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On the Come Up
Cover of On the Come Up
On the Come Up
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This is the highly anticipated second novel by Angie Thomas, the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling, award-winning The Hate U Give.

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.

This is the highly anticipated second novel by Angie Thomas, the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling, award-winning The Hate U Give.

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.

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About the Author-
  • Angie Thomas made her debut with the #1 New York Times bestselling, award-winning novel The Hate U Give. A former teen rapper who holds a BFA in creative writing, Angie was born, raised, and still resides in Jackson, Mississippi. You can find her at www.angiethomas.com.

Reviews-
  • School Library Journal

    February 1, 2019

    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 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from January 15, 2019
    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 drama--and 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(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from February 4, 2019
    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.

  • AudioFile Magazine Narrator Bahni Turpin becomes The Neighborhood through the eyes of Bri, a 16-year-old hip-hop artist who raps to express how she feels. Turpin portrays the essence of this quick-thinking wordsmith who gets her first break by performing at the infamous Ring, where the best-of- the-best rap battles unfold. The spunk in Turpin's voice brings this roller-coaster story to life. She captures the character's emotional trauma at the threat of gang warfare and of being homeless, as well as her fear that her mother will relapse and return to drugs. Thomas's story and Turpin's narration are raw, funny, and filled with the vulnerable moments that adolescents experience as they develop into who they want to be in this world. T.E.C. � AudioFile 2019, Portland, Maine
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