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Sixteen year old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time Or at least win her first battle As the daughter of an underground hip hop legend who died right before he hit big Bri’s got massive shoes to fillBut it’s hard to get your come up when you’re labeled a hoodlum at school and your fridge at home is empty after your mom loses her job So Bri pours her anger and frustration into her first song which goes viral for all the wrong reasonsBri soon finds herself at the center of a controversy portrayed by the media as menace than MC But with an eviction notice staring her family down Bri doesn’t just want to make it—she has to Even if it means becoming the very thing the public has made her out to be Insightful unflinching and full of heart On the Come Up is an ode to hip hop from one of the most influential literary voices of a generation It is the story of fighting for your dreams even as the odds are stacked against you; and about how especially for young black people freedom of speech isn’t always free harpercollinsca


10 thoughts on “On the Come Up

  1. says:

    It’s Angie Thomas’ world and she’s just allowing us to live in itYou know when you finish reading a book and there's a moment that feels so remarkable it carves out a space in time and whirls there while the world rushes on around it? In that gap where your real storyline seems very abstract and you're left with such a warm and happy feeling that you're glowing just by being around the book's energy?That was me upon finishing this book I'm still overwhelmed by the zing of feeling in my heart and I think reading Angie Thomas' books should be honestly classified as an official human emotion So what’s this book about? 16 year old Brianna “Bri” Jackson has channeled all her yearning into one fervent dream to reach rap stardom She believes in it with as much certainty as a heart can holdBri’s memory of her late father—a legendary underground rapper who was shot dead by a rival gang when Bri was 12 years old—has always been like shadows flitting at the corner of her eye but Bri’s dream always brought his ghost to stand beside her Bri held that hope in a desperate grip as her widowed mother a drug addict eight years clean ekes out a living on a church secretary salary and her older brother drudges in a minimum wage job after years of toil for his college degree It’s what sustained Bri through the phases of dark until the return to light A career in rap could turn the tide of her family’s life There would be no gray sift of days where they had to choose between electricity and gas no diligent waiting for the dreary future to trickle forthBri is also one of the few black students who attend an arts school Following an incident where she is violently targeted by a security guard determination burns out Bri’s gathering hurt and lyrics burns bright as tinder in her mind illuminating the dark corners Bri speaks of her growing frustration with being discriminated against for being black of her incontinent ambition of her family’s grinding financial situation and how her chest is weary from carrying all this repeated hope and disappointment and the words expanded until they blotted out all elseBri's song soon goes viral and it was like flying into a tornado The public wrings out real meaning from her lyrics and assigns it their own They brand Bri a dangerous angry black girl and a “hoodlum”—a word like a wall and Bri runs against it and can go no further Bri’s disgrace is encouragement lowering her enough that everyone dares to reach up including her father’s sleazy old manager who insists Bri caters to the false image they painted of her in order to make money “You know what white kids in the suburbs love? Listening to shit that scares their parents” he tells her “You scare the hell outta their folks they’ll flock to you like birds”But Bri's strength and resolution run deep The trek is arduous but the world's wonders are unrolled like a rug before her and the future is hers for the taking Gift One word one syllable I don’t know if it rhymes with anything because it’s a word I never thought could be used when it comes to me Don’t let the charming exterior dupe you—step into this book and it will step into youOn the Come Up is the kind of story that drags you down so deep that you’re underneath thought engulfed in a place of pure feeling It’s a powerful tale—by turns tender and attentive unyielding and sharp It made me laugh It made me crushingly sad It made me feel like something was growing inside me like the words were sinking into me and expanding in my chest and it all wanted to spill out in waves of music and silver lightAngie Thomas rolls up her sleeves and tackles Bri’s story with heady mirth On the Come Up glitters with life and its conversational yet profound tone is warm and magnetic when it isn't uietly devastating and raw as a woundThere’s a prodigious sense of hard spare wanting in this book that fairly leaps off the page Bri’s passion is a welter of flame Just as she is unstoppable and relentless for the ones she loves she embodies that with her love for rap She spoke her dream and promptly sealed into the world and woe betide anyone who stands in her way Her lyrics dug at my bones and made chills shiver across my skin I absolutely loved Bri’s character Angie keeps her struggles energized and absorbing that you can almost feel it in your blood as well that iron weight Bri had borne so long that certain recklessness of temper nourished by the rough world in which she found herself which had burst thrillingly to steely determination It was eually harrowing and thrilling to know that Bri was standing at the precipice of something new and it felt like a gift and a privilege to embark with her on this sublime campaign of life perfecting “So who are you?” “What?” “Who are you?” she repeats “Of the millions and billions of people in the world you’re the only person who can answer that Not people online or at your school I can’t even answer that I can say who I think you are” She cups my cheek “And I think you’re brilliant talented courageous beautiful You’re my miracle But you’re the only one who can say who you are with authority So who are you?” But even than that the novel's strength lies in how it succeeds in being both a delightful romp through teenagedom packed with charisma firecracker dialogue and well crafted characters while also being a bold and illuminating commentary on racism prejudice double standards and homophobia It’s a difficult feat that marks Angie Thomas as a remarkable author to keep your eyes on On the Come up is set in the same universe as The Hate U Give and the memory of THUG’s tragic events are emblazoned on this book’s pages Although Starr’s and Bri’s lives could not be any disparate the book highlights how discrimination and racism touches them with the same hand and how it is a constant feature in the lives of the American black community no matter what their socio economic standing is I'm excited to see the conversations this book evokesBut On the Come Up isn’t all grim The novel loosens the chokehold of anger and frustration on the reader’s soul by making space for moments of comfort and vicarious happiness It’s imbued with hope like a small mad flame flaring in a dark place as the characters learn to lift their arms to hold up their world I loved Bri’s friendship with Sonny and Malik and how despite the occasional uarrel and misunderstanding they were always supportive of each other The current of love and hurt and dwindling resentments flowing between Bri and her family also struck me with a deep poignancyBut what sang to me the most is the message that’s wedged deep inside the novel’s heart Your voice matters You don’t have to bend in order to fit the world’s mold You don’t have to omit pieces of yourself to ensure someone else’s comfort You don’t have to stifle your opinion You don’t have to back pedal and soften it up to cater to someone else’s measure Be wonderfully passionate about what’s right You will draw hatred and animosity no matter what you do so you might as well make a stand and make it count for something You’ll never silence me and you’ll never kill my dream Just recognize when you say brilliant that you’re also saying Bri On the Come Up is eual parts heartrending insightful and charming and as long as Angie Thomas continues to work her marvelous magic she’ll always have a reader in me☆ ko fi ★ blog ☆ twitter ★ tumblr ☆


