I am so in love with your words.
Damn, she’s good.
This story follows, Bri Jackson, who also lives in Garden Heights like Starr from THUG. But that is pretty much where the similarities end.
Bri lives with her mother and her older brother. Her father, a once successful rapper, was gunned down in the streets, a victim of gang violence. Bri’s mother is a recovering addict who is doing her best to be able to provide for her children alone.
Bri has plans to follow in her father’s footsteps but she definitely wants to do it her own way and struggles to find her identity apart from him.
She is a super talented rapper and spends most of her time thinking of rhymes and putting together lyrics. She is singularly focused on finding success in order to better the living conditions of herself and her family. To make them ‘good’.
Bri is a great kid but she does have a short fuse. She puts a lot of pressure on herself and I enjoyed getting some insight into her thought process and how she sees the world around her. There is always something that seems to be going wrong in her world. It’s tough. Troubles at school, troubles with bills, being behind in rent and she feels compelled to do something to make it different.
I loved this story. The incorporation of Bri’s lyrics gave the story such depth. I loved that angle, seeing her try to make it and channel her talents for good. Learning to stand her ground and be true to herself. I love stories with music or musicians and this one utilized that trope so well.
I have read some reviews where readers commented on not enjoying this story as much as THUG. That doesn’t surprise me at all but for me, I sort of feel the opposite. I think I actually enjoyed this one more. While Bri, as a character, may seem contentious, to me, she was perfect.
As a 16-year old, many aspects of your life can be extremely frustrating. You can feel like you aren’t being heard, like your desires are pushed aside or seen as not important, and that may cause you to act out in socially unacceptable ways. I get that. Bri was struggling with some heavy shit and she let it get the best of her sometimes but that happens when you are a kid.
I liked how this book focused on a variety of hard-hitting issues that can often be brushed over or ignored. The reality of living in poverty is something that millions of Americans, and people around the world, deal with on a daily basis, and while it isn’t pretty, it is important to shine light on and discuss.
Examples: the fact that Bri’s mom was a recovering addict. The fact of the limits that places on her options to provide for her family. The way Bri, and other black and brown kids, were treated at her school. The lifestyle Bri’s aunt lives and how that affects her entire family. Bri’s brother’s options for a job after college.
All of these things are tough issues. I appreciated how much substance Thomas put into this. This was far from a one issue story. This was the whole cake and I was eating every bite!
I can see why this format may not sit well with everyone. It punches the whole way through but it is an exceptionally told story.
Thomas is a true wordsmith. Her writing leaps off the page with realness…is that a word? Realness?
You know what I’m saying.
As you can tell, I loved this. I want everyone to read it and seriously, I am on the EDGE of my seat until Angie Thomas puts out another book. I am really hoping for another story set in Garden Heights!!!