Cover image for On the come up
Title:
On the come up
ISBN:
9780062498564
Edition:
1st ed.
Physical Description:
447 pages ; 22 cm.
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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Summary

Summary

#1 New York Times bestseller · Seven starred reviews · Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor Book

"For all the struggle in this book, Thomas rarely misses a step as a writer. Thomas continues to hold up that mirror with grace and confidence. We are lucky to have her, and lucky to know a girl like Bri."--The New York Times Book Review

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.


Reviews 7

Publisher's Weekly Review

Thomas's highly anticipated follow up to The Hate U Give returns to Garden Heights, but her new protagonist, 16-year-old Brianna Jackson, faces different challenges than the previous novel's Starr Carter. Bri's mother, Jayda, a recovering crack addict, has lost her job. The rent is late, the heat has been shut off, and Jayda must choose between staying in college and feeding her kids, because welfare benefits don't include food stamps for unemployed students. Bri attends an arts high school, and she dreams of making it big rapping-a talent she inherited from her father, a neighborhood legend who was shot to death when Bri was four. She begins to gain notice in the local music scene, but her success draws the unwanted attention of the gang suspected of killing her father. At the same time, an incident at school connects her with activists. Bri's artful rhymes convey her fears, frustrations, determination to challenge societal stereotypes, and growing awareness of her own talents. As in The Hate U Give, Thomas introduces readers to an unforgettable cast of characters who seek to thrive in close-knit neighborhoods that are also shaped by violence and systemic racism. Bri is a fully realized character who is both sympathetic and, occasionally, maddeningly impulsive, and the well-crafted dialogue, with some laugh-out-loud shade throwing, propels the dramatic plot. Ages 14-up. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Horn Book Review

If reading The Hate U Give (rev. 3/17) was like listening to 2Pac, intent on capturing the emotional impact of injustice, On the Come Up is more like Biggie, focusing on the experience of coming up while refusing to deny the complexity of moving out of ones community through education, notoriety, or fame. Sixteen-year-old Bri attends a public arts high school and dreams of being a rapper like her father, who was murdered in a gang shooting outside their house when Bri was young. Her mother, a recovering addict, and her studious older brother, recently admitted to graduate school, work hard as they worry about making ends meet, and they face the perpetual indignities of a world that unfairly judges poverty as lack of character. After winning a rap battle in her neighborhood (the same setting as The Hate U Give), Briwho is already known at her school since being thrown to the ground by security officersbecomes hood famous. Doors start to open; her fathers old manager wants to take her on as a clientbut it comes at a price Bri isnt sure she is willing to pay. The narrative builds to a crescendo that forces Bri to decide who she wants to be as a rapper and a person. With sharp, even piercing, characterization, this indelible and intricate story of a young woman who is brilliant and sometimes reckless, who is deeply loved and rightfully angry at a world that reduces her to less than her big dreams call her to be, provides many pathways for readers. Secondary charactersincluding Bris two best guy friends and her fiercely protective drug-dealing gang-member aunt, along with her strict but loving paternal grandparentsmake for a remarkably well-rounded cast. A love letter to hip-hop, with Bris lyrics and her thought process behind them included throughout, this richly woven narrative touches on themes familiar to Thomass readers, such as the over-policing of black bodies and navigating beloved communities that are also challenged by drugs and violence. christina l. dobbs March/April 2019 p 91(c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Booklist Review

