Angie Thomas does it again with her most recent release, On the Come Up.
Bri Jackson is a sixteen-year-old girl trying to get her family out of a horrible situation. The only way to do that is to become a rapper and get a six-figure deal. What Bri doesn’t understand is that life isn’t so accommodating nor fair. And it’s a hard realization when everything seems to be looking up, only to come crashing down.
If most of you don’t know, this is set in the same universe as The Hate U Give, which I absolutely loved. I enjoyed On the Come Up. One of the things I loved about it was the storytelling. It was compelling and very real. Angie Thomas has a talent for making the reader feel as if they’re part of the story. You definitely don’t feel like an outsider looking in.
I loved the characters. Angie wrote Bri to be one strong-willed teenager. She marches to the beat of her own drum and does not back down for anyone. But she’s also a normal teen trying to pass her classes and get her crush to notice her. Angie captures the essence of a teen perfectly with Bri and her two best friends, Malik and Sonny. I loved that they loved and supported Bri through everything but also held her accountable for her actions. Bri’s family was also an amazing addition. Her mother, brother, aunt, and grandparents are all hilarious. I felt like I’ve encountered someone like them in my lifetime. They’ve made me laugh out loud plenty of times while reading.
Some would say that rapping is like poetry, and Angie is ridiculously poetic. Bri’s raps are remarkably written and just as raw. She’s using her art to express her life and everything that’s wrong about it. She’s able to make people listen, think and talk. She commands respect with her flow and attention with her words. She’s angry, tired, broken, and restless. So, when Bri raps, the only thing to do is be silent and listen. Angie’s writing is absolutely stellar and she easily could’ve had a career as a songwriter.
The themes in this book are strong and relevant. Angie is not afraid to talk about racial profiling, prejudices, and drug addiction. She talks about the sheer determination to achieve your dreams not just for yourself, but for the ones you love.
The only thing that annoyed me was the constant reference to the events of THUG. OTCU is supposed to stand on its own, but it’s hard when you’re continuously being reminded of the riots and Khalid. It’s not a huge problem, but enough to be noticeable. But that’s just me being nit-picky.
I think Angie Thomas did a fantastic job. On the Come Up was a great follow up and I think everyone should read it. Though the book is just shy of 450 pages, you do not feel the length at all. It’s easy to lose track of time while reading because you’re just so invested in Bri’s life. I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking to getting out of their comfort zone. You definitely don’t want to miss this.