Emoni is a 17-year-old Afro Boricua with a LOT on her plate. She wants more than anything be a professional chef, to have her own joint where people can come together over the #blackgirlmagic food she cooks. But it’s tough when she doesn’t have parents to support her through college and she has a 2-year-old kid. Being a teen mom? It aint easy. How can she afford her dream when she has a mouth to feed?
Now the name “Acevedo” might sound familiar to you. That’s because Elizabeth Acevedo the awesome Afrolatinx author behind The Poet X. Y’all remember that gorgeous book told in verse that made all of us cry, right? Anyway…. I was REALLY down for With the Fire on High to drop. I loved The Poet X and couldn’t wait to see if Acevedo outdid herself again. There were some things I really loved about this book, but also some I wasn’t vibing with.
THINGS I LOVED
*Emoni has a magical ability to cook food that makes people relive their memories. I thought that was cool because as an Afrolatinx person, I can totally tell you that our food has power: the power to heal, bond, and connect people. I’ve seen it firsthand. And I loved that this book talked about that.
*It was great to see rep for how hard it is to be a young woman, especially Afrolatinx. I loved seeing specific struggles Afrolatinx girls have to deal with and the convos about sex, falling in love, whether college is worth it, just the every day stuff …I loved those too.
*Malachi. Oh my Malachi. He’s Emoni’s love interest and let’s just say… he’s mine too. But I really liked that the story wasn’t all about their romance. Their romance was slow and Malachi’s character added a purpose to the story that wasn’t just romance. He was a really well built character and I liked that.
ALRIGHT, NOW FOR WHAT I DIDN’T VIBE WITH
*Emoni “I’m Not Like Most Girls” Santiago.
Okay, that’s a little harsh, because I do like Emoni, but she totally makes fun of Leslie, a female character who likes to wear a lot of makeup and is super girly. Leslie’s character is annoying, but Emoni makes it seem like she’s annoying because of how girly she is. Leslie is also pretty boy crazy and is a total stereotype of “pretty girls”. Acevedo has been open about being a feminist so it hurt to see her using a feminine character as a villain, while making the non-feminine character a hero.
*Sometimes the writing was gorgeous and really boss, and in others, it was pretty wack. I mean, she used the line “I let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding” THREE TIMES. And then there was the line “I feel like the sunlight sneaking over the hill is also sneaking inside me”. Mad cheesy.
*Rating: Overall, I’d recommend it. It’s a good book and there was a lot I liked about it. But I’m going to give it 3.5 out of 5 stars due to some of the issues I had.
By Jesse E
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