Leah's Reviews > With the Fire on High

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
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it was amazing
bookshelves: read-women-2019, litsyatoz-2019

A heartwarming story with a positive message. Empowerment with a capital E.

It's refreshing to read a contemporary story, with hints of magical realism, starring a Black teen mom doing what she needed to do to make a good life for her daughter - a daughter she didn't view as a burden; a daughter who she adored and loved - AND living true to her dreams and goals all while going through the struggle of new motherhood within low income limitations. WITH the support of the grandmother who raised her; a grandmother who makes it clear Emoni is the mother and Emoni is raising Emma - 'Buela is there to help, not do the job. WITH the support of a best friend who is a true friend. And Emoni is a true friend to her. And with the opportunity to date a solid, trustworthy young man, if SHE chooses to.

I LOVED how Acevedo shows teen moms aren't on a one-way trip to ruin. Many people view teen pregnancy as the end of the young mother's life, the death of her goals and dreams. When, really, it's only a detour, and sometimes you can discover some amazing things when you're forced to take a different route. (Granted, there are many teen moms who don't have the support and opportunities Emoni has in this story. But that's a whole other story.) I LOVED how Acevedo shows Emoni thinking outside the box to reach her end goal. She doesn't do what everyone tells her she "should" do; she does what she thinks best for her and Emma, what she feels in her gut is the best way forward on her journey.

Highly recommended.

(I wish I could've handed this to my friends who were teen moms when we were in high school. They weren't like the melodramatic narcissists you see on TV. They were just young women doing their best by their kids and themselves. Despite guidance counselors telling them they'd never amount to anything "now" and wanting to quarantine them from the rest of the school... like they were contagious. They didn't all rise to the challenge, of course, but two did, and I wonder what the others could've achieved if they'd had less judgement and more support.)
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Reading Progress

August 3, 2019 – Started Reading
August 3, 2019 – Shelved
August 3, 2019 – Finished Reading
September 2, 2019 – Shelved as: read-women-2019
October 17, 2019 – Shelved as: litsyatoz-2019

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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Olivia-Savannah After the Poet X and this shining review, I cannot wait to read this one all the more!

message 2: by Leah (last edited Aug 11, 2019 09:14PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Leah Olivia-Savannah wrote: "After the Poet X and this shining review, I cannot wait to read this one all the more!"

I hope you enjoy it!

Even though it's been over a week, I keep thinking about Emoni and her story, how different it is in that, while Acevedo shines a light on teen pregnancy, the story's more about Emoni striving for her dream job/career, figuring out what (if anything) she's looking for in a romantic partner, and realizing she doesn't have to sacrifice everything on the alter of motherhood; she can be a woman, student, friend, chef AND a good mom.

I don't know how to fully articulate the feeling I'm left with... just a really comforting, inspiring breath of fresh air in the YA / coming-of-age genre.

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