Ever since listening to The Hate U Give last year, I wanted to pick up On the Come Up by Angie Thomas, but somehow I always had other priorities. Finally it was the right time. And lucky me, because this book was FIRE!!
On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
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.
This is my choice for the category of Continental drift: Read a book set on every continent.
I’m the opposite of a music aficionado, I rarely listen to music, and if I’m honest, if I would listen to music, hip hop would be on the very bottom of my music list. But when the book is written by Angie Thomas I’ll pick it up whatever the topic. And thanks to the amazing narration by Bahni Turpin the audiobook of On The Come Up is amazing!!! She makes these books feel absolutely authentic. And the rapping part was eye-opening and just incredible.
For me the book was split into two parts.
Part One: the music
Part Two: the life of Bri
The Music part, with that I mean the lyrics and rapping, was as I mentioned above, eye-opening. It’s no surprise that I know nothing about rapping. But the way Bri rhymed those verses on the spot, with barely any time for preparation was AMAZING. Now, I just want to know if these rapping competitions are really a thing.
As an adult I saw some of the plot already written on the wall. I’m more aware of what’s to come by just having life experience. Some things are just too good to be true. The promise of a better life vs staying true to oneself. Not selling yourself short. Taking the hard way instead of the easy one.
Now, about Bri’s life.
As with The Hate U Give, the author writes not only about a teenager so very different to my own teenage self, but also about an issue that needs to be addressed. And if it’s just to let everyone know that this is still a problem in many areas of the US and probably worldwide. And I’m not talking about skin colors, it’s about gang violence, drug distribution, kids afraid of going to school, and discrimination. Moreover Bri’s entire life is the very opposite of everything I experienced myself growing up. Because of it, the plot is captivating, thought provoking but never more than what it’s supposed to be, a story.
I really enjoyed Bri’s interaction with her friends, family and adults. She always stays true to herself, even when she navigates this new exciting music opportunity. Although not all of her choices are the right ones. More than once I wished she had an adult to guide her.
So, after finishing this book it’s confirmed that I’m a BIG fan of Angie Thomas. It doesn’t matter what she writes, I’m going to read it. Her books are well written, thoughtful, and eye opening. The characters are interesting, entertaining and always engaging. I’m definitely looking forward to her next book.
On the Come Up by Angie Thomas | Audiobook Review