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On the Come Up: 03/09/19

On the Come Up

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas draws from her experience as a teen rapper. Bri wants nothing more than to follow in her father's footsteps and be a rapper. Her mother would prefer she go to college like her brother. Her home life, though, is rocky and there's no guarantee that if she got into college she would be able to afford it.

In the Ring — the local rap battle event — Bri's main competitor is a boy whose stage name is Milez. She knows she has what it takes to beat him but it isn't until she's unfairly searched and tossed to the floor and then suspended for resisting at school that she truly finds her voice.

"On the Come Up" is the name of the rap Bri writes in an emotional response to being suspended. The entirety of the piece is included in the book and frankly, someone needs to perform it. Ideally, this book will also get optioned for a film and when produced, the titular rap would be included.

A question I've gotten from many interested readers is how does On the Come Up compare to The Hate U Give? Both are raw, emotional reads. Both feature believable, memorable leads. Both feature raw emotion but Starr and Bri are not the same person. They, though, are clearly products of the same environment but their outlets are different. Starr is an activist and her main platform is Tumblr — but later as the lead in the riot. Bri's outlet is rap. Both books are equally good, just different, as they should be.

Five stars

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