“With sharp, even piercing, characterization, this indelible and intricate story of a young girl who is brilliant and sometimes reckless, who is deeply loved and rightfully angry at a world that reduces her to less than her big dreams call her to be, provides many pathways for readers.”



Angie Thomas’ latest novel, On the Come Up, returns to the setting of The Hate U Give, Garden Heights – a neighbourhood in America shadowed by an ongoing war between rival gangs, the Crowns and the Garden Disciples (GDs). Although we don’t hear directly from any of the character featured in The Hate U Give, On the Come Up does make frequent nods to the death of Khalil and the events that followed, which makes a great tie between the two books.

In On the Come Up, we are introduced to a new group of characters including our protagonist, Brianna (Bri) Jackson who is the daughter of an underground rap star, Lawless who lost his life as part of the ongoing gang war. Like her father, Bri dreams of getting her ‘come up’ as a rap/hip hop star and this all begins with her début in The Ring.

We follow Bri through the highs and lows of life as she follows her dream and is soon faced with hurdles and obstacles that result in some shocking consequences. Like The Hate U Give, On the Come Up is an exploration of racism, stereotyping and prejudice in America, incorporated into a brilliantly gripping, well-written and thoroughly enjoyable story. What’s more, On the Come Up also explores gender stereotyping and the glass ceiling for females in hip hop and the music business.

A story about music, friendship, family and using your voice in an authentic way – a definite must-read for fans of Angie Thomas’ amazing début novel, The Hate U Give. On the Come Up would also make a great film so, fingers crossed, it is optioned for a film and produced with the same rigour as the film adaptation of The Hate U Give.


Reviewed by:

Catherine Muxworthy, Booksbirdblog

Added 11th May 2019

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Catherine Muxworthy