  2. says:

    Aunt Pooh said I only get one chance to let everybody and their momma know who I am So I take it How do you follow a book like The Hate U Give? Reading THUG I got the impression that I was experiencing something momentous It was breathtaking Important I was witnessing a person using their art to say loud and clear “ENOUGH” On the Come Up looks at some of the same things but it is a different kind of book I think however it is a book which shows that Thomas is a great writer not just someone who can ride the wave of an important issueOverall people will probably like this book less than the author's debut I've already seen some understandable comments about how Bri was a tough character to like compared with Starr And it's true Starr is a much easier character to like She's a clear victim of a screwed up system; clearly in the right for the whole book She has very basic easy to relate to relationships with her parents and friends and we are never asked to sympathize with hard to like characters Bri is much complexFor me though she was a far interesting character than Starr Her story may not make uite the same impact being largely about hip hop rather than police shootings but she herself felt like such an authentic teen voice She's angry resentful impulsive and outright rude at times She gets into fights and doesn't play nice She has a difficult relationship with pretty much everyone in the book She pushes her family and supporters away but believes she is doing it to get “on the come up” for them She considers giving up important parts of herself for a shot at fame and fortuneI can see why some people won't like her but I actually kinda loved herI felt every bit of her pain and anger as she watches her family scrape together to try to pay the bills watches her aunt buried deep in the world of drug dealing watches security at her school targeting black and Latinx students for searches watches male rappers make sexist jokes or erase her name and voice because she is a girl And I loved how she turns to hip hop to make sense of her feelings finding rhymes in her everyday life and spinning clever verses in her headAs someone who finds books about music a bit hit and miss I have to say this one was a definite hit I would have welcomed even rap You can tell the author used to be a rapper because Bri's songs are genuinely very good I'd love to hear them recorded I also love how she addresses sexism and double standards in the hip hop industry and points out the ludicrous hypocrisy of a white journalist who is against gun controls fearing for her children because of the guns mentioned in rap lyrics I think this is a great contemporary A mix of music family dynamics fun dialogue social media and activism with a protagonist who is moody and difficult and everything I love to read about I can't wait to see what Thomas writes nextBlog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube


