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Concrete Rose (2021)

by Angie Thomas

Series: THUG (Prequel)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7013227,528 (4.37)24
International phenomenon Angie Thomas revisits Garden Heights seventeen years before the events of The Hate U Give in this searing and poignant exploration of Black boyhood and manhood. If there's one thing seventeen-year-old Maverick Carter knows, it's that a real man takes care of his family. As the son of a former gang legend, Mav does that the only way he knows how: dealing for the King Lords. With this money he can help his mom, who works two jobs while his dad's in prison. Life's not perfect, but with a fly girlfriend and a cousin who always has his back, Mav's got everything under control. Until, that is, Maverick finds out he's a father. Suddenly he has a baby, Seven, who depends on him for everything. But it's not so easy to sling dope, finish school, and raise a child. So when he's offered the chance to go straight, he takes it. In a world where he's expected to amount to nothing, maybe Mav can prove he's different. When King Lord blood runs through your veins, though, you can't just walk away. Loyalty, revenge, and responsibility threaten to tear Mav apart, especially after the brutal murder of a loved one. He'll have to figure out for himself what it really means to be a man.… (more)
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» See also 24 mentions

English (29)  Dutch (1)  All languages (30)
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
This was everything I wanted from the sequel of The Hate U Give. It added and expanded to this universe that I already love as well as the characters. It stands on its own telling a nuanced character study about one of the best characters from The Hate U Give, Maverick. It also makes The Hate U Give more interesting looking back on having all these extra details. This is how you do a sequel! ( )
  DominiqueDavis | Aug 9, 2022 |
A heartfelt novel that deals with tough subject matters, but delivers hope to even the most drastic of circumstances. ( )
  rosaroxxie | Aug 5, 2022 |
Lately, it seems there are a lot of books out there, particularly young adult books, that feature main characters who are minorities struggling with young pregnancies and/or dangerous neighborhoods. While Black trauma is a tired storyline (more Black joy! More Black people just being regular people!), Concrete Rose has a good reason for its setting – it’s the prequel to The Hate U Give. There are some books that leave an imprint on the world… The Hate U Give is one of those. So how does the prequel – the story of Starr’s father Maverick – hold up?

It’s good. Really good. But it’s not great in the same way as The Hate U Give, so it’s important not to hold it to those expectations. It probably won’t change your life or make a deep, clarifying impression like The Hate U Give. But it’s also not trying to – this isn’t a book about social justice. It’s a book about the struggle to support and survive. And it’s written well – well enough that sometimes I forgot I already know how this story ends.

Angie Thomas is an excellent writer. When talking about her books, I think it’s very easy to talk about the important subject matter to the exclusion of all else. And the subject matter is important, don’t get me wrong, but I think we need to appreciate how skilled she is. Her novels are extremely accessible. Whether you are a 54-year-old white man living in the southern United States, or a Black teen in France, the characters are relatable and the message is universal. Her books asked for human decency, honesty, integrity, and hard work. They give us characters who find joy in small things, grieve together, and lift each other up. They beat the odds, even if it’s only in small ways. What’s not to love?

Concrete Rose follows Maverick Carter as he learns to navigate life as a highschooler who hasn’t been as careful as he should have been and ends up taking care of his three-month-old son when the mother abandons him. Maverick is a good father – he cares about his children deeply. He does his best, despite all of the odds being against him. His father is in prison, his mother is barely home because she has to work two jobs, and Maverick tries to make ends meet by selling drugs. With his cousin’s help, he tries to go clean, but the universe has other plans for both Maverick and Dre.

If you’re sensitive to reading about child care, pregnancy, and all the little bits and pieces that come along with that responsibility, this book is going to be difficult. Quite a lot of the book is about parenting and includes just about every bodily fluid you can think of in one scene or another. It’s not what I’m used to in YA, but because of this focus, Concrete Rose offers a unique perspective. Maverick stands apart from the stereotypes in that he is a responsible, loving father doing his best and most of the focus of the book is on teenage fatherhood, not his relationship troubles or the background gang warfare. It’s a perspective that wasn’t out there before, and important to both set an example and share diverse life experiences. For my own reasons, parts were difficult to listen to, but I appreciated the perspective.

