Bear Reads | Instagram Photos
May 1 – Endless Chapters | Recipe
May 2 – The Ultimate Fangirl
May 3 – The Wolf & Books
May 4 – Book Lover’s Book Reviews
May 5 – Weekend Reader | Cover Inspired Hairstyle
May 6 – The Writer and The Story | Favorite Quotes
May 7 – Themollyweather
May 8 – >All Things Gene
May 9 – Darque Dreamer Reads
May 10 – Your Tita Kate
May 11 – Afergtale | “Stories Our Abuelas Wouldn’t Tell Today”
May 12 – F A N N A
Yes, you’ve read it right! This blog tour has giveawayS not just a giveaway. Enter below to enter and win a book or a shirt of With the Fire on High! You can enter not just on either but on BOTH giveaways. The giveaways are open internationally until May 22nd.
#1: ENTER TO WIN A COPY OF WITH THE FIRE ON HIGH
#2: ENTER TO WIN A WITH THE FIRE ON HIGH SHIRT
And now this is truly the end.
Do you guys know any other books with such a heavy focus on cooking? Do you enjoy them?
How about books by poets, that aren’t a prose in verse?