On the Come Up

By: Angie Thomas

Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least win her first battle. As the daughter of an underground hip hop legend who died right before he hit big, Bri’s got massive shoes to fill. But it’s hard to get your come up when you’re labeled a hoodlum at school, and your fridge at home is empty after your mom loses her job. So Bri pours her anger and frustration into her first song, which goes viral… for all the wrong reasons.

ISBN: 9780062498564

JLG Release: Jun 2019


Sensitive Areas: Marijuana, Mild sexual themes, Racism, Strong language, Underage drinking, Violence, Drug dealing, Drug abuse, Gangs
Topics: Rap music , Rappers , Hip-hop music and musicians , Family , Fame , Gangs , Dating and relationships , African Americans , Single-parent families

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Awards & Honors

2019 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award Honor, Fiction and Poetry

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Booklist*, The Horn Book Magazine*, Publishers Weekly*, Kirkus Reviews*

Horn Book

If reading The Hate U Give (rev. 3/17) was like listening to 2Pac, intent on capturing the emotional impact of injustice, On the Come Up is more like Biggie, focusing on the experience of “coming up” while refusing to deny the complexity of moving out of one’s community through education, notoriety, or fame. Sixteen-year- old Br If reading The Hate U Give (rev. 3/17) was like listening to 2Pac, intent on capturing the emotional impact of injustice, On the Come Up is more like Biggie, focusing on the experience of “coming up” while refusing to deny the complexity of moving out of one’s community through education, notoriety, or fame. Sixteen-year- old Bri attends a public arts high school and dreams of being a rapper like her father, who was murdered in a gang shooting outside their house when Bri was young. Her mother, a recovering addict, and her studious older brother, recently admitted to graduate school, work hard as they worry about making ends meet, and they face the perpetual indignities of a world that unfairly judges poverty as lack of character. After winning a rap battle in her neighborhood (the same setting as The Hate U Give), Bri—who is already known at her school since being thrown to the ground by security officers—becomes “hood famous.” Doors start to open; her father’s old manager wants to take her on as a client—but it comes at a price Bri isn’t sure she is willing to pay. The narrative builds to a crescendo that forces Bri to decide who she wants to be as a rapper and a person. With sharp, even piercing, characterization, this indelible and intricate story of a young girl who is brilliant and sometimes reckless, who is deeply loved and rightfully angry at a world that reduces her to less than her big dreams call her to be, provides many pathways for readers. Secondary characters—including Bri’s two best guy friends and her fiercely protective drug-dealing gang-member aunt, along with her strict but loving paternal grandparents—make for a remarkably well-rounded cast. A love letter to hip-hop, with Bri’s lyrics and her thought process behind them included throughout, this richly woven narrative touches on themes familiar to Thomas’s readers, such as the over-policing of black bodies and navigating beloved communities that are also challenged by drugs and violence.

Book Details

ISBN

9780062498564

First Release

June 2019

Genre

Fic

Dewey Classification

F

Trim Size

8 1/4" x 5 1/2"

Page Count

464

Accelerated Reader

Level 3.8; Points: 13;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 4.2; Points: 23;

Lexile

Level HL550L

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Balzer + Bray

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Marijuana, Mild sexual themes, Racism, Strong language, Underage drinking, Violence, Drug dealing, Drug abuse, Gangs

Topics

Rap music, Rappers, Hip-hop music and musicians, Family, Fame, Gangs, Dating and relationships, African Americans, Single-parent families,

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