Based on a true story, an impassioned and propulsive debut novel about a headstrong girl from Far Rockaway, Queens, who is trying to find her place in the world
Written in an urban vernacular that’s electrifying and intimate, On the Come Up introduces a heroine whose voice is irrepressible, dynamic, and unstintingly honest. Thirteen-year-old AnnMarie Walker dreams of a world beyond Far Rockaway, where the sway of the neighborhood keeps her tied to old ideas about success. While attending a school for pregnant teens, AnnMarie comes across a flyer advertising movie auditions in Manhattan. Astonishingly, improbably, and four months before she’s due to give birth - she lands a lead role. For a time, AnnMarie soars - acting for the camera, flying to the Sundance Film Festival, seeing her face on screen. But when the film fades from view and the realities of her life set in, AnnMarie’s grit and determination are the only tools left to keep her moving forward.
Told with remarkable compassion and based on the real-life story of Anna Simpson, whom the author met during the filming of the award-winning Our Song, Hannah Weyer’s debut novel is an incredible act of literary ventriloquism that powerfully illuminates the lives of the urban unseen.
"Hannah Weyer’s debut novel is an incredible act of literary ventriloquism that stunned me with its authenticity, humor, exuberance, and warmth. The book is based on the true story of Anna Simpson, a young woman whom the author met thirteen years ago, during the making of her husband’s independent film Our Song. At the time, Anna was a 15-year-old girl living with her mother in Far Rockaway, Queens — a neighborhood often defined by its social isolation, Section 8 housing, and gang violence. Even though Anna was untrained as an actress and due to give birth a month before filming began, after four call-backs and many discussions, she was cast to play one of the lead roles."
Anna’s fictional counterpart speaks in a voice that commanded my attention from page one. I found it impossible not to root for her, as did the in-house readers whose enthusiasm motivated us to win the project at auction. Here are some of their remarks: “Loving every page. The narrative is seamless, and the pitch-perfect voice transports you to an authentic, complex world that feels instantly accessible,” “AnnMarie’s unstinting honesty makes her a compelling protagonist … the rawness of her experience is riveting,” “I was hooked. AnnMarie’s voice is incredibly compelling and addictive. I was completely drawn into AnnMarie’s world.”
After reading the manuscript I couldn’t help but speculate about the life stories of people I passed on the street or sat next to on the subway, people I know little about, even though we live in close proximity. Prepare to be swept up." (Ronit Feldman, Editor, Random House)
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Modern Relevant Inner-City Coming of Age Story
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