On the Come Up by Hannah Weyer
Living in Far Rockaway Queens, AnnMarie has aspirations of being a singer and an actress, even though she pretty much takes care of herself. She was in a bunch of foster homes when she was younger because her mom couldn’t properly take care of her. The summer she turns 13, her best friend goes off to live with her mother, leaving Annmarie alone. She becomes friends with some older girls who want to be singers, too. After they become a group, they get to perform in a few clubs in the city.
Never feeling loved, she finds solace in Darius, a tough and street smart boy from the neighborhood. Because he is a few years older than her, AnnMarie is impressed with how he wants to take care of her, his swagger, and all of the talk about how he is going to be a famous dee jay one day.
Reality finds her pregnant at 14. She thought she would be alone to go through it, but her mother steps up and after affirming her devotion and love to her daughter, she vows to help her in any way she can. She finds out Darius has another girlfriend with a baby on the way and whenever AnnMarie tries to stand up to him, all she gets is a fat lip or busted nose. She figures out pretty fast the Darius she fell in love with is gone and she doesn’t like what he has turned into. But she still doesn’t want her daughter to grow up without a father like she did, even though he doesn’t help out with her.
She goes through trials and tribulations, but eventually things start to look up for her when she’s cast in a movie. A friendship turns into something more. She isn’t sure if she is ready for that type of relationship with that person. She has to decide if it’s time to let Darius go, but can she?
Weyer’s debut novel, On the Come Up is based on the real-life story of Anna Simpson, whom Weyer met during the filming of the award-winning film Our Song. She does such an excellent job with the writing of this novel, I don’t know which parts are true and which parts are fictionalized. AnnMarie is told with compassion and understanding, and the reader really feels for her troubles.
Sadly, AnnMarie’s story is common place in certain urban areas, so adding On the Come Up to your shelves is a must—this gives young girls experiencing similar troubles hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Anna’s own words on how the book came about are found on the author’s website at http://bit.ly/11QkjOJ.
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