On The Come Up: Chapters 1, 2, 3 – Chapter by Chapter Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

In the first three chapters of On The Come Up, you’re reminded why Angie Thomas is one the top authors whose books quickly get optioned for movies.

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On The Come Up - Book Cover

In the first three chapters of On The Come Up, you’re reminded why Angie Thomas is one the top authors whose books quickly get optioned for movies.

Angie Thomas
Publisher Balzer + Bray
Book’s Publish Date 2/5/2019
Introduced In These Chapters
Aunt Pooh
Jackson “Sonny”

This content contains pertinent spoilers.


Chapter 1: Waiting On A Call

At Midtown School of the Arts, Brianna has decreasingly focused on her studies, ACT Prep as well, for going to Howard or Markham doesn’t interest her as it used to. Especially considering her older brother, Trey, after he graduated with honors, he is right back home and working at a pizza parlor. Hence why, following in her father’s footsteps, Brianna wants to be a rapper. A real one, not some pop artist who happens to rap, but someone who cares about their flow beat, and has mastery of their own pen.

And from what it seems, she has supporters. Her Aunt Pooh, older than her by 10 years supports her. Also, the other members of what some call the “Unholy Trinity,” her best friends Sonny and Malik, they too are hyped about what she can do. All she needs is for DJ Hype to call and say it is time to step in the ring.

Chapter 2: In My Father’s Footsteps/ Shadow

Which he does, and with Aunt Pooh by Brianna’s side, as the song goes, “Sky’s The Limit!” However, this isn’t to say the sky is clear with no clouds. Lawless, Trey and Brianna’s dad, he was a local legend. So for his daughter to make her debut, that is a big thing and this bothers Bri. Mainly because she doesn’t want to live in his shadow and continue his legacy; she is trying to build her own. So being seen as Lil Law may seem like a cute compliment, but it’s annoying more than anything. Especially since her dad died before he could teach her to rap.

Chapter 3: The Rookie Royale

So, who is Bri’s first opponent? Well, it is the son of her father’s former manager – Milez. He has some viral pop-rap song circulating, one that his father Supreme likely helped get going, and for the first round, he catches Bri off guard. How? Well, since he brings up her dad.

But, here is the thing about Bri, she is a student ready to elevate to the teacher and school Milez. Which she does since in round two and three, he doesn’t come for her. That line he dropped in round one, that’s all he had, and so she decimates him and embarrasses him in front of his dad and everyone in the audience.

Thus, the legend begins.

Things To Note | Question(s) Left Unanswered

Chapter 1

  1. What is Jay, Trey, and Brianna’s mom, hiding?

Collected Quote(s) & .Gifs

Compliments […] are part of the parental responsibilities […] took on when […] evicted from [the] womb.
— Brianna (Page 9)

[…] she didn’t say it was nothing. She said it’s nothing for me to worry about. Difference.
— Brianna (Page 19)

[…] you can only spell “brilliant” by first spelling Bri.
— Brianna (Page 40)


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The Raps

While we aren’t big into mainstream rap, never mind battle rap, there is no denying that what was written for Brianna when it comes to taking down Milez was HOT! Plus, what you have to also appreciate is getting into how Brianna’s mind developed the comebacks. It reminded me of Royce Da 5′” on Rhythm & Flow in terms of really breaking down what goes on when it comes to rapping. Making it so, even if you aren’t big into rap, you can appreciate the time and effort that goes into it. Thus you understanding why some purists aren’t fond of what rap has largely become.

Thomas’ Mix Of Urban Environment, But With Characters Who Don’t Feel Like Caricatures

One of the things we have long appreciated about Thomas’ writing, and what saw us through The Hate U Give, is that she equally can put a character and build an urban environment without making caricatures. There is a certain respect given to the fact that people live there, call places like that home, and may even prefer what their community offers versus the suburbs and other areas.

Mind you, they recognize many things could be better, yet there is this desire to do better, be better, and raise up the hood than escape it and let it rot. Heck, even with Brianna, while her father died a horrible death, likely due to his manager, you don’t hear her hit the books and talk about escaping. When we meet Trey properly, he might say that, but who knows?

The point is, it’s beautiful to hear about urban environments as communities rather than places you need to work hard to get out of.

On The Fence

You Knowing Trauma Is Around The Corner

With that said, you know something bad is going to happen. It isn’t clear what will, for we’re just meeting everyone, but with Jay hiding something and the book literally being titled On The Come Up, and it being a young adult novel? You KNOW something beyond the trauma of Lawless’ death is going to hit Brianna and readers.

The Raps - 84%
Thomas' Mix Of Urban Environment, But With Characters Who Don't Feel Like Caricatures - 89%
You Knowing Trauma Is Around The Corner - 76%


Angie Thomas continues to give grace, dignity, and humanity to both urban environments and the people who live in them.

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