by Angie Thomas
Review by Emma Shacochis
Angie Thomas’s first novel, The Hate U Give, was an excellently written book that has stuck with me long after I read it, and I’m already feeling the someway about her sophomore work, On The Come Up. The novel follows Bri, a young black girl who dreams of becoming a rapper, like her legendary late father. She becomes even more determined to succeed once her family begins to struggle to pay rent and afford food. After an impassioned song of hers, titled “On The Come Up”, goes viral, Bri receives both positive and negative recognition from her community and family. She must try to stay true to who she is as she attempts to make it big in the music industry.
Thomas always has a perfect balance between long-relevant social issues, the emotional struggles of being a teenager, and a healthy dose of humor. Bri’s family and friends are all supportive in their own ways, even if they can be slightly misguided; the love she receives from her mother and brother, in particular, led to several of the book’s most heartfelt scenes. Bri is one of my favorite YA protagonists of late: she is faced with racism from security guards at her school and stereotypes once entering the rap world, on top of trying to help her family make ends meet. Despite Bri’s constant worry about survival, she’s witty and incredibly linguistic – my absolute favorite part of the books are the small rhymes and full freestyles that she composes for rap battles.
Whether or not you’ve read Angie Thomas’s works, On The Come Up is a grounded, exciting book you won’t be able to put down.