My Thoughts: On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

My Thoughts: On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

Let me tell you how I’m not happy about breaking my TBR to fit this book in, but I will say that I’m happy I read it. I loved Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give, and I knew I would love On the Come Up.

If you’re looking to find The Hate U Give Part 2, you’re looking in the wrong place. Different family, but same world. Bri is a young teenager looking to make a name for herself as a rapper. Her father was a rapper because he was murdered by a rival gang. Her mother was devastated by his death and turned to drugs for a little while. Her family isn’t doing well to keep the lights on. As you can tell, there’s a lot of stuff happening in Bri’s life and she feels the need to help in some way. So she tries to make her rapping dreams come true.

First off, let me talk about Angie Thomas’s writing style. This book reads like a teenager wrote it. Not to say that it’s full of slang that you can’t tell what’s going on, but it’s enough to make it relatable to many young people today. On top of that, it really brings the story together. The neighborhood Bri is from, the people in her life, these tiny mannerisms like they way they talk or carry themselves really brings these characters to life. I can picture what was going on very well and I could feel how Bri felt in all of her circumstances.

Which made it easy for me to see the slight “micro aggressions” Bri deals with everyday. Bri lives in a world where she’s constantly underestimated. The first big incident in this book is watching Bri get thrown to the ground with a knee in her back. The security team at her school stops her “randomly” and she refused.

I loved her mom. Jay sacrificed a lot so that Bri and her brother, Trey, had a good education and didn’t have to worry about money. She was also eight years sober from drug addiction, which says a lot about her mindset and how she wants to be there for her kids. She really was an amazing person and I wish she knew it. You can sense Bri gets a little tired by her mom, but she never says it and she never loses her patience. I think that also says a lot about her given that she flies off the handle quickly and gets angry.

When Bri records her first rap song, I was so happy for her. I don’t know much about rap music, but I can imagine it being a great song with lyrics that really speak to the world Bri lives. The song alone is a huge metaphor for the rest of the book. I kept thinking to myself about how the world expects Bri to be this hardened criminal when she wasn’t and putting herself in danger to perpetuate that persona to the world. It’s so sad.

I felt like the big theme of this novel was prejudice. There’s prejudice towards rap music. There’s prejudice towards African Americans living in a certain area. There’s prejudice about gangs and gang affiliation. I feel like Angie Thomas covered a lot of ground in this book and she did it in a way that really made sense.

I can relate a lot to the prejudice Bri faces. While I don’t consider my life and hers a reflection of each other, I face prejudice a lot. People asking me how I learned how to speak English so well. People asking me when I moved to America. No one wants to believe that I grew up here, that I learned English the same way they learned English. They want to believe that I’m an immigrant and learned English by watching American TV.

The funny part about the prejudices in this book is that they were coming from everyone. Not only did certain white characters think Bri was a “hoodlum” or “ratchet,” but certain Black characters wanted her to feed into that rumor for the sake of making money.

Playing with gangs and affiliating yourself with them are no joke, but it feels like it’s the persona people want to see from Bri. Because she’s a rapper from a father who quasi-associated with some neighborhood gangs, the only logical solution for her is to do the same? From what we’ve learned about Bri, it doesn’t make sense. She’s a good kid trying to make her dream come true and faced with the gangster rapper persona. It’s disheartening and Bri saw right through that.

And throughout the novel, you get the sense that Bri is just your average teenager. She has a crush on a guy. She’s studying for the ACT. She loves Star WarsBlack Panther, and eating junk food with her friends. She doesn’t have a stable home life and she wants to help change that, but her mom wants her to have a good education and graduate from high school.

The ending was definitely a happy one for everyone and I’m glad of it. It all comes together pretty seamlessly and makes sense with the story. I would have hated if somehow Bri sold herself out for some money or got hurt or in trouble. I would have hated if she got everything she wanted within a short period of time. I loved that it ended the way it did. You can’t stop her on the come up, nope nope!

Find On the Come Up on Amazon.

Find my review on Goodreads.

The New Trailer for The Hate U Give

The New Trailer for The Hate U Give

I’m silently freaking out about this trailer. Silently, out loud. In my head, my voice is booming. Shrill screams and face grabbing ensues.

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I can’t wait for this complex story to finally be on the big screen. If you haven’t already read the book, I highly recommend you do so but also watch out for this trailer. It’s a spoiler.

It’s the story about a young girl named Starr who was with her childhood friend when he was shot by the police. They believed he was in possession of a weapon, but Starr only saw the brush he pulled out of his car window before the gun shots went off.

After that incident, the story changes into one about a young girl who lives in two different worlds. One world is where she calls home, but it’s not in the most pleasant of places. The other world is filled with white people, her high school. The only school her family wants her to attend to avoid a tragic teenage existence. Neither of them fit her, but they both define her.

And as she’s trying to figure out everything with her life, she’s also being asked to testify against the police officer that shot her friend. What does she do? Does she speak up for her friend or does she stay silent?

Movie is out October 19, 2018, so check out The Hate U Give on Amazon if you haven’t already.

Who else is ready to hear Starr speak? You can find the trailer after the jump!

Continue reading “The New Trailer for The Hate U Give”

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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I don’t think I’ve ever read a book as relevant to today as this one. This story is about the importance of knowing that there are always two sides to a story.

Synopsis

32075671Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Rating: 4/5 Starrs

My thoughts

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This book was really stellar. If you’re not living under a cave and are aware of what’s going on right now with young, black youths being shot down by the police and you find there’s injustice in those deaths, then this book is for you.

A lot of what we read about those incidents is in the news. We hear all different sides of the story, but sometimes there’s one side that you may never hear. In this book, Angie Thomas puts us in the shoes of a young woman named Starr who watched a childhood friend of hers get shot by a local police officer. Within the aftermath of the shooting, she tries to continue living her life as normal as possible but how does someone who has seen something so tragic move on?

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The story starts with the shooting so the rest of it is dedicated to the aftermath. Starr is a character stuck between the world of opportunity with her school and grades and the world of constant struggle as her family doesn’t live in the safest neighborhood. By the time she’s seventeen she’s already seen two friends die and now she can’t speak up about her friend’s death. You can see her come to grips with her emotions and deal with the micro-aggressions of the people who don’t understand her life.

For some people, it’s really easy to speak up about something but for others it isn’t and this book really explores what happens when you can make a difference but the things around you get in the way. It’s a tough decision and something that needs respect. But it also shows the value of speaking up. Voices unheard tell a different tale and while it might be scary or cause friction, you have to remember that your voice can really make a difference.

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