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On the Come Up Paperback – 7 Feb 2019
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Praise for THE HATE U GIVE: ..".An important and timely novel that reflects the world today's teens inhabit... Thomas delivers an authentic plot with realistic, relatable characters." --Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) (starred review)
Praise for THE HATE U GIVE: "Pair this powerful debut with Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely's All American Boys to start a conversation on racism, police brutality, and the Black Lives Matter movement." --School Library Journal (starred review)
From the Inside Flap
The award-winning author of The Hate U Give returns with a powerful story about hip hop, freedom of speech – and fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you. Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. As the daughter of an underground hip hop legend who died right before he hit big, Bri’s got massive shoes to fill. But when her first song goes viral for all the wrong reasons, Bri finds herself at the centre of controversy and portrayed by the media as more menace than MC. And with an eviction notice staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it – she has to. Even if it means becoming the very thing the public has made her out toSee all Product description
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Another bright student, Bri (Brianna) is a poet - a rapper. Desperate to use her ability to better herself and her family, to get them 'on the come up' and out of their poor neighbourhood, she'll do almost anything to climb the ladder. With her own father, himself a burgeoning rapper, dead, her mother struggling to support them and a student brother willing to sacrifice his studies to help, pressure builds when it comes to making the right decisions.
The issue of race plays a significant role in the book, though not to the same degree as in THUG, but the novel shows the reader what it looks like to be treated differently at school, and what the consequences can be.
I wasn't too sure about Bri's romantic relationships. She has several male friends, and has conflicting feelings for them that change as the story progresses. I felt it almost got in the way of the main story - which actually interested me considerably - the story of Bri's rapping and songwriting.
The connection is made between rapping and poetry early on, which caught my attention, and I did like watching Bri create her raps using the scenes and characters around her, coming up with rhymes, patterns, riffs and slights. I had trouble hearing the raps themselves, it being a genre of music I am totally unfamiliar with, but I did appreciate the complex meaning behind each. I remember liking 8mile while not being accustomed to the setting or lives of its residents.
There's a fair amount crammed in here, with Bri's aunt playing a background role as drug dealer and wannabee manager, her mum and brother with their own strong characters, as well as the storylines mentioned already. Brianna has dignity and talent, but she's also quick to anger and doesn't always think before she acts.
While some aspects felt familiar from THUG, On the Come Up does make itself stand apart. I felt it wrapped itself up neatly and despite some open threads, felt complete.
It should do well with Thomas's built-in audience and appeal to a wide selection of 12-16 year olds. It doesn't contain graphic violence though there is language that parents of younger readers will want to be aware of.
With thanks to Walker Books for providing a sample reading copy.
Strongly positioned within the African-American community, within the housing projects with the complexities of deprivation and discrimination, prejudice and poverty, isolation and indignation from the privileged communities looking in and categorising, criminalising and cauterising hopes of ever achieving more. This along with the feelings of being treated differently, or of having to ‘act’ a certain way will resonate with many readers who previously may not have seen themselves so bluntly explored in pages that speak to them.
The toxic attitudes towards female anger and particular the anger of Black Women are laid bare with both her loved ones not understanding the carthartic nature of the song to the entitled indignation of hypocritical NRA card-carrying white mothers and newsreaders spitting venom about Bri spitting rhymes of her anger and mortification at being discriminated and disrespected with fantasies of vengeance. It explores the injustice that underpins the palpable tension of needing to ‘behave, keep your head down’ or be vilified or the worst the fear of being shot dead too.
The brutality of Bri’s perceived choices, and indeed others situations shows the way young people are manipulated by those in power into wearing masks for others to profit from and the loss of innocence many children and teenagers face in stressful and impoverished situations.
Whilst the novel will open up some home truths about privilege, equally there are universal themes here of the desire to achieve our dreams, the struggles of women, especially women of colour, to be true to themselves in a male-dominated business or community. A Spotlight is cast in particular on the masks or personalities we wear.
This is a powerful piece of writing and although not quite as politically focused as the issues in The Hate U Give, it is still a haunting exploration of the darkness, institutional racism and narrative that underpins the experience of Black America.
This is an important story for all young people to read and is a must-have for secondary and college libraries.
Many thanks to Walker Books for the advance copy for review without any obligation or fee. This has not affected my opinion.
This is a very fast read for me. Painful to admit but I love how relevant this book is. The dialogues, on the surface, seem to be just the typical banters between teenagers; however they are all cut throat to present the issues discussed at hand, gang, drug, police abuse and so on. Even though this book is categorised as YA, the messages Angie Thomas trying to convey are so very important. What can we do to change the stereotype? What can we do to make everyone understand we are all equal and should be treated the same?
What I also love most about this book is how Angie Thomas uses hip hop and rapping to carry out some of the very difficult topics. The story centres around Brianna’s passion for rapping and how she tries to make it and fights for her own identity. I was in awe of the author’s ability to compose so many edgy lyrics and songs. I learnt so much about it through this book!
Similar to The Hate U Gave, I finished On The Come Up feeling sad, angry and also empower. We need books like this so we can reflect, resonate and learn to better ourselves and our society. We still have a long way to go but as long as we recognise the issues and problems, we can and we will work through it together.