  3. says:

    You'll never silence me and you'll never kill my dreamJust recognize when you say brilliant that you're also saying BriFirst of all HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY and second of all THIS BOOK IS GONNA BE A FILM YOU GUYS What a birthday present am I right?Spoiler freeThis is the 2019 release I was most scared to read THUG was such a major ground breaking and emotional book for me that the stakes for Angie’s second books were mile high Now I can assure you that there is no need to worry Angie will not disappoint This book is just as essential and spectacularI don’t think I have ever read a book this black I can’t think of a single white main or side character just now And I know this is going to bother people Just like they are bothered when there is than one gay character on a show White people have been the centre of YA and the majority of other literary genres for decades It is time that popular culture makes room for books that represent and celebrate all kinds of cultures as a whole This will not only help all kinds of teenagers feel represented but it will also help us understand each other it will create empathy respect and appreciation I’m not black I didn’t grow up in a poor part of town where drugs and gangs shaped society I have never been discriminated against because my heritage or skin colour led others to think less of me But this book brought me closer to not only understand the struggles of what a life like Bri’s includes but also how important loyalty family friendship faith etc are for a teenager like herThat’s not all though Angie addresses a lot of topics that deal with respecting other people’s backgrounds and stories She does not pretend to know what is going on in a gay teenagers head but she still manages to tell his story with dignity and tact She outright acknowledges that a gay boy’s story is not hers to tell because she has not made the same experiences as a presumably straight woman I would love to see of that in the literature community overall not just in YALet’s talk about Bri while we’re at it That girl is talented lemme tell you I love her family and friends but I often had a hard time connecting with Bri on an emotional level She likes to jump to conclusions and often acts without thinking about the conseuences Even when people tell her to watch out and lay low because whatever she might say or do will put her in a difficult position she still doesn’t stop to think She keeps making that mistake over and over again and I uickly ran out of patience Then again she was hilarious and smart and often made me laugh out loudThe writing was great as always Reading Angie’s books makes you feel things The lyrics to Bri’s songs gave me goosebumps every single time The dialogues between the characters were ultimately funny So Much ShadeThere are also a few Easter eggs in there I am sure that I missed some of them and all I am going to say is that I love seeing authors referencing other authors and their books Or to see them being inspired by other author’s storiesThe reason I’m “only” giving this book 4 stars instead of 5 is because of as I have mentioned before the lack of a deeper emotional connection I seriously wept while reading THUG That book destroyed me On the Come Up did not have that effect on me But as I said do not let this keep you from reading the book It is just as compelling as Angie’s debutI wonder whether we will get to see On the Come Up on the big screen I would love to actually hear Bri perform her songs They might become actual chart toppers who knows Thank you to Walker Books for providing me with an advance copy in return for an honest reviewFind of my books on Instagram


  4. says:

    45🌟This book was pretty fuckin phenomenal I wasn't sure how THUG could be topped but Angie Thomas did thatI fell in love with this story with Brianna her friends and family and her love for music All those aspects were pretty much nailed and I couldn't get enough once I started reading I'm really liking how Angie Thomas incorporates themes regarding social justice in her stories in order for us to get to know how some black communities are living and opening our eyes to it all It's raw and real and spoken about so well and I want So much I can't wait to see what she comes up with next Auto buy author for sureAlso this is going to become a movie? Lord it's gonna be good It's haaappening Buddy reading with my babygirl Türkan I cannot WAIT for this Cover love Blurb obsessed Angie Thomas is so deserving of the success she's been getting for THUG Gimme 😍


  5. says:

    Oh my oh my oh my This was INTENSE I have no doubt a movie will be produced Otherwise BIG MISTAKE because this is something the world needs and I just really want to see a teen movie with a rap battle romance family drama diverse characters fierce social involvement Because YES


  6. says:

    rtc in may wrap up


  7. says:

    ANGIE THOMASI am so in love with your wordsThis story follows Bri Jackson who like Starr from The Hate U Give lives in the Garden Heights neighborhood That is pretty much where the similarities end however between these two girlsBri lives with her mother and her older brother Her father a once successful rapper was gunned down in the streets a victim of gang violence Bri's mother a recovering addict with over 5 years sobriety is doing her best to provide for her children alone but it's toughBri has plans to follow in her father's footsteps and she wants to do it her own way No matter how hard she strives however she struggles to find her identity apart from him She is super talented and spends most of her time thinking up rhymes and putting together lyrics She is singularly focused on finding success in order to better the living conditions of herself and her family To make them 'good'Bri is a great kid although she has a short fuse She puts a lot of pressure on herself and I enjoyed getting some insight into her thought process and how she sees the world around her There is always something that seems to be going wrong in her world It's tough Troubles at school troubles with bills being behind in rent and she feels compelled to do something to make it differentI loved this story The incorporation of Bri's lyrics gave the story such depth I loved that angle seeing her try to make it and channel her talents for good Learning to stand her ground and be true to herself I love stories with music or musicians as well and this one utilized that trope beautifullyI have read some reviews where readers commented on not enjoying this story as much as THUG That doesn't surprise me at all but for me I sort of feel the opposite I think I actually enjoyed this one While Bri as a character may seem contentious to me she was perfectAs a 16 year old many aspects of your life can be extremely frustrating You can feel like you aren't being heard like your desires are pushed aside or seen as not important and that may cause you to act out in socially unacceptable ways I get that Bri was struggling with some heavy shit and she let it get the best of her sometimes but that happens when you are a kidI liked how this book focused on a variety of hard hitting issues that can often be brushed over or ignored The reality of living in poverty is something that millions of Americans and people around the world deal with on a daily basis and while it isn't pretty it is important to shine light on and discussExamples the fact that Bri's mom was a recovering addict The fact of the limits that places on her options to provide for her family The way Bri and other black and brown kids were treated at her school The lifestyle Bri's aunt lives and how that affects her entire family Bri's brother's options for a job after college All of these are difficult issues I appreciated how much substance Thomas put into this This was far from a one issue story This was the whole cake and I was eating every biteI can see why this format may not sit well with everyone It punches the whole way through but it is an exceptionally told story Thomas is a true wordsmith Her writing leaps off the page with realnessis that a word? Realness? You know what I'm saying As you can tell I loved this I want everyone to read it and seriously I am on the EDGE of my seat until Angie Thomas puts out another book I am really hoping for another story set in Garden Heights


  8. says:

    While I didn't enjoy the plot of this one uite as much as I enjoyed the plot of the Hate U Give this book was still soOoOoOoOo GOOD Angie Thomas' writing perfectly fits the YA genre and we are truly blessed to be living in the same lifetime as her SO DAMN GOODTW racism drug dealing gun violence


  9. says:

    Going to keep this review short because everyone and their rap loving aunt is going to read and review this book And cutting right to the chase because everyone wants to know how On the Come Up measures up to The Hate U Give so let me be straight They're different books THUG is about a girl a victim being shuffled along by something much bigger than her a socio political movement hundreds of years in the making Starr Carter is a uiet girl a good girl who tries to keep to herself and waits until pretty late in the game to find her voice That's not Bri She's anything but uiet This is her story Action is driven not by exterior forces but by the choices she makes On the Come Up is an intimate interpersonal tight narrative focused on one girl and the conseuences of her actions in pursuit of her dream Bri is flawed driven relatable Her story is inner city life hip hop self discovery and self image rolled into one THUG is about external conflict OTCU is about internal conflict They're different books but they're both written by a gifted author who boldly explores themes of systemic racism racial ineuality social injustice and gang violence and who excels at crafting authentic voice and believable characters Milez glares at me as he raps Something about how much money he has how many girls like him his clothes his jewelry the ganster life he's living Repetitive Stale Prewritten I gotta go for the kill Here I am going at him as if I don't have any manners Manners A lot of words rhyme with that if I deliver them right Cameras Rappers Pamper Hammer MC Hammer Vanilla Ice Hip hop heads consider them pop stars not real rappers I can compare him to them I gotta get my signature line in there you can only spell brilliant with Bri Aunt Pooh once pointed that out right before teasing me about being such a perfectionist Milez lowers the mic There are a couple of cheers Supreme claps yet his face is hard Okay I see you Milez Hype says Bri you better bring the heat The instrumental starts up again Aunt Pooh said I only get one chance to let everybody and their momma know who I am So I take it


  10. says:

    I’m going to be bold about this and say that I loved this than THUG Angie Thomas had a hard act to follow but this was spot on in every possible way