If you like Angie Thomas‘ books, this is an absolute must read. It’s a worthy prequel to her debut, but it’s also a good book on its own. Knowing that Concrete Rose is about Starr‘s father is just a bonus. If you haven’t already picked it up, I recommend reading this one. ( )
  Morteana | Aug 4, 2022 |
I really enjoyed The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, and thus was so excited to get my hands on this book, the prequel. Thomas does a great job with further character development as the reader gets to know Starr Carter's father Maverick as a teenager himself. Maverick lives in Garden Heights, a predominantly black neighborhood. His father is in prison, and he is affiliated with the same gang his father was. When Maverick finds out he is a father, he realizes that he needs to change his live. The book shares his struggle. Just like The Hate U Give, this is a worthy read.
  ChristyPutney | Jul 19, 2022 |
Angie Thomas wrote this in part because the actor who played Big Mav, Russell Hornsby, in the film adaptation of THUG, asked her questions to help with characterization. That warmed my heart. Russell Hornsby is one of my favorite actors. Fans of THUG also inspired Thomas to write this prequel, among other factors. I was interested to read a book about one of my favorite THUG characters. Reading about anything with babies and kids is horribly boring. Somehow, Thomas made it interesting. Teen parenthood is something I can't relate to. Still, I kept reading. I was eager for Mav to turn his life around, and cheered him on. He made choices I would have too, as a teen. Thomas does a great job of getting into the mind of a teenage boy and deftly explores consequences. Usually short chapters drive me nuts, but here they were successfully used to dramatic effect. I grieved at the death and grief in this book, and was saddened over Mav's hardships. I was stunned at Iesha's irresponsibility, entitlement and denial, and incredulous about King swooping in on her. And Mav didn't stop interacting with them! The book examines why quite well, but ugh. P-Nut was just annoying. I hadn't realized how young Mav and Lisa were when they got together, and when Seven was conceived with Iesha. Somehow, I thought it was during Mav's and Lisa's marriage (eg adults), not as teenagers.

The book didn't end where I thought it would, and ended on a great point to introduce THUG. Like THUG, the title refers to a Tupac Shakur song. I liked how toxic masculinity was was questioned in regards to grief, and dismantled in regards to fatherhood. I've never experienced the challenges the characters experience. Given that, I wasn't the intended audience for the book. This was an incredibly important novel that is going to give hope to a lot of people. I'm so glad Angie Thomas is successfully continuing to write such important, terrific books. ( )
  iszevthere | Jul 9, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
Seventeen-year-old Maverick Carter is a "little homie" in the King Lords, selling drugs on the side to help tide things over at home. But his heart isn't in it – and when he hears he's about to become a father, he's determined to extricate himself from the dangerous gang life that has claimed so many of his family and friends. Walking away, however, is not so easy. Thomas's prequel to the award-winning The Hate U Give investigates the pride and pain of being a black boy on the brink of manhood with inimitable humour, clarity and pathos.
 

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THUG (Prequel)
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For all the roses growing in concrete.
Keep blossoming.
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When it comes to the streets, there's rules.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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International phenomenon Angie Thomas revisits Garden Heights seventeen years before the events of The Hate U Give in this searing and poignant exploration of Black boyhood and manhood. If there's one thing seventeen-year-old Maverick Carter knows, it's that a real man takes care of his family. As the son of a former gang legend, Mav does that the only way he knows how: dealing for the King Lords. With this money he can help his mom, who works two jobs while his dad's in prison. Life's not perfect, but with a fly girlfriend and a cousin who always has his back, Mav's got everything under control. Until, that is, Maverick finds out he's a father. Suddenly he has a baby, Seven, who depends on him for everything. But it's not so easy to sling dope, finish school, and raise a child. So when he's offered the chance to go straight, he takes it. In a world where he's expected to amount to nothing, maybe Mav can prove he's different. When King Lord blood runs through your veins, though, you can't just walk away. Loyalty, revenge, and responsibility threaten to tear Mav apart, especially after the brutal murder of a loved one. He'll have to figure out for himself what it really means to be a man.

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