Review: On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

7:30 AM

Angie Thomas does it again! 


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.
On the Come Up by Angie Thomas | Rating: ★★★★★

“There's only so much you can take being described as somebody you're not.”

AH!!! We've all been waiting for Angie Thomas' latest and honestly? The wait was worth it. We already knew that Angie Thomas was the leader of the pack when it comes to the future of YA contemporaries. Upon the release of The Hate U Give the entire book community was READY and waiting to see where she'd go next.

On the Come Up solidifies what we already know of Angie Thomas: she is the YA Queen. This book is how I like my YA--complex, honest and full of soul. It is not tied up in a neat little bow. Instead, it wraps up in real time and leaves you feeling electric. The biggest theme of On the Come Up is that of a young girl finding her voice in a world that wants to silence her, and define her, based solely on her race.

Readers will recognize the familiar setting of Garden Heights in On the Come Up; tying into The Hate U Give without being a direct sequel. I've seen a lot of people grow hesitant when it comes to this book, believing that it won't live up to The Hate U Give and all I can say to that is: you're making a mistake. This is a completely different story. It is not meant to be THUG. It is just as powerful, but it is not here to compete with the other.

Although they are without a doubt different, Bri and Starr share some similar qualities. Strength. Resilience. Bri is such an incredibly strong character and seeing her discover her voice by the end of On the Come Up was one of my favourite experiences as a reader. She is everything you'd want a lead character to be when reading a coming of age story. She is imperfect and undeniably a kid.

Angie Thomas has a real gift for portraying young voices coming of age. Every character she writes are bold and full of life. You know them as they are only just beginning to know themselves and there's a beauty in that. When you finish reading On the Come Up you are left with a feeling of electricity charging through your body and it reminds us why we read to begin with. To feel.

This book tackles many relevant topics and cannot be praised highly enough. If you love Angie Thomas' prose, this is going to be a real standout to you this year. Once again, I find myself in awe and cannot wait to see more from her in the future. Angie Thomas is the very definition of auto-buy authors.

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