The Dominican-American author and poet's second novel follows a pregnant Afro-Boricua teen as she finds her way.

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June 10, 2019 01:42 PM

Contemporary fiction has evolved into a genre enriched with cultural truths and vibrant storytelling. Authors of color are writing stories about the many facets of identity — how our gender, ethnicities, and socio-economic status affect our ordinary lives. Afro-Dominican author Elizabeth Acevedo presents these themes in her latest novel, With the Fire on High, the story of a young Afro-Boricua navigating teen motherhood in a society that deems teen pregnancy as bad. Of course our heroine surpasses the expectations of others, but it is the journey to success that counts the most. Here are just a few of Acevedo’s most powerful quotes that remind us that despite what others say, we ourselves are capable of conquering the world.

  1.  “And sometimes focusing on what you can control is the only way to lessen the pang in your chest when you think about the things you can’t.”
  2. “My father is Puerto Rican and he’s darker than my mom was, and her whole family is straight-from-the-Carolinas Black. And her hair was just as curly as mine. Not all Black women, or Latinas, look the same.”
  3. “I whisper all the everything I know she can be and the ways I’ll fight for her to be them. I want her to know her entire life her mommy may not have been much but that her moms did everything so that she could be an accumulation of the best dreams.”
  4. “Be good and safe, and oh, Emoni, trust. Okay? Trust. Yourself, mainly, but the world, too. There is magic working in your favor.”
  5. “I think you should write about the one that scares you most. Taking risks and making choices in spite of fear — it’s what makes our life story compelling.”
  6. “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.”
  7. “And the only question I kept asking myself was, ‘Can I do this?’ And I realized there wasn’t going to be a perfect answer, only the right answer for me.”
  8. “And like a map I’ve been following without knowing the exact destination, I know now I’ve been equipping myself with tools from the journey to help me survive when I arrive. Although I don’t have all the answer for what is coming next, I can finally see a glimpse of where I, Emoni Santiago, am going.”
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