I recently had the pleasure of listening to the audiobook of On the Come Up by Angie Thomas.
She’s the same author who broke our collective hearts with The Hate U Give (THUG, for short). Thomas struck lightning with THUG.
On the Come Up takes place in the same community, often referring to the kid who got shot, but never going so far as to name him or any of THUG‘s characters.
16-year-old Bri is an aspiring rapper. Her family is full of love, but it isn’t easy. Bri’s mom is an ex drug addict who just lost her job, her dad is dead, and her record at school is spotty at best.
But she is a lyrical genius. While people speak, Bri is able to piece together the words she hears with those in her mind. Phrases turn into poetry.
When Bri starts getting recognition, things go awry. You know the saying – be careful what you wish for. You just might get it. She gets caught up with the wrong people and rapping about the wrong message in an effort to chase success.
I didn’t love this book as much as THUG. The ending of On the Come Up is really rushed. Things are complicated for such a long time, and then neatly wrapped up in the end in the matter of moments. And for much of the book, Bri keeps steering into a really wrong turn that isn’t believable for her character. I’m convinced the real Bri would never stand for half of the things she just goes along with.
But comparing this to her previous book isn’t really fair, is it?
Here’s what I loved about On the Come Up:
I loved the family dynamics. I loved that every family member had a fatal flaw, but still had plenty of redeeming qualities. I loved seeing Bri make the lyrical connections in her head, playing with words.
It’s another win for Angie Thomas. I’d like to see this book turned into a movie, mainly for the rap battle scenes.
On the Come Up
Published by Balzer + Bray