Angie Thomas

Cindy Seip

Angie Thomas made her debut with the #1 New York Times bestselling, award-winning novel The Hate U Give. A former teen rapper, she holds a BFA in Creative Writing from Belhaven University. Angie Thomas‘ On the Come Up (Balzer + Bray) follows sixteen-year-old Bri, a talented rapper and knowledgeable hip hop fan who is best known as the daughter of the underground hip hop legend Lawless, who was murdered right before he hit big by local gang members. Her mother insists that she focus on preparing for college, but Bri finally has a shot to make it big with her music. Her first recorded song goes viral for all the wrong reasons. The verses, fueled by her anger over being profiled by security guards at school, earn her a reputation she didn’t want. In fact, she soon finds herself at the center of a controversy, portrayed by the media as more menace than MC. But with an eviction notice staring her family down, Bri doesn’t just want to make it—she has to. Playing into the stereotype to make money could be her ticket out of poverty, but Bri must decide who she really is and how to represent herself and her skills. On the Come Up is the story of fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you; and about how, especially for young black people, freedom of speech isn’t always free. In a starred review Kirkus Reviews said that “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.”