On The Come Up

A brilliant and thought-provoking book by a powerful author. Angie Thomas’s books should be required reading for everyone.

There’s only so much you can take being described as somebody you’re not.

— Angie Thomas

Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Bri Jackson lives in the Garden Heights neighborhood, and her dream is to be a rapper. Her deceased father was a local rap legend, and while she loves having that connection to him, she’s ready to make a name for herself and make her own way. But her family is struggling to keep the heat on and food in their fridge, and she keeps running into trouble at her mostly-white school. Bri decides she can’t wait to be discovered – she HAS to make it, and soon.

I lost my cool so bad that I’ve lost more than I realize. I’m lost.
I’m so lost that I’m exhausted from trying to find my way.

— Angie Thomas

Review:

I really liked this book, but it didn’t draw me in quite like Thomas’s The Hate U Give, which I absolutely love and tell everyone to read. However, On The Come Up opens the discussion on such important topics like poverty, drugs, racism, loyalty, family, community, and authenticity. Angie Thomas definitely does not disappoint in how she handles these topics, incites your anger at obvious injustices, and also opens your eyes to more nuanced problems that don’t have an easy answer.

While some of us are afraid of the impact songs will have on our children, there are parents who are absolutely terrified for the safety of our children at the hands of people who are supposed to protect them.

— Angie Thomas

Angie wrote some really clever rap lyrics, and she painted the image of Bri rapping so well, it was really mesmerizing. Her characters are well-rounded and detailed, both rough and tender at the same time. I felt like I really got into their stories.

Bri’s near-constant anger was a little irritating when it was aimed at her friends and family who were usually trying their best to support her. (I’m totally behind her anger at other parts of the book.) But I guess that’s the point – I shouldn’t judge how much anger she’s allowed to have, since I’ve never been in that social position and can’t fathom the toll that would take on your patience and your life’s outlook. It was refreshing to see how Bri channeled all of those emotions and thoughts into such sharp and intelligent lyrics.

Overall, a brilliant book by a powerful and thoughtful author. Angie’s books should be required reading in high school. And in political offices…just sayin’. Now go read this book so we can discuss!

On the Come Up
by Angie Thomas
Kindle Edition, 452 pages
Published February 5th 2019 by Balzer + Bray

Summary

A brilliant and thought-provoking book by a powerful author. Angie Thomas definitely does not disappoint in how she handles tough social topics, incites your anger at obvious injustices, and also opens your eyes to more nuanced problems that don't have an easy answer. Thomas's books should be required reading for everyone.

— Cassie
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