This is the highly anticipated second novel by Angie Thomas, the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling, award-winning The Hate U Give.
On the Come Up by Angie Thomas – Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Bri’s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri’s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it—she has to make it.
Video Review: On the Come Up
On the Come Up is Angie Thomas’s homage to hip-hop, the art that sparked her passion for storytelling and continues to inspire her to this day. It is the story of fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you; of the struggle to become who you are and not who everyone expects you to be; and of the desperate realities of poor and working-class black families.
From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up–Aspiring rapper Bri records “On the Come Up” to protest the racial profiling and assault she endured at the hands of white security guards at her high school. The song goes viral, and Bri seizes the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of her late father and lift her family out of poverty, but her loved ones worry, especially when some listeners paint her as an angry black girl inciting violence. Tension mounts as Bri’s mother loses her job, Bri’s relationship with her beloved aunt and musical mentor splinters, and a new manager dangles the prospect of fame and wealth—at a price. Set in the same neighborhood as Thomas’s electrifying The Hate U Give, this visceral novel makes cogent observations about the cycle of poverty and the inescapable effects of systemic racism. Though the book never sands over the rough realities of Garden Heights, such as gang warfare, it imbues its many characters with warmth and depth. While acknowledging that society is quick to slap labels onto black teens, the author allows her heroine to stumble and fall before finding her footing and her voice. VERDICT Thomas once again fearlessly speaks truth to power; a compelling coming-of-age story for all teens.—Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal
★ “This follow-up to Thomas’ landmark The Hate U Give, set in the same fictional city after the events of that book, demonstrates again Thomas’ gift for crackling dialogue, complex characterization, and impactful emotion. Readers already lining up for this title won’t be disappointed.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review))
★ “While acknowledging that society is quick to slap labels onto black teens, the author allows her heroine to stumble and fall before finding her footing and her voice. Thomas once again fearlessly speaks truth to power; a compelling coming-of-age story for all teens.” (School Library Journal (starred review))
★ “On the Come Up truly shines in its exploration of Bri’s resilience, determination, and pursuit of her dreams. In this splendid novel, showing many facets of the black identity and the black experience, Thomas gives readers another dynamic protagonist to root for.” (ALA Booklist (starred review))
★ “This honest and unflinching story of toil, tears, and triumph is a musical love letter that proves literary lightning does indeed strike twice. The rawness of Bri’s narrative demonstrates Thomas’ undeniable storytelling prowess. A joyous experience awaits. Read it. Learn it. Love it.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
★ “With sharp, even piercing, characterization, this indelible and intricate story of a young girl who is brilliant and sometimes reckless, who is deeply loved and rightfully angry at a world that reduces her to less than her big dreams call her to be, provides many pathways for readers.” (Horn Book (starred review))
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Originally published: 5 February 2019
Genres: Fiction, Bildungsroman