Thomas follows up her blockbuster, The Hate U Give (2017), with a sophomore novel that's just as explosive. On the Come Up tells the story of talented Bri, daughter of a deceased underground rapper, who's pursuing her own rap career. Bri is more than her dreams of making it out of the hood and reaching rap stardom; she is a girl who loves her family and friends fiercely. Bri's chance at fame comes after a rap battle in which the song she pens garners massive attention. When Bri's mother loses her job, Bri's rap ambitions become more crucial than ever. They could be her and her family's ticket to a better life unthreatened by poverty. Bri is a refreshingly realistic character with trials and triumphs, strengths and flaws. She's also a teen with a traumatic past who is still going through things in the present. She still, however, manages to find the beauty and joy in life despite her tribulations, and this is where On the Come Up truly shines in its exploration of Bri's resilience, determination, and pursuit of her dreams. In this splendid novel, showing many facets of the Black identity and the Black experience, including both the highs and the lows of middle-class and poor Black families, Thomas gives readers another dynamic protagonist to root for. High-Demand Backstory: Thomas' debut, The Hate U Give, might ring a bell? She had a long-term stay on the New York Times best-seller list for her first novel, and the hype for her second is damn near deafening.--Enishia Davenport Copyright 2019 Booklist


New York Review of Books Review

MAMA'S LAST HUG: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us About Ourselves, by Frans de Waal. (Norton, $27.95.) De Waal argues that we make a grave mistake when we pretend that only humans think, feel and know, and cites neurochemical studies to conclude that feelings like love, anger and joy are widespread throughout the animal kingdom. THE WHITE BOOK, by Han Kang. Translated by Deborah Smith. (Hogarth, $20.) In this latest novel from the author of "The Vegetarian," a Korean writer wanders the city of Warsaw, haunted by her family's losses - and by her country's inability to mourn its own. THE BORDER, by Don Winslow. (Morrow/HarperCollins, $28.99.) The final volume of Winslow's monumental trilogy about the Mexican drug cartels and the American dealers, fixers and addicts who keep the trade flourishing. Whether good, bad or altogether hopeless, his characters are full of life and hard to forget. THE SOURCE OF SELF-REGARD: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations, by Toni Morrison. (Knopf, $28.95.) Spanning four decades of Morrison's illustrious career, this collection includes a stirring eulogy to James Baldwin, a prayer for the victims of 9/11 and insights into "Beloved" and her other novels. DEATH IS HARD WORK, by Khaled Khalifa. Translated by Leri Price. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $25.) Khalifa's fifth novel about siblings reunited by their father's death during Syria's current war, wrestles with themes of societal demise and rejuvenation on a tableau every bit as haunted by violence as the swamps and redclay roads of Faulkner's South. SAY NOTHING: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland, by Patrick Radden Keefe. (Doubleday, $28.95.) Part history, part true crime, Keefe's book uses the abduction and murder of a Belfast mother to illuminate the bitter conflict known as the Troubles. THE HEAVENS, by Sandra Newman. (Grove, $26.) This novel, which explores notions of time travel, romance and mental stability, features a heroine who comes to believe she lives simultaneously in Elizabethan England and 21st-century New York, with events in one period affecting life in the other. EMPIRES OF THE WEAK: The Real Story of European Expansion and the Creation of the New World Order, by J. C. Sharman. (Princeton, $27.95.) Taking in 1,000 years of history, Sharman makes the provocative case that European supremacy is a mere blip in mankind's narrative, which is in fact dominated by Asia. ON THE COME UP, by Angie Thomas. (Balzer + Bray, $18.99; ages 12 and up.) Set in the same neighborhood as "The Hate U Give," Thomas's riveting follow-up introduces an aspiring rapper. The full reviews of these and other recent books are on the web: nytimes.com/books


School Library Journal Review

Gr 8 Up-Aspiring rapper Bri records "On the Come Up" to protest the racial profiling and assault she endured at the hands of white security guards at her high school. The song goes viral, and Bri seizes the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of her late father and lift her family out of poverty, but her loved ones worry, especially when some listeners paint her as an angry black girl inciting violence. Tension mounts as Bri's mother loses her job, Bri's relationship with her beloved aunt and musical mentor splinters, and a new manager dangles the prospect of fame and wealth-at a price. Set in the same neighborhood as Thomas's electrifying The Hate U Give, this visceral novel makes cogent observations about the cycle of poverty and the inescapable effects of systemic racism. Though the book never sands over the rough realities of Garden Heights, such as gang warfare, it imbues its many characters with warmth and depth. While acknowledging that society is quick to slap labels onto black teens, the author allows her heroine to stumble and fall before finding her footing and her voice. VERDICT Thomas once again fearlessly speaks truth to power; a compelling coming-of-age story for all teens.-Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Guardian Review

