Hello lovelies! I’ve got another review for you today (there was a time when I couldn’t read fast enough to consistently put out reviews and now I feel like I’m never going to catch up!) So let’s get straight on with business, shall we? 🙂
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.
Angie Thomas was always going to be under pressure after her first novel The Hate U Give was such a global success. Though I tried hard not to compare her sophomore novel to her debut, it was difficult to keep them completely separate. However, I’m delighted to say that On The Come Up is another fantastic read!
Thomas excels in writing strong characters. Bri is a total badass; I loved that people tried to change her but she remained true to herself and stood up for what she believed. The rest of the cast of characters also felt fully realised, with understandable motives and human flaws. I thought the mother-daughter dynamic that Thomas portrayed was fascinating to read.
This is definitely a very character-driven novel. I found it a little difficult to picture the setting at times but there were moments (like the rap battles) when it was really vivid! And speaking of the rap, Bri had mad skills. Angie Thomas could definitely be a rapper if she ever decides to take a break from writing novels 😉
It was also lovely to see a few nods to THUG throughout the book; I love it when authors set their books within a common universe. Hopefully this is something that Thomas will continue – I will take all of the Easter eggs please and thank you!
As I said, it’s really difficult to not compare this book to its predecessor and I would say that THUG just slightly has the edge because it is such a powerful Black Lives Matter story. However, On The Come Up stands up well in its own right and I definitely recommend it if you enjoyed Thomas’ first book or if you’re a fan of contemporaries in general!
Have you read either of Angie Thomas’ books? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments! x