Goodreads Synopsis: 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’m honestly not quite sure what to say about this book. I was looking forward to a new book by Angie Thomas, and I wasn’t expecting another THUG, but I was hoping I would have connected more with the story.
I think for me I didn’t find the writing as compelling in On The Come Up. The story felt all over the place, there was so much going on that there wasn’t much depth. Bri’s life is complicated, she wants to be a rapper, she’s trying to save her family and maybe have a love life and… And it all felt relevant but I just felt like Thomas never had time to go deep enough into it all. The characters felt a little one-denominational, like they didn’t have enough space to be fully developed. Bri had a lot of potential, but for me she fell flat. Maybe if the book had been longer, maybe split into a duology I would have felt more connected.
Don’t get me wrong, this book isn’t terrible. It definitely had it’s moments, and I think that Bri is an important character. She’s tough, she rapped, she tries to take care of her family (even though she has bad relationships with some of them), she’s just another girl trying to figure out life. Thomas needed to write a story that wasn’t THUG and I also appreciate that. Which is why I gave this book 3 stars, and I would definitely recommend people read it. There’s important themes in this book, even if they didn’t all the time they deserved.