With the Fire On High

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Emoni Santiago is starting her senior year of high school and she has some battles to fight.  Some of her battles are inside herself and some of her battles are in the world of her school, her family, her ex-boyfriend and the new guy who wants to be friends.

Emoni loves to cook so when she finds out she can enroll in a culinary arts class at her high school, she takes the risk and signs up for it.  She already has a part-time job at a burger joint to help pay the bills at home.  She already has a toddler, Emma, otherwise known as BabyGirl who is the light of her life.  She already has an ex-boyfriend, Emma's father, who comes in and out of her life.  Now, she has a new guy, Malachi, who walked into the culinary arts class and clearly has his eye on her.

How will Emoni find her way through her senior year with all the college applications, the struggle for money, the decisions about choosing to have another relationship with a guy?   How can she figure out who she is and what she wants to do with her life?

This is a journey through a high school senior year through the eyes and heart of a girl who walked the halls of Schomburg Charter High School pregnant at the age of 14.  This is the journey of a girl who lost her mother when she was born and whose father comes in and out of her life like he's taking commercial breaks.  This is the journey of a girl who is born to cook and who has passed by some of the rituals of being a teenager and taken some giant leaps into who she'll be as a woman.

The story offers occasional glimpses into the prejudice seen in the eyes of others and into the walls and risks that are in front of all of us.  Emoni's strength shines.  A wonderful story about becoming.

400 pages          978-0062662835          Ages 14 and up

Recommended by:  Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com


From the New York Times bestselling author of the National Book Award longlist title The Poet Xcomes a dazzling novel in prose about a girl with talent, pride, and a drive to feed the soul that keeps her fire burning bright.

Ever since she got pregnant freshman year, Emoni Santiago’s life has been about making the tough decisions—doing what has to be done for her daughter and her abuela. The one place she can let all that go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness.

Even though she dreams of working as a chef after she graduates, Emoni knows that it’s not worth her time to pursue the impossible. Yet despite the rules she thinks she has to play by, once Emoni starts cooking, her only choice is to let her talent break free.--from the publisher

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