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The Hate U Give #0

Concrete Rose

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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.

362 pages, Kindle Edition

First published January 9, 2021

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About the author

Angie Thomas

26 books21.3k followers
Angie Thomas was born, raised, and still resides in Jackson, Mississippi as indicated by her accent. She is a former teen rapper whose greatest accomplishment was an article about her in Right-On Magazine with a picture included. She holds a BFA in Creative Writing from Belhaven University and an unofficial degree in Hip Hop. She can also still rap if needed. She is an inaugural winner of the Walter Dean Meyers Grant 2015, awarded by We Need Diverse Books. Her debut novel, The Hate U Give, was acquired by Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins in a 13-house auction and will be published in spring 2017. Film rights have been optioned by Fox 2000 with George Tillman attached to direct and Hunger Games actress Amandla Stenberg set to star.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 7,455 reviews
Profile Image for Hailey (Hailey in Bookland).
599 reviews86.9k followers
Read
July 11, 2021
Angie Thomas is such a talented writer and I loved reading more about the backstory behind the parents in THUG. Maverick was a character I really loved in that book so to get a book entirely focused on him and see all he went through it, I really enjoyed it. The plot is definitely quieter than her other books, but I didn’t mind that so much really. I thought that even though there wasn’t a ton of super dramatic moments it still had enough to keep me intrigued and the characters were distinctive enough that I wanted to know where they ended up.
Profile Image for Angelica.
803 reviews998 followers
April 23, 2021
At this point, I am convinced that Angie Thomas can do no wrong. The way she creates characters and atmosphere is something of beauty. 

I think the most special thing about her writing is just how real it is. It's not just that she depicts realistic situations and people, but that her stories feel real. Like these things are happening and you can see and feel these character's frustrations and struggles. You can so clearly understand their emotions and their situations and it's just so great to read about.

Maverick is such a wonderful character. Although we knew him from The Hate U Give, he gets his time to shine in Concrete Rose. He's interesting and complex, and most importantly, he is a fantastic father. From the very beginning, you see the love he has for his children, despite the circumstances.

All of the other characters were equally wonderful, however minor. Angie Thomas puts so much life and personality into every single character interaction that it's hard not to feel like you know them all on some personal level. It's easy to imagine that this world and these characters continue on outside of the story. 


I think my favorite thing about this book is the simple fact that it's not the kind of story that gets written about. YA contemporary is overrun by white, middle class, suburban teenagers. And while those stories do deserve to be told, stories like this one, often get overlooked, or not published at all.

It's a story that shows all the good and the bad that exists in real life places like Garden Heights. It shows the complexities, the tragedies, and the triumphs, of people whose stories have rarely gotten told. And it does all of this without either praising or demonizing it, but rather showing it all as it is. I think that's where the realism I was talking about comes from. All of the problems don't get solved in the end. Bad things continue to exist even after our heroes are triumphant. It's real life.

Overall, I enjoyed and highly recommend this book. As I said, I am certain that Angie Thomas can do no wrong. I am highly anticipating whatever else she comes out with next.
Profile Image for Kai Spellmeier.
Author 5 books13.5k followers
January 12, 2021
“The apple don’t fall far from the tree, but it can roll away from it. It simply need a little push.”

Angie Thomas did it again. Wrote the perfect book. Tens across the board.

Before I get into this a disclaimer that this is a prequel to THUG so unless you’ve read the book or seen the film this includes major spoilers.

I wasn’t so keen on Maverick as a main character in general, mostly because he is this straight, manly man and I’m…not. But I soon realised that he is easily as relatable as Starr and Bri, and this book is just as empowering and important as THUG and OTCU. It’s written especially for Black boys that find themselves in hopeless situations, who are told that they are worthless, that they’re thugs, that they’re not allowed to dream. But through Maverick, Angie shows that although their lives are set up unfairly, Black boys from the hood have the right to a bright future as much as anybody else. And sometimes all you need is for someone to sit you down and tell you that you are worth it and that you are deserving. There’s also the harmful idea that Black boys don’t read, which we know is false, but when you never get to see yourself represented then you might not realise that your story is worth telling. Which is exactly why this book is so needed. Here’s a quote from the book that sums it all up:

One of the biggest lies ever told is that Black men don’t feel emotions. Guess it’s easier to not see us a human when you think we’re heartless. Fact of the matter is, we feel things. Hurt, pain, sadness, all of it. We got a right to show them feelings as much as anybody else.

