High-Stakes Stories for Fans of 'On the Come Up' | Read-Alikes

These YA recommendations tackle real-life issues.

On the Come Up. PG-13. Paramount+. Out now.

Black, 16-year-old Bri counts on her fledgling career in rap to help her family through hard times in this adaptation of Angie Thomas’s 2019 novel.



Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson. Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins. 2019.
Gr 9 Up –After their rapper friend Steph is murdered, three Black teens start to promote his music under a new name in 1990s Brooklyn. Suggest this compelling novel from a master of suspense to readers looking for more stories on hip-hop culture.

Spin by Lamar Giles. Scholastic. 2019.
Gr 9 Up –When two Black girls who are sworn enemies find the body of 16-year-old DJ ParSec, they must set aside their differences to investigate her murder. This book will appeal to readers looking for another high-stakes novel to immerse them in underground music culture.

Rani Patel in Full Effect by Sonia Patel. Cinco Puntos. 2016.
Gr 10 Up –In early 1990s Hawaii, Indian American Rani escapes the pressure of school and her abusive family by competing in underground rap battles. This edgy, intense novel uses striking language, including Gujarati slang and Hawaiian pidgin, to bring Rani’s story to vivid life.

Abby Johnson is the collection development leader at the Floyd County Library in New Albany, IN.

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