This Chick Read: On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

Taking place in the same neighborhood as The Hate You Give, wanna be rapper Bri, lives the dream of stardom in the hopes of helping her family’s circumstances. Following in her fathers footsteps in the Garden means walking between two worlds, gang and the Ring. Her father’s life ended early, being shot down by a rival gang but Bri is determined not to live that life despite living her dream of becoming a rapper.

Angie Thomas, through her storytelling again successfully gives the reader a look into two different worlds. Bri, lives in the Garden, her aunt a member of a gang, and her mother a recovering junkie, but the author gives us a contrasting look into what their lives can be. Bri’s brother has a college education and only comes back to live in the Garden to help support his family. Bri, herself, is bussed to a high school in a better area and doesn’t seek a life in the Garden and in fact is working really hard in trying to get her family out of it. The conflict in this novel comes from her being a teenager, and like a lot of teens, she doesn’t make the best choices. Her mouth often gets her into trouble and because of the color of her skin she’s racially profiled and treated pretty harshly by those in power around her.

“No matter where I’m at, keep an eye for police.

If they thinkin’ I’m suspicious, they ain’t trying to listen.

They’ll unload those mags, make me a hashtag.”

The poetry in Bri’s rapping tells a story of what her life is like, what it may look like, and what she hope’s it will look like. The story within this poetry was just as moving and eye opening as the story within the novel.

Bri’s Aunt Pooh, as a member of the GD’s takes on the role of protector and manager to Bri. One a role she’s willing to take on with a gun, the other a role she’s unsure how to maneuver. I thought her story in On The Come Up created the perfect contrast to Bri’s own struggle, as well as being the perfect example of why she wants to get out of that life so desperately.

Once I got into the rhythm of On the Come Up, I really enjoyed this story, and rooted for Bri to find her identity in a way that didn’t alter who she could be and even more importantly would want to be in the future. I loved her choice at the end of this book, it fit her character, and it made me want to read more and see her story continue. That’s the best way to end a book, isn’t it? ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* On the Come Up

Copyright 2020 the Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you should purchase this book through the above link I’ll receive a small stipend.

This Chick Read: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

One night while Starr and a friend were driving home from a party they were pulled over by a police officer and her friend was shot dead. This incident sets up a chain reaction of violence, hate and mistrust between law enforcement and the black community in Starr’s neighborhood and around the country. Through Starr’s eyes we see her struggle with the shooting and prejudice, but also see her struggle to find an identity between the two worlds she lives in. Private school during the day where she is one of two black people in her class and in the ghetto at night where she lives. The Hate U Give while fictional is a voyeuristic view through Starr’s eyes of how African American and other ethnic communities struggle to rise above their circumstances, and how a young girl finds her place between two worlds.

The dichotomy of Starr’s school and home life was the perfect counter balance to the escalating violence between the police and the community of Garden Heights. As she navigated her feelings about what happened to her friend Khalil and whether she is the girl who fits in with the white kids at school or the slang talking teenager from Garden Heights her emotions escalate, just as the emotions escalate between her community and those who are trying to contain them. The two stories running parallel to each other amp up the tension. Even though I am not ethnic and did not grow up in those same kind of circumstances I was emotional, feeling everything that these people I had come to love through this story were going through. It felt very real. It felt very wrong.

I had obviously heard a LOT about this book before I finally made myself pick it up and read it. I knew it would be difficult to read. It was. As a middle aged, middle class white woman who has never been judged for the color of my skin, I was afraid of how I would feel when I read it. What would this book MAKE me feel? Well, I felt horrified. Ashamed. Sad. Sickened. Hopeful. Energized. and Ambitious. It made me want a change. This is why it is good to read and learn things outside of your comfort zone. Thank you, Angie Thomas for writing a book that was difficult to read. That made me think. That made me wake up. That made me hopeful for change. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Hate Click this link to purchase! The Hate U Give Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved