Savvy Readers, this is *not* a drill. Angie Thomas, award-winning author of The Hate U Give and Anthony Davis superfan, is back! If you can’t tell already, On The Come Up is one of our most anticipated reads of 2019, so let’s stop lallygagging and dive right in!
Sixteen-year-old Bri (who you will love just as much as Starr, we promise) wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. But, as the daughter of an underground hip hop legend who died right before he hit big, Bri’s got some massive shoes to fill. Like, we’re talking massive. First up on the to-do list? Her first ever rap battle inside the ring. And, with help from her Aunt Pooh, she’s going to destroy whoever steps in that ring with her.
Unfortunately for Bri, rap isn’t the only thing she has to focus on. Labeled a hoodlum at school and living in a household where food and electricity are hard to come by because her mom (the best character I’ve had the pleasure of meeting so far this year, by the way) got fired from her job, Bri decides that the best way to channel her anger is to pour it into a song. But when Bri is assaulted by security guards at her school and the act is caught on tape – complete with students chanting the chorus to her song – her frustrations are about to go viral… for all the wrong reasons.
Soon after, Bri finds herself at the centre of a controversy, with the media portraying her as something that she absolutely is not. But, with her family struggling to pay the bills, an eviction is looking more and more like the eventual outcome for the Jackson family. For Bri, there’s no other option – she has to make it, even if it means becoming the very thing the public has made her out to be…
On The Come Up is an insightful and heartfelt look at the ways in which freedom of speech isn’t always free, and how black youth are policed and forced to live within certain racist boxes. More than a worthy follow-up to The Hate U Give, On The Come Up is an ode to the classics of hip-hop with a main character that you will love from page one. Oh, and, like I said, Jay is the best character I’ve met so far in 2019, and I hope you feel the same way!
Also, if you’re interested in listening to some of the hip-hop classics referenced in On The Come Up while you read, Frenzy – the YA team at HarperCollins Canada – put together this amazing playlist for all your listening needs!