Review: On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

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Goodreads | Waterstones

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.

Angie Thomas can just do no wrong. I loved The Hate U Give and it’s been long overdue that I give On the Come Up a shot. I’m aware right now more than ever that we need to amplify Black voices and educate ourselves. And I will not be quiet, I will continue to educate myself and learn the importance of this beyond what is being shown (and slowly disappearing from) the news and social media cycle.

This book opened my eyes so much to Black culture. It opened my eyes to poverty and discrimination and the problems we face within our education systems. It left me shook to the core.

Let be real: We’re black kids from one of the worst neighborhoods in the city.

Bri was such a good character and I really liked reading about her story. Her passion and anger drove me to match her energy. She was young and flawed and made decisions which very much frustrated me in parts, but I understood why she reacted to certain situations with anger, which may have impaired her best judgement. On the Come Up did an incredible job of facing the difficulties of growing up, of family and friends, and paired them perfectly with the deep-rooted problems Bri faces with racism in the education system in particular.

Her passion for rapping and music was paramount, and I loved how it shone through in the plot. It gave her such an interesting way to release the anger she was feeling, and made the plot fast paced and have so much depth. Unfortunately I wasn’t quite hooked from the beginning and it took me a while to get used to being back in Garden Heights, which impacted my rating slightly.

All it takes is one of us messing up, and suddenly all of us messed up.

Once again, Angie Thomas has achieved in writing a beautiful, amazing and hard hitting novel tackling such important issues. Simply put, we all need to read books like this. This is just the beginning of educating ourselves.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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Goodreads | Amazon

Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed.

I have a confession to make…I tried with this book before and stopped reading after the first chapter. And I’m not going to ignore this because I loved the book so much the second time round, I think it’s important you guys know. I’m going to be completely and utterly honest about this, and just say I struggled with reading someone from such a different background. I struggled with the language, and that’s why I couldn’t get into this book the first time.

But I knew I had to carry on again at some point, and now I’m meeting Angie Thomas in a couple of weeks time, I couldn’t put it off any longer. Luckily, I can’t even describe how happy and glad I am that I finally continued with this book. My second experience was so different, and made me realise that this book is just incredible.

“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong.” 

This book just screams at you about how important it is. I cannot even describe the weight this book carries, the way it makes you sit back and realise that holy crap, this stuff still happens. And I know this, I’ve seen the horrific stories in the news etc etc, but experiencing it first-hard from Starr’s perspective brings everything to the forefront of your mind.

And not only is this book important, relevant and honestly refreshing, it’s also enjoyable in many aspects. We have a relatable teen, fighting for what she believes in with her strongest weapon – her voice. It’s also a great coming of age novel, in which Starr is struggling with relationships and friendships, all normal teenage girl things. The focus on family is so strong and beautiful. I valued the love between the family so much, and seeing them work so fiercely together meant the world.

“The key is to never stop doing right.”

I wish I could explain how important this book is, and how glad I am to have come across it and finally read it. I understand I’m not the only person who struggled with getting into this book, and if I have any advice to new readers it would be to push past the initial 100 pages, because it gets so much better.

★★★★★ 
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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