On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

Hi All!  It’s Becky.  I just finished what is arguably the most anticipated YA book of 2019…On the Come Up by Angie Thomas.  Here are my thoughts:

37589183.jpgTitle: On the Come Up
Author: Angie Thomas
Note: I listened to the audio book.

What’s It About: Bri has a dream.  She wants to be the next big hip hop star.  Bri knows that it’s a hard industry to break into but she has the talent and the legacy left by her deceased father who was a hip hop legend.  Bri’s dream seems to be her grasp when a song she recorded goes viral however with fame Bri begins to lose control over her image and her words.  Can Bri get her dream and stay true to herself?

Review: Thomas’s debut The Hate U Give will forever hold a place in the world of YA literature but, for me, her second novel resonated much more.  Thomas has created a book that feels unique and fresh well be wholly realistic and relevant.  A great deal of the success of On the Come Up can be attributed to its main character.  Bri is strong character who grows and becomes more sound and realistic as the book progresses.  She is emotional, strong, and just beautifully crafted as she tries to find her success in a world that isn’t willing to actually see her for who she is.  She is not the gang banger some want her to be but she is also not the meek girl her family world like her to be.  She is realistic and complex and makes this book worth reading.  However, to me, Thomas’s greatest accomplish in On the Come Up is the portrayal of a struggling working family.  Bri’s mother and her brother, Trey, are both trying to better their circumstance but are unable to find jobs that will financially help their situation.  Trey’s struggle as a college graduate unable to find a job in his field so he must work at a pizza shop is indicative of so many people’s struggles and make’s the book feel more relevant.  His is the story of a person growing up and trying to succeed against so many roadblocks and it also illustrates the lives of the working poor.  Bri’s mother loses her job and after one missed paycheck the family is in dire straits and can make ends meet. They could be evicted at any moment and there isn’t money for electricity or food. This is the experiences of thousands of people whose stories aren’t normally told yet Thomas relayed their stories realistically and truthfully which is what made On the Come Up a must read for me.

Final Rating: 4 out of 5


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