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On the Come Up: A Novel, Based on a True Story Hardcover – Deckle Edge, July 23, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Nan A. Talese (July 23, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385537328
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385537322
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #936,261 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Her dreams focused on rapping and boys, 13-year-old AnneMarie Walker is much like the other girls from Queens, New York, except that she and her boyfriend are already starting a family. For a time, it’s the life she’s sure she wants. Then, while attending a high school for pregnant girls, she lands a lead role in an indie film, and a whole new world opens up for her. When her relationship becomes abusive, and she is faced with the reality of raising her daughter alone, she grows uncertain about her choices and finds herself rearranging her beliefs about love and stability. Telling her story in halting street language, AnneMarie is a tenacious and lovable character. It is easy to root for her as she gropes and stumbles her way through the lessons of life without the benefit of role models or money, and the conclusions she comes to are surprisingly pertinent for all. Fans of Sapphire’s Push (1996) will especially appreciate the honesty and realism of filmmaker and first-novelist Weyer’s writing. --Cortney Ophoff

Review

NAACP Image Award Nominee!

"Meet AnnMarie. She's 13, pregnant and living in a gang-ridden housing project. Not a promising scenario. But the heroine of Weyer's luminous debut turns out to be a survivor with rare spirit. She gets herself cast in an indie movie, attends its Sundance premiere and then, back in the ‘hood, struggles to build a life for herself and her baby. AnneMarie is based on a real person, which makes it all the sweeter to cheer her on." People, four stars

"I couldn't put this book down. This world, this voice, this young woman are all so vividly raw and honest, that my heart was broken open, and I was hooked until the very last page." —Kerry Washington, actress, Scandal and  Django Unchained

"[Weyer] writes with confidence and agility, and readers will quickly sink into the groove of her storytelling ... AnnMarie's interior monologues feel hypnotic and impromptu, silkily cadenced with what freestyle rappers call flow ... On the Come Up isn't a cloying rags-to-celebrity tale ...  'Having gone out into the world and come back again' gives AnnMarie a glimpse of a future beyond Far Rockaway. Ms. Weyer convincingly charts the brave steps she takes to get there." The Wall Street Journal

"I fell in love with AnnMarie Walker, a hopeful and headstrong heroine who invents her own chances, turning the smallest opportunities into rare achievements. Here’s a book for anyone who’s ever seen the way the sun shines in a classroom they cannot enter and still wanted that light to shine on them. First you have to want it and this is how it’s done, from victim to victor. A remarkable gift to readers." —Tupelo Hassman, author of Girlchild

"Pitch-perfect. It’s impossible not to root for AnnMarie, a heroine as resilient as she is vulnerable. Weyer is a deeply humane writer who pulls the reader into an inner-city world that’s utterly distinct, yet profoundly relatable.” —Jonathan Odell, author of The Healing

"Hannah Weyer proves to be a formidable ventriloquist ... [C]onvincing and colorful ... [A] moving account of AnnMarie's struggle to ... leverage her experiences into a better life." San Francisco Chronicle

"A vibrant debut novel ... Weyer’s compassionate storytelling lends her compelling novel an inspiring pathos without losing its sharp, realistic edge." Publishers Weekly

"AnnMarie is a tenacious and lovable character. It is easy to root for her as she gropes and stumbles her way through the lessons of life without the benefit of role models or money, and the conclusions she comes to are surprisingly pertinent for all. Fans of Sapphire's Push will especially appreciate the honesty and realism of filmmaker and first-novelist Weyer's writing."Booklist

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Customer Reviews

I recommend highly as a vacation read.
Steven
The gripping story of AnnMarie Walker's life as an urban teen is powerfully resounding with the true issues that face young blacks today.
Denise Bolds
The urban vernacular used in narrative and dialog places the reader into authentic mindset to experience AnnMarie's experience.
FatChickDancing

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jacque Cartwright VINE VOICE on June 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a true story based on the life of Anna Simpson. A girl who ended up in foster care. After spending some years in foster care, she was returned to live with her mother and not long after her return, her mother had a stroke and became disabled. The story begins with AnnMarie, getting her hustle on in the hood. (selling cool cups)Here we meet her friends and start to learn about their lives, disadvantages, skills and talents etc.

As the story goes on, AnnMarie becomes interested in a "boy" Darius and ends up pregnant. While she is going to school for pregnant teens, she sees a flyer for actresses and decides to try out. AnnMarie ends up getting the part and playing a role in a movie. The movie finds some success and AnnMarie gets a little glimpse of the good life. But not long after, she has to return to her disabled mother, small apartment and abusive boyfriend.

