Thursday, August 15, 2019

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas - HIGH

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas, 447 pages. Balzer + Bray, 2019. $19.

Language: R (600+ swears 51 'f'); Mature Content: PG (kissing); Mature Content: PG13 (Gun Violence, Gangs, Rap lyrics about violence). 

BUYING ADVISORY:  HS - OPTIONAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

16-year-old Bri wants to be a rapper, and she's good! She wins her first Rap battle at "The Rink" and everyone says she's gonna be a famous rapper just like her dad - Lawless. Bri's father was a victim of gun violence, shot down by a rival gang and her family is struggling to get by. Her mom was a drug addict, but has been clean for a while now - but holding on to a job is difficult, and Bri and her older brother are more worried about their present than their future. If Bri can hit it big as a rapper, she'll be making a lot of money and can help her family - but at what expense? 

Angie Thomas tells a great story. We see Bri think through her rap, figuring out the rhymes and then delivering a great performance. I would have loved to hear more of her poetry. Her community was great, school friends fighting the system, adults who are both part of the problem and desperately trying to break the cycle of poverty, gang affiliation and drug abuse. At over 400 pages, it looks like a daunting read, but the action moves fast and the story is engaging. High school kids will love this!

Lisa Librarian

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