I loved The Hate U Give because of what it taught me. It showed me a perspective that I have never experienced, and I’m so grateful to Angie Thomas for that. When I finally got around to reading it, On The Come Up had already been announced, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on that as well.
On The Come Up also takes place in Garden Heights, the same neighborhood from THUG. In this book, Brianna is a sixteen year old who wants to be a rapper so she can get her family into a better situation. She can rap, but she hasn’t really had a chance to show off yet. But when she finally gets the call to be in a battle, she’s ready.
Of course it doesn’t go perfectly; she chokes in her first round. But the she kills, no, annihilates her opponent. She wipes the floor with him, using her words. Soon after, she and her manager/Aunt Pooh make plans to go to a backyard studio.
The same day they’re supposed to go to the studio, Bri gets targeted. Her school has metal detectors and security guards, and based on the color of her skin (not the fact that the metal detectors went off, because they didn’t) she gets pulled aside for a pat down. They try to go through her bag, and since there’s no reason for them to do so, she resists. They end up dragging her to the floor, and she gets suspended.
This becomes the driving force behind what she records in the studio. She makes a powerful song with incredible lyrics, but there are some choice pieces that portray her life as a bit different from what it is. When people eventually hear the song, whether they love it or hate it, that’s what they focus on.
“Strapped like backpacks,” is a big thing folks hang on to. They assume she’s a drug dealer, and a thug; a danger to those around her. But she gets attention. As the book goes on, Bri has to decide what type of attention she wants; attention for her talent, or for being “a hoodlum.”
I was blown away by this book. It was something I started in the middle of the work day, and wished I could just take the rest of the day off to read. It was absolutely incredible. Also, I loved being back in the same neighborhood again. While you don’t have to read The Hate U Give first, you’ll probably enjoy On The Come Up more of you do.
I really can’t get over this book; Thomas is a powerful writer who knows how to show people new perspectives. Yet again, this is a side of things I haven’t experienced, and I’m grateful that I am able to read about them without being talked down to. It’s amazing. I highly recommend you pick up On The Come Up (and The Hate U Give, if you haven’t yet). You can grab a copy on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and anywhere books are sold!
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