In the midst of having a baby, and continuing an abusive relationship with her child's father, she meets a girl and things change...again.

I wasn't very happy when I first started reading, the vernacular (ebonics, ghettoness I made that up, word) was so annoying. Ebonics is easy to speak, but very hard to read! I kept putting the book down. Finally, I decided I would force myself to read 2 straight hours. I ended up finishing the book at 2am!!

I was curious about this Anna Simpson so I tried to find her biography...empty. Just shows the few movies she played in. After reading it is a true story, I like to look up "where are they now" or what are they doing or something. I also looked up the movie this was inspired by, Our Song, here on amazon and will be watching it this evening!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By G. Uhl on July 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
On the Come Up is a true story written in urban vernacular. I am a middle aged white woman from a small PA Dutch community. Which is to say, the lingo I'm used to is the polar opposite of the writing in this book but certainly part of the reason we read books is to explore strange new worlds and to boldly go where we haven't before. I did not have any trouble following the writer.

The book describes the life of AnnMarie Walker. She is 13 when the story starts. Her story is heartbreaking and uplifting both. In the end I am not sure which of those wins out and to me means that means this is a good book for discussion group.

I selected this book because it was listed in the lesbian (fiction) category. AnnMarie's story does include a same sex relationship but not until the very end and it's not at all what the book is really about. I have read my fair share of lgbt coming of age stories and I think they are important. This book is valuable and important for other reasons. It should be listed as YA biographical in my opinion.

AnnMarie deals with teen pregnancy, foster care, urban blight, abuse and more. She also is a talented singer who gets an opportunity to act in a film (that you can watch for free on Netflix called Our Song) and gets to go to Sundance. The book covers a lot of territory and I would not hesitate to recommend it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By ReaderRabbit on August 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I checked this book out at the public library, intending to take it with me when I go on vacation tomorrow. Casually started reading it yesterday, and finished it late late night because I honestly couldn't put it down. The story is so compelling, and I agree with previous reviewers who have said that you genuinely root for AnnMarie. I kept reading, wanting to find out what would happen with her and hoping that all of her efforts to improve her situation would work out.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By brooklyn on August 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I loved this book. I couldn't put it down. It was so authentic and it captures your heart. Ms. Weyer's writing is amazing. She has a true, true gift. I wish I had at hand 10 more books by this author. A wonderful experience!!! I wouldn't give it 5 stars, I'd give it 50 stars.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Denise Bolds VINE VOICE on June 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Summer is here and so is an excellent kick off book: "On The Come Up" by Hannah Weyer. The gripping story of AnnMarie Walker's life as an urban teen is powerfully resounding with the true issues that face young blacks today. AnnMarie tells her story as a 14 year old girl whose mother is ill. The background of AnnMarie's life is just as intriguing. AnnMaie falls in love with Darius and by 14 she is a mother...Her life takes a different path.
Weyer does an excellent job in describing and brining life to a story that is not hers; AnnMarie wanted a better life, she dared to explore beyond Far Rockaway and she pays a dear price to do so.
I found "On the Come Up" to be extremely engaging and relevant; touching upon so many issues young girls face today: domestic violence, pregnancy, sexuality, economics, education and self esteem. As a social worker, I highly recommend this book for YA book clubs and group reads - there is so much to talk about. Job well done Mz. Weyer!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Toni Campbell on August 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover
After reading the last three books by Sister Souljah, which feature young people overcoming odds in ways far beyond their years, it was refreshing to have a more realistic viewpoint. AnnMarie Walker is a 13 year old living in Far Rockaway Queens, New York. This is the type of impoverished neighborhood that is so cut off from the rest of the world that just traveling to Manhattan seems like going to another country. It's literally the last stop on the A train.

AnnMarie has dreams like other girls her age: dreams of being in a singing group, dreams of having the hottest fashion, dreams of being loved. Circumstances find her as a student at a school for pregnant teens, and she comes across a flier advertising for extras to appear in an independent film. Curious, she auditions and gets a role in the production. Her involvement with the film open up her world to include other people, neighborhoods, even states.

The story is told in an urban vernacular that I found mostly believable. What I loved most is that this is just a story about a young girl who makes decisions just like a 13 year old, even when her responsibilities seem to far exceed her age. It's scary, beautiful, and inspiring all at the same time.
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