It took me a couple of chapters to really get into this book, but I had the exact same experience with the THUG and OTCU so I wasn’t worried. I knew I would get the hang of it sooner or later. There’s a lot of characters and details to take in, and I think it also takes me a minute or two to get used to the AAVE style of writing, which is not something I encounter often in books. I know that readers and reviewers have critised the style in the past, and I think it’s okay to criticise writing styles in general, but complaining about it simply because you don’t like a certain dialect or language says more about you than the quality of the book. I honestly think the writing was beautiful and poignant. Angie hits a balance that is full of feeling without ever being corny or clichéd. I also love how she writes dialogue; the banter is witty and sassy but never hurtful. It cracked me up several times because Angie is genuinely funny. And overall there are some amazing quotes in the book, real life lessons. I found myself rereading them over and over again because they capture the sense of the moment with such wisdom.

You gotta love people enough to let them go, especially when you’re the reason they’re gone.

When it comes to characters and plot I have absolutely no complaints. They all seem real as life to me. Their characterisation makes total sense to me, their actions were in line with their motives and they had the depth necessary to form a bond with them. I loved (loved loved) the representation of queer parents because it’s something so joyful and beautiful that we don’t get to see much of even though they have always been here; the arts and media simply failed to represent them properly. And I really love Angie for including that.
Plotwise it all worked for me as well. It’s cool to see all these tiny details that we then get to see again in THUG, like the store, the relationship between Starr’s parents as well as Iesha and King and Carlos (who was a real dick, my god). It made me want to reread THUG badly, and that’s exactly what I did. As a reader, we also know that the plot will take a turn for the worse and Maverick will have to make some painful decisions that may or may not have awful conseqeuences. But it doesn’t feel forced or over the top. It also ended sooner than I thought it would and now I’m really craving a sequel, something set between Concrete Rose and THUG, maybe from Lisa’s POV? But I have a feeling this might be the last book in the THUG series, and I do believe in trilogies.

Something else I loved were all the easter eggs hidden between the lines. There are nods to Nic Stone and her Dear Martin series, and Kobe Bryant was mentioned a number of times. I’m sure there was more that I missed, but what truly hit me hard was seeing all these characters that don’t make it to, or don’t survive THUG. We see them as cute and vulnerable babies, and it goes to show that all the victims of police brutality and gun violence are more than a hasthag. Others we see as teenagers and realise that what lies ahead of them will cause them real pain and heartache.

Grief hit you in waves. Sometimes it pull me out to sea and take me under. No wonder it’s hard to beathe as I cry.

A single review cannot express how exceptional Concrete Rose is. Truly outstanding on every level, both when it comes to the writing itself and the power of the story.

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Profile Image for Elle.
584 reviews1,253 followers
November 30, 2022


A 2021 Goodreads Choice finalist in Young Adult Fiction!

As if there could ever be any doubt that Angie Thomas would deliver. The Hate U Give was a major hit that’s still sitting pretty on the New York Times bestseller list after ✨ 2 0 5 ✨ weeks!! On the Come Up, my favorite of hers, was technically not part of this two-book series, but shares a common setting with the others, and features some of the most memorable characters I have come across. Thomas has really become an auto-read author for me and I’m so glad her books are so widely available to teenagers in the US right now.



As difficult as it can be to write a sequel, it seems even harder to successfully pull off a prequel, especially to a book so beloved. But in the Acknowledgments of Concrete Rose Thomas says that she was inspired to write a young Maverick’s story after seeing Russell Hornsby depict Starr’s father in the movie adaptation. This is the kind of organic extension of a story that I think makes for compelling spin-offs, as opposed to just a general reluctance to leave a world behind or as a way to capitalize on former successes.

In this novel, Maverick Carter is a 17-year-old living in Garden Heights, with his mother working two jobs and his father incarcerated. His world is turned upside down when he finds out a one night stand resulted in a pregnancy and is soon struggling to balance the new responsibilities thrust upon him. Between trying to help out his mother, high school, fatherhood, his girlfriend Lisa and tension amongst the members of the gang he’s basically been born into, the King Lords, Maverick is having a hard time coping under the mounting pressure.

If you read The Hate U Give, you can probably guess some of the other challenges Maverick will soon face as well. He’s really still a kid, a teenager, but is suddenly stricken with pains and burdens most adults won’t have to face until much later in their lives, if at all. The dehumanization of young Black men in America has been a topic that many authors, including Thomas and her friend Nic Stone, have been writing about years before the George Floyd and Black Lives Matter protests in the summer of 2020. And I expect them to keep writing these stories as long as they are, unfortunately, relevant to the society we currently live in.

