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Pick of the Month

Bookcover: With the Fire on High

With the Fire on High

By Elizabeth Acevedo
400 PAGES
grades 9+

“I've had a lot of things to feel ashamed about and I've learned most of them are other people's problems, not mine.”
Emoni Santiago has magic in her fingers, at least that’s what ‘Buela says when it comes to her cooking.  Emoni is an African-Puerto Rican high school senior who also happens to be a teen mom.  For her cooking is her safe place, her way to escape:
“Some days, when my feelings are like this, like a full pot of water with the fire on high, I don’t know what to cook. Plans and ideas escape my mind and instead I let my heart and hands take control…”
There’s a lot going on in Emoni’s life, Abuela wants her to go to college, Malachi wants something she isn’t sure she can or should give him and Babygirl just wants Emoni. She’s working at the burger joint and finishing up high school but what Emoni really wants is to use her gift and her love of cooking to make a better life for her and Babygirl.
When Emoni’s school opens a culinary class she has to decide – can she follow the rules and still keep the magic that’s within her?  Can Emoni be the chef she’s always wanted to be or is this a challenge she will have to sit out?
“The world is a turntable that never stops spinning; as humans we merely choose the tracks we want to sit out and the ones that inspire us to dance"
Check out other great booklists and the past Teen Pick of the Month selections.

Teens Read Pick of the Month