It’s no secret that The Hate U Give was one of my favourite reads of 2018, so when I saw that Thomas’s second novel, On The Come Up was set for release in Feb 2019 I was itching to get my hands on a copy.
Given you’re about to read my review post, it’s safe to say I did manage to do just that…and I loved it.
Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died right before he hit big, Bri’s got massive shoes to fill. But when her mum unexpectedly loses her job and homelessness is staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it – she has to make it.
Blurb from Walker Books website.
Yes yes yes. This book is everything I wanted and more. The Hate U Give was always going to be a tough act to follow for Thomas, and although I think On the Come Up was slightly less impactful, it was still an eye-opening read.
This book isn’t a sequel to THUG, but it is set back in Garden Heights right after Khalil’s death, so we are landing in a familiar setting in that sense. There are small throwbacks/shout outs to the subject matter of The Hate U Give, but this book stands firmly on it’s own feet.
I loved hard-headed Bri, and her voice shines through in this novel. She narrates like she speaks, and she’s not sorry for it. This is a female lead who is ready to speak out against injustices (maybe a little TOO ready at times…). The sections where she riffs rhymes internally were so interesting to me as well, and they give insight in to Bri’s character and the way rapping is built in to her psyche almost – she processes her feelings through rap.
Unsurprisingly, Thomas has given us another book of diverse characters. Garden Heights is a mostly black neighbourhood, but she’s also given us non-cliched gay teens, recovering addicts, and a host of other believable and non-conforming character types. The relationships between all these characters (notably Aunt Pooh and Bri, and Trey and Bri) are a joy to read, not because they are always perfect, but because they feel real, and the family love is evident even through their arguments.
As you can probably tell, I have a lot of feelings about this and not all of them are coherent. I still have a gut feeling that The Hate U Give was a more enlightening read for me, but I still loved On The Come Up and I think Angie Thomas has firmly planted herself as an auto-buy author for me. I am here for any authors writing diversely from their own experiences (as Angie Thomas does in this) and tackling larger issues like homelessness, poverty, drug-dealing and more in a real, honest, and educated light.
Verdict: Definitely worth your time and money to support this author and learn from the read!
Page Length: 448
Publisher: Walker Books
Who is an auto-buy author of yours?
Have you read either of Angie Thomas’s novels, and what did you think?