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On The Come Up Hardcover – February 5, 2019

4.7 out of 5 stars 644 ratings

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From the Publisher

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up–Aspiring rapper Bri records "On the Come Up" to protest the racial profiling and assault she endured at the hands of white security guards at her high school. The song goes viral, and Bri seizes the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of her late father and lift her family out of poverty, but her loved ones worry, especially when some listeners paint her as an angry black girl inciting violence. Tension mounts as Bri's mother loses her job, Bri's relationship with her beloved aunt and musical mentor splinters, and a new manager dangles the prospect of fame and wealth—at a price. Set in the same neighborhood as Thomas's electrifying The Hate U Give, this visceral novel makes cogent observations about the cycle of poverty and the inescapable effects of systemic racism. Though the book never sands over the rough realities of Garden Heights, such as gang warfare, it imbues its many characters with warmth and depth. While acknowledging that society is quick to slap labels onto black teens, the author allows her heroine to stumble and fall before finding her footing and her voice. VERDICT Thomas once again fearlessly speaks truth to power; a compelling coming-of-age story for all teens.—Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal

Review

★ “This follow-up to Thomas’ landmark The Hate U Give, set in the same fictional city after the events of that book, demonstrates again Thomas’ gift for crackling dialogue, complex characterization, and impactful emotion. Readers already lining up for this title won’t be disappointed.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review))

★ “While acknowledging that society is quick to slap labels onto black teens, the author allows her heroine to stumble and fall before finding her footing and her voice. Thomas once again fearlessly speaks truth to power; a compelling coming-of-age story for all teens.” (School Library Journal (starred review))

★ “On the Come Up truly shines in its exploration of Bri’s resilience, determination, and pursuit of her dreams. In this splendid novel, showing many facets of the black identity and the black experience, Thomas gives readers another dynamic protagonist to root for.” (ALA Booklist (starred review))

★ “This honest and unflinching story of toil, tears, and triumph is a musical love letter that proves literary lightning does indeed strike twice. The rawness of Bri’s narrative demonstrates Thomas’ undeniable storytelling prowess. A joyous experience awaits. Read it. Learn it. Love it.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))

★ “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.” (Horn Book (starred review))

“For all the struggle in this book, Thomas rarely misses a step as a writer. Thomas continues to hold up that mirror with grace and confidence. We are lucky to have her, and lucky to know a girl like Bri.” (New York Times Book Review )

“This book beckons young readers and music lovers alike with an homage to the forefathers of hip-hop that also assures the feminine voice is never dismissed from the cypher.” (Washington Post)

On the Come Up offers a complicated, imperfect heroine who lives and breathes her truth on every page.” (Entertainment Weekly)

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.” (Vox)

“Bri’s story is utterly compelling from first to last.” (USA Today)

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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
644 customer ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on February 14, 2019
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Top international reviews

Ren
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant voice & a deeply resonant story
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 7, 2019
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*teenage reader*
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit of a let-down but still worth a read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 26, 2019
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3 people found this helpful
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Lisa Kissane
3.0 out of 5 stars A great follow up, but missing some grit.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 8, 2020
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Sariah Manning
5.0 out of 5 stars It gives you feels
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 30, 2019
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Miss F E Coates
5.0 out of 5 stars On the come up
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 21, 2019
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Jemelle A
5.0 out of 5 stars Voice.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 10, 2019
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Annjana
5.0 out of 5 stars Another amazing book!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 13, 2019
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Aisha O
3.0 out of 5 stars If you like YA this is for you
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 28, 2019
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Reading Them Books
5.0 out of 5 stars Phenomenal
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 24, 2019
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Anisha
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Author!!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 14, 2019
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Mrs S O'Dell
5.0 out of 5 stars Really good
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 16, 2020
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ANGELA CANNON
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 14, 2019
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Ian P
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 10, 2019
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Victoria dada
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 2, 2019
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Janelle Dazzlepants
5.0 out of 5 stars Even better than The Hate U Give.......which I didn't think was possible!
Reviewed in Australia on April 1, 2019
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