Review: On the Come Up | Angie Thomas

That’s when I learned that when people die, they sometimes take the living with them

Book Info

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Number of Pages: 464
Perspective: First
Location: Mississippi

On the Come Up follows teen rapper Bri, trying to follow in her late father’s footsteps. She finally goes viral for her controversial rap. For a complete summary, you can go here.

 Book Review

TL;DR: An eye-opening, raw, and a little bit sassy look at teen life, racism, and violence.

Rating: 4/5

Full Review: I read this book as a part of our Judging More Than Just The Cover Book Club podcast [check out the spoiler-filled discussion episode here]. This was our eighth episode, following Head Full of GhostsSo this review will be spoiler-free and the podcast will have more details and thorough analysis. We chose this book because it had a strong female main character and was in the Book of the Month Box, which I LOVE. $14.99 a month for a new release hardcover and $9.99 for any additional book AND free shipping? Can’t beat that. [Click here to get your first box for $9.99]. 

*Disclaimer: the podcast episode was recorded in November 2019, before current protests about police brutality.*

It was refreshing to have a YA main character that was flawed. It has become a common trope to have main characters in teen fiction that can do no wrong.

On the Come Up was an easy read, but the issues were complex, which made it difficult to read on an emotional level. I didn’t feel like it was as earth-shattering as The Hate U Give. However, I think that is because Angie Thomas already paved the path for herself to allow for more diverse characters, racial issues, police brutality, and gang violence in YA fiction. Because this book took place in the same town, it didn’t feel new to me. But, this book is still very timely and we need more diverse books. I loved how raw this book was about the reality for so many teens.

This is the type of book that can spark very important conversations. Although it is banned from many schools, it really should be added as part of high school or middle school curriculum, especially with #BlackLivesMatter protests going on right now. So a shout out to librarians and teachers: if you run a teen book club, make sure to include this one on your list.

I am only giving this book a 4 out of 5 stars because I loved The Hate You Give SO much. It was one of the best books I’ve ever read [I even gave it my Best Book Award]. On the Come Up I didn’t like quite as much. If I had only read this book, I probably would have given it a 5 out of 5. But because I know what else Angie Thomas is capable of, I can’t put this book on the same level. But Angie is a genre-shattering genius and I recommend this book to everyone. And I will read anything else she writes. If you are interested in buying the book, you can buy it here. After you have read it, leave a comment and let me know what you think! 

Podcast Episode (With Spoilers)

My Rating

4 star review

Unarmed and dangerous, but America, you made us, only time we famous is when we die and you blame us.

Judging More Than Just The Cover's participation in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program does not influence reviews.

Do you agree? Disagree?