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.
I genuinely don’t even know where to start with explaining how much I loved this book.
Set in Garden Heights, where The Hate U Give was also set, Bri is a sixteen-year-old aspiring rapper, wanting to make a life and career for herself, out of her late father’s shadow. I absolutely couldn’t have adored Bri anymore than I did throughout this book – she had such a mature mindset for her age and exactly what she wanted, wasn’t afraid to go after it, or what other people would think. Her family was also not going through the greatest of patches, so everything she did was for them. Her mother worked hard to redeem herself from past mistakes and her elder brother took a pause on his education to support. I think, despite the previous situations this family had to endure, they were extremely inspiring and close-knit. Giving up was not an option and damn right have they worked hard for every bit they earn. Bri had to make some choices along the way that she didn’t like or agree with, but she knew that was part of the business and when a new song of hers decides to blow up – she has to play to the public, whether she wants to or not, a voice as loud and as woke as hers, was soon to be silenced, if she didn’t put a stop to it first.
On The Come Up is homage to Angie’s passion towards hip-hop and the reason she began her storytelling. The rap battles that happened throughout this story always brought a massive smile to my face – the way Bri owned every single word, I wanted to be by that stage cheering her on. I can imagine listening to that through the audio book is one heck of an experience! And whilst Angie will bring many smiles to your face throughout the book with the banter between Bri and her friends and the sweet romance, she also tackles poverty, drugs, racial profiling and much more, so beautifully, this story of a Black female rapper in YA is really going to inspire many young girls and women out there and I can’t wait to see it.
This was an extremely overwhelming read, conveyed with so many important messages such as; follow your dreams, don’t lose yourself in the process, trust your instincts and always be yourself. There are certain difficult moments throughout in which I will never be able to truly understand, because of who I am, but nevertheless, it is still paramount that I really soak up the words, in order to really listen to the words Angie is spilling out on to her pages. I felt so much emotion for not only Bri’s story, but for many of the other character’s stories too – Aunt Pooh’s being one of my favourites to explore. Angie writes with such rawness, everything going on in this story felt so real, like you was a part of it and I think that is so special as a writer to be able to do.
Overall, this was an empowering, raw and stunning read that everybody needs to get their hands on, given the chance. Angie Thomas is a phenomenal writer and although the world already knows that, we need to keep shouting it. ♕♫
P.S. roll on the movie!!!