When The Hate You Give was published last year nobody could have predicted the astonishing success that would follow, including the accolade of British Book Awards' Children's Book of the Year. A tough debut to follow, but Thomas does so in huge style in her second novel. Set in the same world as The Hate U Give, 16-year-old Bri is an aspiring rapper, living in the shadow of her underground rap legend dad who died before hitting the big time.
On the Come Up meets expectations and then some.
On a superficial level it is less overtly political than her first novel, but the exploration of what it means to be black, female and poor is incredibly powerful
Angie Thomas’s first book, The Hate U Give, recently celebrated its 100th consecutive week at No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list. It was a runaway and well-deserved success, a YA novel that handled the police shooting of an unarmed black teen with equal parts sincerity and warmth. Thomas’s second book — On the Come Up, out this week — is well on its way to becoming just such a runaway success. It’s wise and witty, and it boasts Thomas’s characteristic ability to handle serious questions of systemic racism with a light and even joyous touch... On the Come Up is earnest and warm-hearted, a careful examination of social issues that’s built around an immensely endearing main character. It’s likely to assure Thomas’s continued and well-deserved dominance on the best-seller lists.
Can she navigate her friendships with her old pals Malik and Sonny, her new boy, Curtis, and her dad’s former manager, Supreme, and emerge as herself and not a cash-cow clone? You betcha. Thomas, a former rapper herself, packs so much into these 448 pages, but they fly along with the agility of one of Bri’s freestyles.
...the novel’s strength lies in the way it explores the loves, fears and friendships of an African American community that is doing its best to survive under an increasingly hostile administration... joyous and very funny... [Bri] is deeply loyal and has a great repertoire of one liners... Her friendship with Sonny and Malik is exquisitely portrayed... a celebration of African American cultural achievement in music, TV and film, bursting with references that feel like a gift to readers who don’t usually see their lives represented in this way.