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.
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.
I really loved The Hate U Give, it was one of my favourite books of last year. I was really excited to read On The Come Up, and even though I didn’t quite devour it like I did with THUG, I did enjoy it!
On the Come Up has so much heart, Bri, the main character was such a fresh and relatable, although there were a lot of times were I wanted to give her a good shake. Her best friends were a great addition to the plot and the characters, having Bri surrounded mainly by male characters worked really well. The pop culture references made for some fun humour. Bri’s raps were on point and I cheered her on every time, even though I’m not a huge fan of rap and hip hop music. I loved her knowledge of hip hop and the music she listened to.
The family dynamic in the story was really admirable, how they all stuck together, and how Bri wanted to make it as a rapper to support her family who were struggling with bills. And the way she cared for her aunt who anyone else most likely would have given up on. I also really like how Bri referenced her late father, who in a lot of ways was her inspiration and motivation for her rapping goals, but she knew that she needed her own identity within the industry and didn’t want to rely on his name.
Like with The Hate You Give, the book has a very important message, quite of them honestly. A young female who dreams of becoming rapper, and all the work that comes with making it in that industry, especially being young and a girl. It also features the many different social aspects that come with making change. Racial stereotypes and issues are a big thing, I honestly can’t overly relate to these topics properly, but I feel like Angie writes these incredibly well, her books are always so eye opening for me, someone who is not from anywhere close to where her books are set.
I really like the ending, that it wasn’t perfectly wrapped in a bow and that everything didn’t work out exactly perfectly, it was a fresh read for me and I did enjoy, even if it did take me a while to read through!