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Book Review: ON THE COME UP by Angie Thomas

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Wow. Wow wow wow wow wow. Originally, I had been wondering how Angie Thomas was going to create another novel as amazing as The Hate U Give. So I went into On the Come Up with high expectations, but also with a large belief that Angie Thomas would defintely meet those expectations. To say that On the Come Up surpassed all of my expectations would be an understatement. Before I start gushing, ahem, dive into the review, here’s a quick look at the summary:

“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.”

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There’s so much that I loved about On the Come Up that I don’t even know where to begin. The first thing that I loved about the novel was Bri, and the whole cast of characters. Angie Thomas created a cast that I couldn’t help but fall in love with. Bri’s character arc was strong and kept me turning the pages. The romance is sweet, and the diversity within all the characters was *chef’s kiss*.  I was sad when the novel ended because I wanted to spend more time with the characters.

The second aspect that I loved about On the Come Up was the subject matter and how I was handled. Rap music is super important to the Black community, and to me, and to see it represented in the novel was incredible. That was the first time that I’ve read about a Black female rapper in YA, and that uniqueness alone is a reason to pick up the book. On the Come Up tackled poverty, drugs, and racial profiling, and did so beautifully. And the lyrics, oh my goodness the lyrics!!! Bri was dropping bars during the entire novel, and Angie Thomas wrote them all herself. And a lot of rap songs that I love were name dropped throughout the novel (shoutout to Apparently by J. Cole), which made me feel even more represented on the page.

 

shocked hailey baldwin GIF by Drop The Mic

*Me while reading the raps*

The third aspect that enjoyed about On the Come Up were the sprinkling of pop references that were present. My favorite being the one from The Real Housewives of Atlanta. These pop references always made me laugh, and it showed how in-tune Angie Thomas is with the community she writes for and about.

All in all, On the Come Up was an AMAZINGGGGGG novel. Angie Thomas continues to blow me away with her writing. I’d love to hear you all’s thoughts if you’ve read the novel, or if you’re planning on doing so. I would encourage everyone to add On the Come Up to your tbr, if it isn’t already on there!!

 

As always,

Happy reading, happy writing, and happy blogging!

-Breeny

 

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