With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
First line: Babygirl doesn’t even cry when I suck my teeth and undo her braid for the fourth time.
Last line: With love & a sprinkling of cinnamon, always, E
Keywords: YA, cooking, a little bit of magic, high school, a new boy, family, best friends
I’ve read other YA books about teenagers reacting to unexpected pregnancies, but in With the Fire on High, Emoni’s baby girl, Emma, is already old enough to go to school (preschool I think?). Being Emma’s mom has been a part of Emoni’s life for a few years now. I think this is the first YA book I’ve read about a high school mom who is already in the rhythms of being a parent. Another part of the story is Emoni dealing with her mother-in-law and Emma’s dad, who are in the picture and take care of Emma on the weekends. That is also something I haven’t seen in YA before. Both were really cool to read about.
And then there was Emoni’s unique sense with food. But that’s all I’m going to say there.
The following is part of Elizabeth Acevedo’s acknowledgeme1nts section at the end of the book. I wanted to include it because I thought it was as well written as the book itself:
To my beloved, Shakir, here’s an ode to Philly haircuts, traveling the world, and the only adage that matters: if I eat, you eat. Thanks for never letting me doubt myself, for reading everything I write, and for reminding me to celebrate even the most simple Tuesday. I love you.
Ancestors: always. Gang, gang. Who would I be if you were not? What are my stories if not but a continuation of the threads you unspooled? What do I owe you if not everything? And yet, you remind me time and again I owe you nothing but this honest, brave, full self.
Their Life’s Work: The Brotherhood of the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers, Then and Now by Gary M. Pomerantz
First line: Because we see sports dynasties through the prism of stopped time, the players never grow old.
Last line: Now they live with it.
Keywords: narrative non-fiction, football, underdogs, Pittsburgh, winning, after effects
I haven’t read a sports non-fiction book in a long time, and then Their Life’s Work reminded me why that genre of books is what got me into non-fiction in the first place. I think it has something to do with how sports as a whole is really good at being a backdrop for almost unbelievable stories with almost unbelieveable characters. Then when an author is able to get enough details to make those stories and characters become real and not just facts and names on a page, non-fiction becomes just as fascinating as fiction. Gary M. Pomerantz definitely did that.
I really like how this book and its goal was different from other narrative non-fiction books I’ve read. Their Life’s Work wasn’t only about the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers and their amazing team (which I previously knew nothing about). It was also about what happened to that team when those football players grew older and the effects football had on their bodies and lives.
Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson
First line: You’ve probably seend this scene before: Ladies in black church dresses, old men in gray suits, and hood kids in white tees with some blury picture printed on the front under the spray-painted letters RIP.
Last line: When you hear me everywhere!
Keywords: YA, Brooklyn 1998, hip hop, best friends, siblings, an unsolved murder
I didn’t know anything about this book until I was alerted to its presence by Elizabeth at RedGalMusings, so thank you, Elizabeth 🙂. The cover caught my attention (how cool are those colorful designs??), so I looked it up on Goodreads. That’s when I saw it had it had a solid four point something rating on, so I was like, done deal. This is the second book I’ve read this year that had signing with a label as a crucial part of the story and rap lyrics throughout. (The first being On the Come Up, which was also so good.) I’m hoping that isn’t just a two time thing.
What good books have you read recently?
What are your thoughts on non-fiction books?
Do you read the acknolwedgements?
What are you reading right now?
P.P.S. If you’re reading this post on the day comes out (7/11), 7/11 the gas station is giving away free slushies!