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With the Fire on High: From the winner of the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2019
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With the Fire on High: From the winner of the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2019 (Paperback)

Usually despatched within 2 days.


'A delicious, evocative story' THE GUARDIAN

From the author of THE POET X comes a sumptuous prose novel, perfect for fans of Angie Thomas' On the Come Up, Justin Reynolds' Opposite of Always and Nicola Yoon

Ever since she got pregnant, seventeen-year-old Emoni's life has been about making the tough decisions - doing what has to be done for her young daughter and her grandmother. Keeping her head down at school, trying not to get caught up with new boy Malachi. The one place she can let everything go is in the kitchen, where she has magical hands - whipping up extraordinary food beloved by everyone.

Emoni wants to be a chef more than anything, but she knows it's pointless to pursue the impossible. There are rules she has to play by. And yet, once she starts cooking, and gets that fire on high, she sees that her drive to feed will feed her soul and dreams too. And anything is possible.

'With its judicious depth and brilliant blazes of writing that simmer, then nourish, With the Fire on High is literary soul food' New York Times

Children'sFiction & true storiesGeneral fictionChildren'sGeneral non-fictionPractical interestsCooking & foodChildren'sPersonal & social issuesFamily issuesTeenage pregnancy Publisher: Hot Key Books Publication Date: 19/09/2019 ISBN-13: 9781471409004  Details: Type: Paperback Format: Books
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Elizabeth Acevedo is the New York Times bestselling and 2019 Carnegie Medal winning author of THE POET X. She is also the winner of the 2018 National Book Award for Young People's Literature, The Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Fiction, the Boston Globe-Hornbook Award Prize for Best Children's Fiction and the Pura Belpre Award for a work that best affirms the Latinx cultural experience. She holds a BA in Performing Arts from The George Washington University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland. Acevedo has been a fellow of Cave Canem, Cantomundo, and a participant in the Callaloo Writer's Workshops. She is a National Poetry Slam Champion and resides in Washington, DC with her partner.

More books by Elizabeth Acevedo

Customer Reviews

Emoni is a 17 year old mother to a toddler in Philadelphia. With her baby to care for, bills to pay and Senior year to pass, she doesn't have a minute or a dollar to spare. However, her real passion comes out when she cooks – she has a natural talent for pairing unusual flavours, and leaving people emotionally touched by her food. When an opportunity to take a culinary arts class comes along, it feels impossible. But Emoni carries a quiet strength that will help her to push the boundaries of what she thinks is possible, and with courage, who knows how far she may go? With The Fire On High is a beautifully paced story, following a remarkable young woman's difficult but rewarding journey towards adulthood. Emoni hasn't started off on an easy path; she was never handed the world on a platter. On the contrary, she is in many ways struggling just to make it through her teen years alive and as unscathed as possible, which is not as easy as it seems when you have a toddler, and only your grandma to rely on in all the world. Emoni's emotional maturity and resolve to be responsible for her family are highly inspiring. She doesn't balk at the social challenges of teenage motherhood, instead standing tall against the titters and the cruel whispers, reminding herself that she is strong and capable. I think we could all use that reminder sometimes, that most of the time when people are cruel to you it's their issue, not yours. I always enjoy a little 'everyday magic' in fiction, and this book was no exception. Emoni's gift with food was a very fun addition to this story, and I think that Acevedo played it just right, giving her magic real credence without overdoing it and sliding into fantasy. Many people have small and simple gifts that we may never really understand, but they are special and worth acknowledging. Something I absolutely adore about this book is the warm and happy feeling it carries almost all the way through. We are all used to dramatic fiction following the same patterns, which leads to a giant crux moment of disaster, where it feels like everything has gone wrong and there is no going back. I find that story pattern exhausting if I'm completely honest, and I was wonderfully surprised to find that this book is different. There are a lot of moments in Emoni's story when things don't go right and when she feels she is at the end of her tether, but it carries on, it flows, and we are not at any point left gasping and stressed to pieces, wondering how things can be fixed. I find this to be a much more natural flow for this type of story – after all, we are supposedly reading a snippet from the middle of someone's life, which is never a neatly plotted, 'A to B to C then finished' pattern. We all go through multiple ups and downs all at the same time, and rarely do we face those world-stopping moments, followed by a quick tidy up and some nice closure. I truly enjoyed the pace and pattern of this book, and would love to read more books that make me feel the way this one did. My only criticism of this lovely book is that although the pacing was fantastic, the chapters themselves were a little too short even for me, and I love short chapters. Many of them were a page and a half or two pages long, and that began to make the text feel a little choppy. I wouldn't have minded short chapters in this story, but I think maybe twice as long would have been better for my taste. With The Fire On High is a beautifully developed, emotionally perceptive and soul warming story of a teenage woman's struggle for wholeness. Emoni's path is riddled with pain and fear and difficulty, but her story shows the beauty that can be found in the rockiest of places, and the value of the simple things in life like love, good food, and above all, family.

- 17/12/2019
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