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Review: On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

Summary from Goodreads:

Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Bri’s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri’s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it—she has to make it.

On the Come Up is Angie Thomas’s homage to hip-hop, the art that sparked her passion for storytelling and continues to inspire her to this day. It is the story of fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you; of the struggle to become who you are and not who everyone expects you to be; and of the desperate realities of poor and working-class black families.


I read this follow up to The Hate U Give, set in the same universe, automatically when I got my copy. And as expected it was a well-written YA Contemporary that I had trouble putting down once I started it.

What I Liked:

Audiobook. I switched between the audiobook and print copy, mainly because I have no patience. But I mainly listened to the audiobook and recommend it wholeheartedly. The narrator, Bahni Turpin is the same one who narrated The Hate U Give audiobook and she does an amazing job with On the Come Up as well. The rap battle scenes, Bri’s song and other verse aspects of the novel were great in audiobook. 

Characters. I’m not surprised that my favorite aspect was the character development based on how much I enjoyed the characters in The Hate U Give. Thomas once again crafted a great main character and also made interesting and well-developed side characters. I enjoyed Bri as our sole narrator, she was an amazing rapper and kind person even if she did make some bad choices throughout the novel. And I loved all of the interactions between Bri and her family. 

Writing Style/Verse. I really enjoyed Thomas’s writing style. I felt that it was even stronger this time around. The addition of rap was interesting because Thomas did a great job writing the verses. Although, I would have liked even more rap battles or rap verses. 

What I Disliked:

Ending. The novel was close to 500 pages but I would have liked more from the ending It could have used an extra fifty or hundred pages to wrap up more storylines. I was left wanting more of a conclusion from this standalone. 

I recommend checking out this great second novel from Angie Thomas, it was a great read! 


4.5 Stars Out of 5 Stars


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