On The Come Up by Angie Thomas was published in 2019 and is the story of a young rapper named Bri. I began reading this novel, but I struggled to get into the rhythm of it, so I listened to the audio version that was expertly narrated by Bahni Turpin. She made me feel like I was listening to a movie.
Angie Thomas’s characters are well written and I loved how they grew and changed but managed to stay in character. Thomas does well with setting, character development, and themes. She is a master of realistic dialogue.
I loved the mother’s journey of healing and found it realistic. Bri’s and Trey’s fears of her relapsing were relatable and realistic. I also liked that Jay kept it real with her job search. She was still working the steps. I wish my own father had found sobriety when I was young.
This book contains a lot of mature language, but it fits the story. I liked the code switching and found it realistic. I also liked the romance and found it age appropriate, tender, and sweet. I liked that it wasn’t the focus, but it was still there.
Thomas addresses the power and unpredictable/predictable nature of social media. She shows the nature of poetry and lyrics and how the author’s intent/ meaning can change based on the audience. Once an author sends out a work, it can take on a life of its own based on the connections people make and the connotative meanings of words.
Although there are many things in this book I don’t relate to, there were many that I do. I can relate to the single parent family, the poverty, the hunger, the being afraid to tell your parent your needs because you don’t want to put more of a financial burden on her. I also have good siblings and loved the relationship between Bri and her brother, Trey.
I think this is an important book for many reasons. Angie Thomas is an important voice for today. She addresses problems in society without being didactic. I look forward to reading more by this author.
Read to a child today even if that child is you.
Link to our NICU book registry if you'd like to donate books to babies in the newborn intensive care unit so their parents can read to them while they grow. You can also donate gently used books to our project by sending them to me or to Angie. Email me for a mailing address. We can use both English and Spanish books. If you have a graduate of the NICU, or if you have a baby whose life you would like to honor by donating books to this project, let me know, and I can make a book plate with their name for the books you donate.