Music, Race, and the American Dream: Female voices will not be silenced.
Who knew that when THE HATE U GIVE debuted two years ago, it will generate a film and numerous accolades to be on the New York Times Bestsellers List for more than 80 weeks. After I finished reading THUG, the first words out of my mouth was, what’s next? And watching many interviews with Ms. Thomas, one of the many inquiries was, what’s the next title of your new book. So, when Ms. Thomas revealed that her sophomore novel would go in a different direction, I was ready to jump in. ON THE COME UP revolves around Bri is a sixteen-year-old up and coming lyric artist in hopes of continuing the legacy of her late father, who was a hip hop legend and become the next legend in the making. Overnight, Bri becomes an internet sensation after posting a rap hit, which sparks controversy. As Bri defeats the odds to execute her dreams as the queen of hip-hop, she battles controversy to accomplish her goal.
Thirteen-year-old Genesis Anderson doesn’t like being teased about her dark skin complexion but accepts it because she wants to belong. Her skin shade isn’t as light as her mother, but like her father, Genesis is taunted at school for having darker skin. The nickname Char, short for charcoal, eggplant, and blackie, These are not terms of endearment. These names make her wince at the sound of hearing a friend reference her. When she’s walking with her friends to her house, everyone sees that there is furniture on the street lawn. A note of panic and heat hit Genesis’s face from embarrassment. Her family faces eviction from their home. From the first chapter, you know that this is not going to be an easy read. Genesis can only begin again if she accepts her beauty that is on the outside. Bri and Genesis are strong female characters that push the limits and take readers to different facets of family life, both good and bad. Both stories are authentic and genuine. Genesis comes home from school, relaxed and happy she takes a shirt and drapes it over her head pretending she has good hair then she goes into her mother’s bathroom, goes into her makeup bag and applies foundation over her skin to make her skin look lighter. (47) Williams and Thomas are master storytellers giving their female characters honesty, humor, and a voice that will not go down quietly.
Filed under: Book Discussion, Intro, Uncategorized
About Annisha Jeffries
Annisha Jeffries is the head of the youth services department at Cleveland Public Library. She was a member of the 2007 ALSC Board and served on several selection committees, including the 2018 Caldecott Committee. A 2000-2001 Spectrum Scholarship recipient, Jeffries is currently the Chair of the Norman A, Sugarman Children's Biography Award. She can be reached at email@example.com
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