This joyous follow-up to The Hate U Give, about a teenage rapper, shows talent and ambition challenging stereotypes Angie Thomas's bestselling 2017 debut The Hate U Give was the story of a 16-year-old who witnesses the police shooting of a friend. The follow-up focuses on another 16-year-old, Brianna "Bri" Jackson, who is trying to lift her family out of poverty with her rapping talent. Her life is a struggle. Her rapper father was shot dead 12 years previously by a rival gang. Her mother, Jay, has been clean of crack for eight years, but Bri constantly fears a relapse. Her beloved Aunty Pooh sells drugs, while her paternal grandmother is disdainful of Jay's ability to care for Brianna and her brother, Trey. Often, the family has to choose between gas, electricity or food. Bri has talent. She has the lyrics, the knowledge and the passion. When she raps "Strapped like backpacks, I pull triggers. All the clips on my hips change my figure" she is challenging the hoodlum stereotype, but the public see it as a boast. Soon she has gained notoriety as the dangerous, angry black girl from the projects - a persona that, according to her father's old manager, could make her serious money. The plot charts Bri's rise alongside the gradual realisation of the consequences of her fame: violence, friendships lost and the hopes of her local community who want her, like her father, to show them a way out. For me, though, the novel's strength lies in the way it explores the loves, fears and friendships of an African American community that is doing its best to survive under an increasingly hostile administration. The sheer grind of prejudice, double standards and racism is an everyday feature in everybody's lives The book's universe is the same as that in The Hate U Give , and the events of that novel resonate through this one. The sheer grind of prejudice, double standards and racism is an everyday feature in everybody's lives. When level-headed, academically gifted Trey can only get a job in a pizza restaurant, is it surprising that 10-year-old Jojo can't wait to be a gang member? The book doesn't shy away from challenging Bri's own community - the homophobia, pointless gang feuds and living up to thuggish Glock-toting stereotypes. This makes On the Come Up sound worthy and heavy going, but it is actually joyous and very funny. Bri often acts without thinking, with potentially dangerous consequences, but she is deeply loyal and has a great repertoire of one liners, complaining that her "cornrows are so tight that I can feel my thoughts". Her friendship with Sonny and Malik is exquisitely portrayed, echoing their mothers - when they go out to eat, 'their butts will be sitting there laughing and talking until the restaurant closes'. It is also a celebration of African American cultural achievement in music, TV and film, bursting with references that feel like a gift to readers who don't usually see their lives represented in this way.


Kirkus Review

This honest and unflinching story of toil, tears, and triumph is a musical love letter that proves literary lightning does indeed strike twiceThomas' (The Hate U Give, 2017) sophomore novel returns to Garden Heights, but while Brianna may live in Starr's old neighborhood, their experiences couldn't differ more. Raised by a widowed mother, a recovering drug addict, Bri attends an arts school while dreaming of becoming a famous rapper, as her father was before gang violence ended his life. Her struggles within the music industry and in school highlight the humiliations and injustices that remain an indelible part of the African-American story while also showcasing rap's undeniable lyrical power as a language through which to find strength. Bri's journey is deeply personal: small in scope and edgy in tone. When Bri raps, the prose sings on the page as she uses it to voice her frustration at being stigmatized as "hood" at school, her humiliation at being unable to pay the bills, and her yearning to succeed in the music world on her own merit. Most importantly, the novel gives voice to teens whose lives diverge from middle-class Americana. Bri wrestles with parent relationships and boy dramaand a trip to the food bank so they don't starve during Christmas. The rawness of Bri's narrative demonstrates Thomas' undeniable storytelling prowess as she tells truths that are neither pretty nor necessarily universally relatable.A joyous experience awaits. Read it. Learn it. Love it. (Fiction. 13-adult) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.