Review: On The Come Up

On the Come Up

I must be out of my mind if I’m trying to write a review for this book. I knew it would be fire and it absolutely did not disappointed, so why am I here thinking I can write a halfway decent review for it? Probably because I adore Angie Thomas and hold her to the highest level of amazingness that could ever be achieved. That is just a lot of words to say I’m writing a review because she and Bri deserve it. Angie took the time to give us Bri’s story so I’m taking the time to show my appreciation by writing a review. It may be sloppy, it may be nonsense, but bear with me, ok?

I feel as if I have been waiting years for this novel to come out. I fell hard for The Hate U Give and it will always hold a special place in my heart. That’s why I started this book on release day but did so cautiously. Why? Because of that high level of expectation, that is why. I should have known better. Angie Thomas is DY-NO-MITE and will always be. This author will always consistently write gold so expect nothing less.

Bri’s character was everything I hoped for and more. She was raw, flawed, real, truthful, and someone I would hope to be friends with. There were times I felt as if I were reading parts of me in her character. I’m so quick to react and not process, which was exactly what Bri did throughout most of the book. Why did she do that? Simple: this girl never had anything handed to her a day in her life. She knew the struggle of not knowing where her next meal may come from, whether the lights/heat would be on when she got home, if the busted faux shoes on her feel would hold up another day. I, too, know those struggles… probably not to the same degree as Bri but the struggle is the struggle no matter where you come from. I deeply enjoyed her character arc and felt it to be a believable one. This girl had a dream and while she was more reactive than proactive, she never lost sight of her dream. She also did the best she could no matter what.

Bri was not the only character with struggles – everyone had struggles and they were no better than anyone else. From Bri’s mom to her grandparents to her aunt to her best friends – they all had demons they were battling. All of the characters were fleshed out and brilliantly represented.

Ms. Thomas did not shy away from some heavy hitting topics, that’s for damn sure. Racism, racial profiling, drug use are just to name a few. There was also discussion of people respecting other people’s backgrounds. What’s the old saying: don’t judge someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes? That holds true here. Bri thought she had certain people figured out until the truth came out in the end. Talk about a reality check for her. I commend her for being mature enough (at the end of the book) to admit that she judged that person wrong. Bri was far from innocent throughout this story but she was for a majority (if that makes sense…)

While I am still trying to keep this review spoiler free, I want to point out how much the lyrics written impacted me. Again, I cannot begin to know everything Bri was going through but I can always appreciate amazing music/lyrics when I hear them. Fictional or not, Ms. Thomas has GAME. That helped me to connect more with this story. I felt an emotional tie to the novel as a whole and for that I could not give this anything less than all of the stars in the sky. I know Ms. Thomas has said that she was scared to write Bri’s story because a lot of it is from Angie’s personal childhood, but I applaud her for being brave enough to share with the world. This was a masterpiece and deserves every award and all of the praise. It was nothing short of brilliant. (I cannot wait to read it again)

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Waiting on Wednesday: On The Come Up

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!

This week’s pre-publication “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:

On The Come Up by Angie Thomas

On the Come Up

From Goodreads:

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.

On the Come Up is Angie Thomas’s homage to hip-hop, the art that sparked her passion for storytelling and continues to inspire her to this day. It is the story of fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you; of the struggle to become who you are and not who everyone expects you to be; and of the desperate realities of poor and working-class black families.

I don’t have to say anything else – I need this book.

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Waiting on Wednesday: On The Come Up

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!

This week’s pre-publication “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:

 

On The Come Up by Angie Thomas

On the Come Up

 

 

From Goodreads:

Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least get some streams on her mixtape. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died right before he hit big, Bri’s got massive shoes to fill. But when her mom unexpectedly loses her job, food banks and shut-off notices become as much a part of her 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.

 

I’m not sure what else I can say about this other than PLEASE and THANK YOU.

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Review: The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give

 

I’m going to be honest: I’m not sure how to review this book properly. This book snuck up and sucker punched all of my emotions in the best way possible. How do you do a book like that justice in a review?

Sort synopsis: Starr witnesses her childhood best friend, Khalil,  die in front of her after a police officer shoots and kills him during a traffic stop. Soon after, Khalil’s murder becomes national news as he was black and the police officer was white. Also, Khalil was unarmed. Throughout the entire story, Starr tries to balance her life at a rich and preppy school with the life she lives while in the poor neighborhood her school friends make fun of. Will Starr have the courage to stand up and do what is right, even if it means putting her life and her family’s life in danger?

This was not a story I went into blind. I knew this was inspired by Black Lives Matter but I was not prepared for just how much it would get to me. There were several moments within this story that flat out pissed me off. I was outraged by how certain situations were handled (or not) and/or by how people reacted to events. Let it be known now that Angie Thomas can write. Holy crap can this girl write. She brought me to tears and stirred up emotions that made me want to get out of my chair and do something. Authors like that do not come along often. Sure, I have been moved to tears over how a character died suddenly or by how another character was treated, but the overall premise of this story spoke to me. Books like this need to exist in YA. I believe Angie fills a much needed void. She has done what others may have been scared to do because let’s be honest, this can be a touchy topic. It could either be handled really well or horribly bad. This story? Eye opening and deeply moving, beautiful and breathtaking, full of raw emotion. I’m not sure I’ll ever stop saying good things about this story.

Starr’s character was outstanding. I want to be friends with her in real life. Her sass and attitude made me instantly fall for her. I was immediately on her side. Heck, I wanted to jump into the story and fight right alongside her. The way she constantly fought with herself about how she was two different people: the Starr her school friends saw, and the Starr that the people from her poor neighborhood saw. Those two people can be so very different at times but in the end, can they become one? Can the real Starr shine through?

The one theme I picked up on throughout this entire story is just how important family is. No matter what Starr was going through, her family was right beside her. They never left her, not for one moment. They always took the time to talk to her, ask her how she was doing, to check in on her mental and emotional state to ask if she needed help. Talk about refreshing! It brings a tear to my eye just thinking about it.

I don’t know if it is too early to call it, but this may be the best book of 2017. I want everyone to read this book. Also, if you get a chance, listen to the audio version. Hearing the voices for the characters brings so much more to this story. There are moments that had me in tears I was laughing so hard, while others had me in tears for other reasons. No matter what, read this book. Please, please read this book and share with others. This book needs to be in the world.

 

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