Waterstones Children's Book Prize-winning author New York Times #1 bestselling author The award-winning author of The Hate U Give returns with a powerful story about hip hop, freedom of speech and fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you. Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. As the daughter of an underground hip hop legend who died right before he hit big, Bri’s got massive shoes to fill. But when her first song goes viral for all the wrong reasons, Bri finds herself at the centre of controversy and portrayed by the media as more menace than MC. And with an eviction notice staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it – she has to. Even if it means becoming the very thing the public has made her out to be.
Thomas's highly anticipated follow up to The Hate U Give returns to Garden Heights, but her new protagonist, 16-year-old Brianna Jackson, faces different challenges than the previous novel's Starr Carter. Bri's mother, Jayda, a recovering crack addict, has lost her job. The rent is late, the heat has been shut off, and Jayda must choose between staying in college and feeding her kids, because welfare benefits don't include food stamps for unemployed students. Bri attends an arts high school, and she dreams of making it big rapping a talent she inherited from her father, a neighborhood legend who was shot to death when Bri was four. She begins to gain notice in the local music scene, but her success draws the unwanted attention of the gang suspected of killing her father. At the same time, an incident at school connects her with activists. Bri's artful rhymes convey her fears, frustrations, determination to challenge societal stereotypes, and growing awareness of her own talents. As in The Hate U Give, Thomas introduces readers to an unforgettable cast of characters who seek to thrive in close-knit neighborhoods that are also shaped by violence and systemic racism. Bri is a fully realized character who is both sympathetic and, occasionally, maddeningly impulsive, and the well-crafted dialogue, with some laugh-out-loud shade throwing, propels the dramatic plot. Ages 14-up. (Feb.)