Reading guide for With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

With the Fire on High

by Elizabeth Acevedo

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo X
With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    May 2019, 400 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2021, 416 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Catherine M Andronik
Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!

Booktalk. Anyone who tastes Emoni's cooking calls it magic, and it just might be. However, the ingredients she has to work with are challenging: Emoni is a senior in high school with a two-year-old daughter, a part-time job, and no time for new friends or extracurricular activities like culinary class. She works hard to keep her head up and must make difficult decisions every day for her daughter and abuela. But there is a wild dream stirring inside her and the possibility of a lifetime in front of her. Will Emoni play it safe? Or will she take a leap of faith and make her dreams of becoming a professional chef come true?

Duende. Describe Emoni's relationship with cooking. In what ways is Emoni "full of duende. Of inspiration and passion" (p. 346)? How does the way Emoni is feeling affect her food? How does the author describe Emoni's cooking and its effect on people? Do you think Emoni's food is magical?

Home. How does Emoni describe Philadelphia throughout the book? Where is home for you? What makes it home? On the last day of the trip to Spain, Emoni says "Maybe that's the point of a trip like this; you start the process of learning and then you carry it with you back home" (p. 341). In what ways does being in Spain make Emoni feel more "free" to say, think, and do what she hasn't felt able to do at home? What does Emoni learn about herself in Spain that she brings back home with her?

Chosen Family. When reflecting about family, Emoni says, "People say that you're stuck with the family you're born into ... But we all make choices about people. Who we want to hold close, who we want to remain in our lives, and who we are just fine without" (p. 60). Who are the people that Emoni chooses as family? What makes her choose them? Who are the people you choose as your family? What makes you choose them?

Motherhood. Early on, Emoni characterizes Babygirl as "front and center, the candlelight we read the world by" (p. 53). Who is the "we" that Emoni describes? How does Emoni feel about being Babygirl's mom? In what ways does Emoni put her daughter "front and center"? What are the difficult relationships that Emoni has to navigate because of her daughter?

Limitations and Possibilities. What are some of the things that limit Emoni's ability to live the life she wants and to pursue her dreams? How are these limitations connected to race, class, and gender? What "leaps of faith" does Emoni take in order to create more possibilities for herself? What are the resources and people that support and encourage her to take those leaps? What are your dreams? Do they feel possible? Why or why not?

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Quill Tree Books. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Code Breaker
    The Code Breaker
    by Walter Isaacson
    What makes humans human? It's a mystery that has inspired philosophers and driven scientific ...
  • Book Jacket: Genesis
    Genesis
    by Guido Tonelli
    Popular science books represent an important niche in non-fiction. They build a bridge between ...
  • Book Jacket: Buses Are a Comin'
    Buses Are a Comin'
    by Charles Person, Richard Rooker
    Charles Person was just 18 years old in 1961 when he became the youngest of the first wave of '...
  • Book Jacket: Firekeeper's Daughter
    Firekeeper's Daughter
    by Angeline Boulley
    Angeline Boulley's young adult novel Firekeeper's Daughter follows 18-year-old Daunis — ...

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Girl in His Shadow
by Audrey Blake
The story of one woman who believed in scientific medicine before the world believed in her.

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Ariadne
    by Jennifer Saint

    A mesmerizing debut novel about Ariadne, Princess of Crete for fans of Madeline Miller's Circe.

  • Book Jacket

    Crossing the River
    by Carol Smith

    A powerful exploration of grief that combines memoir, reportage, and lessons in how to heal.

Who Said...

It is among the commonplaces of education that we often first cut off the living root and then try to replace its ...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

A S I T closet

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.