Book Review: On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

Wrote this ages ago when I read this book last year. I think it’s about time I put this out for the world to read. XD


There’s no two ways about it.

She got me in The Hate U Give.

She got me in On the Come Up.


On the Come Up is the story of Brianna Jackson, a teenager, who wants to become a rapper. Her father was a rapper, too, and a famous one at that, but she wants to grow out of his shadow and become her own self. But it isn’t that easy for an African American girl who is expected to adhere to what the white people think of her community. It always hangs like a shadow, a knife, a sword over her head, and she has GOT to emerge from there, to fight her way out of people’s perception of what she should and shouldn’t be.

First of all, Angie Thomas is a complete rockstar. Her writing is so relatable that I lived Bri’s life in this one, even though I cannot sing to save my life! Not only the rapping – it’s the everyday struggles that got me like no other. I’ve never been in such situations before, but every single one of them just broke my heart and I simply wanted to jump into the pages and give every character a big hug. Well, everyone except a couple of characters who I really wanted to punch.

Another thing about Angie Thomas’s writing is that she doesn’t sugarcoat anything. And she doesn’t force an ending. There are many authors who think that they have to chart out a life for their characters, that they need to tell the reader what all the protagonist is planning to do and how they succeed. But Angie Thomas trusts her characters to come up with a life post the ending that can be seen as the fulfilment of their dreams. And she still makes it a happy, hopeful ending. And I think that’s the best thing you can do for a standalone novel!

I’m not trivializing the actual story – not ever, because I love it so much. But the best part of the book is the million references in there – Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda – you’ll probably geek out when you read all of it. I know I did, because three of those references, I completely enjoyed, and the other two, I knew what they were talking about and appreciated it all the same. And you know why this is the best part? Because while the story helps us relate to the characters, these references help us relate to the author. Point made, I think. 😀

I love her writing and I love how she infuses humor without taking out the gravity from the situation. One moment, the protagonist could be balking at how unfairly someone has treated them, and the next, they could be snorting at how their dog rolled over or something. And the witty conversations are enough to make YOU snort and laugh as you clutch your stomach, pleading for mercy.

The raps are also SO EPIC! As I mentioned before, I can’t sing to save my life, but the lyrics in this book are so effective, so beautiful, that I had to sing along. My singing was horrible, but I know that if these were to be actually sung, they’d be instant hits. LOVE!

At the end of this book, all I want to say is that Angie Thomas has quickly become one of my favorite authors and I cannot wait for her next book to come out. Yes, I know this one just released, but hey! A fan can hope, can’t they?

Rating: 5/5 stars

Picture Courtesy: Goodreads

If you’d like to buy this book after reading my review, please do so by clicking my Amazon Affiliate link given below. The price remains the same for you but I get a small commission off of every purchase you make.

Here’s the link: On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

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