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On The Come Up by Angie Thomas | Book Review

Saturday, 23 February 2019
A book review of the popular Angie Thomas novel On The Come Up. [Flatlay of the book]

Now it's no secret that I love Angie Thomas after my constant raving about The Hate U Give. I'm back with her new novel On The Come Up*, and surprise surprise I loved this one just as much! 5 stars as much!

Similar to my initial thoughts on THUG (read my full review here) I was unsure I'd love On The Come Up as much as all the raving reviews and excitement was making it up to sound. The blurb didn't sound like my usual sort of book but neither did THUG so I trusted Angie's writing and jumped straight into it.


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.


I actually liked this better than The Hate U Give, which I know isn't a common view around the internet. But I think it was down to the fact that On The Come Up was a little less of a serious issue, obviously still hit some very important topics but wasn't as intense as THUG was.

Similar to The Hate U Give as well was the great character writing of Angie Thomas. Again you feel like you're seeing everything through Bri, you are Bri, instead of just reading her story. I'm lucky in that I've never wanted for any basic necessities, I've never had to worry about food, or power, or getting new shoes once my old ones fell apart. I'm also very white, however, even with this I felt connected to Bri, I could relate to her, I felt her pain and her happiness even though I could barely imagine the things she's going through. I don't usually cry at books but the writing just made you feel so involved that I cried a fair bit, although I also laughed out loud more than once. So, even though I've never been in any situation Bri was in, and hopefully won't ever, I was able to see a bit clearer and understand a bit more what people like Bri go through, because these situations aren't just fictional.

I could see why some people don't like her as a character, she's kind of selfish but convinced what she's doing is to help others, she's angsty and sometimes you do get annoyed with her outbursts but I think that's what makes her so relatable - she seems normal. The secondary characters as well were written just as well, they all had their own personalities and ambitions instead of just being written enough to interact with Bri's story.

I'm not an expert on rapping so with all of the musical aspect of this book I can't tell you if it was good or not, what I can tell you is I thoroughly enjoyed it and the rhymes were excellent and hilarious in places. Please don't skip this book if you don't like rapping because it's so much more than that. The storyline was so great I didn't want to put it down, I can so see this being an excellent movie!

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*I received a review copy from Walker Books AUS in exchange for review, but as always all opinions are my own and you know how much I love Angie Thomas already. 
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