Sunday, March 17, 2019

ON THE COME UP by Angie Thomas

Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
pub date: February 5, 2019


Flap copy:
Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least win her first battle. As the daughter of an underground hip-hop legend who died right before he hit big, Bri's got massive shoes to fill. But it's hard to get your come up when you're labeled a hoodlum at school and your fridge at home is empty after your mom loses her job. So Bri pours her anger and frustration into her first song, which goes viral . . . for all the wrong reasons.

Bri soon finds herself at the center of a controversy, portrayed by the media as more menace than MC. But with an eviction notice staring her family down, Bri doesn't just want to make it--she has to. Even if it means becoming the very thing the public has made her out to be.

Insightful, unflinching, and full of heart, On the Come Up is an ode to hip-hop from one of the most influential literary voices of a generation. It is the story of fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you, and about how, especially for young black people, freedom of speech isn't always free.


* * *

Bri is an aspiring rapper. Her father was also a rapper, a rapper who died way too young. She lives in a tough world--our world--and poverty and racism are forces that confront her every day. Drugs and gun violence have already taken their toll on her family, and the risk of them doing more harm is always there. Yet Bri still dreams and works toward her dream--in an imperfect, human way. This is extra hard when people make unfair assumptions about her because of the color of her skin and where she's from. 

Thomas is an incredibly skilled writer with an amazing voice, and her characters are outstanding. She writes powerfully about racism, modern culture, family, friendships, hardships, and--ultimately--hope. That last bit, hope, is important to me as a reader and a writer, especially in books for children and teens.

I recommend this thought-provoking, moving book.


Have you read On the Come Up?

9 comments:

Margaret Nevinski said...

This is on my list! Thanks for the strong recommendation which will move it up.

Dawn Simon said...

Hi, Margaret! We'll have to discuss it on our train ride to Portland!

Jemi Fraser said...

This sounds great! It's so important for books to have that hope - especially when the topic at hand is tough!

DMS said...

I hadn't heard of this one before. It sounds like a powerful read. Thanks for the introduction. :)
~Jess

Dawn Simon said...

Jemi, I agree. Also, thank you for tweeting about my post. :)

Jess, you're so welcome!

Kelly Steel said...

Thanks for the recommendation. I like the sound of this book.

Dawn Simon said...

You're welcome, Kelly! It's excellent!

Cherie Reich said...

I haven't read this book, but it sounds wonderful. Thanks for the review!

Dawn Simon said...

Hi, Cherie! You're very welcome! :)