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.
This is the first book I have read from Acevedo, I have not read Poet X yet, but after reading With the Fire on High, I know why everyone is always speaking about how great Acevedo is. I loved everything about this book; the food, characters, and relationships. Emoni plays a strong young woman who wants to become a chef and create a great future for her daughter and herself. I love how Emoni stayed true to herself and how her character developed in the book. Emoni as a protagonist is the best! She is inspiring and real. She pushes herself to her very best and creates beautiful relationships with other characters. Emoni knew that she is doing everything for the future of her daughter and she wanted no distractions, especially the new kid in school. Her passion is cooking and being able to become a world-renowned chef like many of her idols.
One relationship that goes true to my heart is Emoni and Abuela’s bond, it is so beautiful! Just like her, I was raised by my Abuela, so I connected with their relationship straight away. I love how Abuela was there guiding Emoni and helping her with her daughter. In times, like this, it is great to have a support system because a lot of young teen mothers do not have the support and sink down. Abuela also kept it real and tells it like it is; she would not sugar coat anything to Emoni because life is life, but I love how she pushed Emoni when she was scared to move forward or felt that she wasn’t worthy. Abuela also let Emoni make mistakes and have her learn from it on her own and that is one of the best things that can happen because Abuela was there to pick up the pieces and let her know what is real. Abuela is Emoni’s cheerleader throughout the book and I LOVE it!
Acevedo touches upon many things in her book; living paycheck-to-paycheck, being a teen mom, different kinds of family structures and many more. This is what many people go through and I am glad she put it in her book. I love that the setting is in Philadelphia. I have to say
Also, can we talk about the food in the book! I was salivating and wishing the food would appear before my eyes because everything sounded amazing. It’s great that the book added some recipes as well! This book was all around heartfelt and inspiring! So beautiful! Made my heart whole!