Last year I enjoyed The Hate You Give, both the book and the movie, so I had no reservations picking up her second book «On the come up» and I don’t regret it for a minute! And I think I might have liked this one even better.
I was skeptical to how the author was going to manage making this story and the rap songs believable and not corny, but damn, that was nothing to worry about cause every line was absolute fire! It was only afterwards that I read that Ms Thomas had actually been a teen rapper herself before getting her BFA in creative writing. The story flows as well as the rhymes and I was left wanting more. I love that the story was a well told prelude, we don’t get to follow Bri all the way to the top. (But hopes for a sequel?)
As a character Bri is complex and unpredictable and I love that. Let’s be honest, a bunch of white folks pick this one up to join the BLM movement and that’s great. This book is amazing as a story to show the depth of a person experiencing living against the system. The hopelessness, the anger, the dreams and the struggle. The way the words are sometimes twisted and read into when they mean something completely different. Being misunderstood is a daily occurrence and that can be exhausting. See that. Understand that. This book shows it so beautifully and effortlessly. Nothing is forced on you.
This is a YA book and I have no doubt the kids will relate and love it. Hopefully they will see themselves in Bri and give themselves a break. I love the fact that Bri is opinionated but because of the way people see her she is described as aggressive. But we see that her aggression is passion, it’s justified anger, it’s sadness and fear. If we meet this aggression with love then we find love, if we meet it with violence then we will find violence. It shouldn’t be so hard to understand.