Book Review

On The Come Up by Angie Thomas


The award-winning author of The Hate U Givereturns 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 to be.

My Review: 5/5 very painful but powerful stars

I finished On The Come Up a couple of days ago. I wasn’t quite prepare for the emotional turmoil I was going through after reading this book.

You probably can see from the synopsis that this book does not shy away from some of the most difficult topics: racism, drug-dealing, poverty, police abusing their power, white privilege, discrimination etc. All of these are told from the perspective of 16 years old Brianna, who is black, who lives in poverty, who has to live through all these injustice and in fear on day to day basis, who loves to rap and who has a big dream to fight for.

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.

Thank you so much ED PR for sending me this advanced copy to review. I am so very grateful to have the opportunity to read it before it is published. Again it is a book that will stay with me for a long long time.

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