Book review: On the Come Up

04 Sep 2019 / 10:53 H.

DELVE into the world of young rapper Bri, in this second novel by acclaimed American author, Angie Thomas, who debuted with The Hate U Give in 2017.

Like Thomas’ first book, this second book (released earlier this year), will be adapted for the big screen, where George Tillman Jr is set to return as director.

On the Come Up is a gripping tale that shines a torch on racial biases, stereotypes and prejudice.

It’s about 16-year-old Bri, a talented and aspiring rapper who dreams of making it big. Her father was himself a legendary rapper who sadly met his untimely death when she was a child.

Determined to step out from the shadows of the legacy her father left behind, she ventures into her first rap battle, guided by her Aunt Pooh (a character who Thomas said was inspired by rapper Young M.A.).

After a disturbing incident in school, Bri retaliates with her side of the story through bars and verses in her first song, On the Come Up.

Her song goes viral, but instead of the message she was trying to send, stereotypes come into play, and Bri soon finds herself in the middle of a controversy.

What I love about Thomas’ work is that it offers a window into the lives of people in similar situations to Bri, where you get a deeper perspective of narratives beyond the headlines of social unjust in the US.

She intentionally writes Bri with a lot of American slang to stay true to her character, which also adds to the reader’s experience.

I also like how the author (who wanted to be a rapper herself) draws from real-life community issues and fuses it with music (her last book was largely inspired by Tupac) and culture.

Thomas certainly doesn’t disappoint with her second book. I can’t wait for On the Come Up to also make an impact through film.

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