As per usual Angie Thomas’ characters are just next level. They feel so tangible and real, like you know them personally. It’s difficult not to empathize with their struggles even if you have no real experience with what they’re going through. But that’s the sign of good writing and probably why most of us read; we want to feel things entirely new but also familiar. The humanity in Thomas’ writing is probably her greatest asset and why I will always go back to her work.

And though it doesn’t contain any direct spoilers, I’m decided to put what I thought of the ending under the tags just to be safe:

I know Thomas has mentioned in interviews that Concrete Rose will be the last of her books set in Garden Heights, but I’m still so excited to see what she comes out with next. Her work means so much to so many people, especially younger people who don’t often get to see themselves reflected in the protagonists they read about. And I just really appreciate what she’s done for Young Adult fiction and the entire publishing industry. She’s truly a game-changing author with so much more to say.


**For more book talk & reviews, follow me on Instagram at @elle_mentbooks!
Profile Image for giulia ♡❁ུ۪.
373 reviews230 followers
Want to read
October 20, 2020
update: thank you netgalley gods for the arc

.....................................................................................................
angie thomas said let's give my readers what they want, so she gave us maverick's backstory. wake me up when january 2021 begins.
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,067 reviews38.1k followers
June 4, 2021
Wow! It was amazing to return back to hate U give’s universe and learn more about Mav’s past who was one of my favorite characters.

Angie Thomas is such a powerful author writes heart wrenching, angsty, high tension and also strong, hopeful, emotional novels centered on poverty, lack of opportunities, gangs, struggling, rebellious, fighting teenagers. Her skillful writing captures your attention, her style to pour out her honest feelings to create characters’ predicaments help you to resonate with them easily.

At this time, we read story of teenage Mav who tries to raise Seven ( yes, he’s back as a baby) by taking his full custody. In the meantime he goes to school, works, dealing with drugs, keeping his head up in the gang. He’s like a juggler throwing several balls in the air at the same tome but he keeps dropping them, making worst decisions and instead of facing consequences he makes more mistakes which is normal because he’s struggling, lonely kid who tries his best to raise his own kid.

Overall: it’s promising, powerful, well written, fast paced, brilliant prequel! Triggering and angsty parts and inspirational messages are not as strong as the hate U give but it was still great experience to go back at the place where the journey has started.
Profile Image for Kevin (Irish Reader).
273 reviews3,927 followers
February 19, 2021
Another amazing read from Angie Thomas!

This book is a prequel to The Hate U Give and it might just be my favourite prequel I’ve read. I really loved reading through the eyes of a 17 year old Maverick and seeing how he dealt with everything he was going through. Family is also a huge theme in this book and I really enjoyed seeing Maverick’s family relationships and dynamics, and also seeing him putting his loved ones first and doing anything he could to provide for them. I also really loved all of the little details linking to The Hate U Give such as Mavericks children and how he came up with the names of them. (These children being the main characters in The Hate U Give). Another amazing read from Angie Thomas! Highly recommend it and especially if you’ve already read The Hate U Give.

I did a reading vlog on my YouTube Channel where I read this book and shared more of my thoughts. If you’d like to see that video, it’s linked here: https://youtu.be/Y0sZjZkM51Q
Profile Image for NickReads.
461 reviews1,208 followers
Want to read
June 18, 2019
I wouldn't be surprised if this became New York Times bestseller like right now
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,424 reviews8,982 followers
Want to read
January 10, 2021
Preorder placed. The countdown begins!!



Earlier:

WE HAVE A TITLE. WE HAVE A COVER.

I AM SO IN LOVE.



Seriously though, really loving the title of this. Hard and soft at the same time. This is going to be moving, y'all.

Let's all put it on our TBRs!

Profile Image for Larry H.
2,440 reviews29.4k followers
March 7, 2021
Angie Thomas' new book, Concrete Rose , is simply amazing. This is a powerful look at the life and challenges faced by a young Black man.

This prequel to The Hate U Give (but you don't need to have read that book first) takes us back to Garden Heights 17 years earlier. Maverick Carter knows his responsibility is to take care of his mom while his father, a former gang legend, is in prison. But the only way for a 17-year-old to truly help his mom is to sell drugs on the side for his gang, the King Lords.

While Maverick knows his life could be better—he’d love people to stop looking at him as a pale imitation of his father—he’s happy with his girlfriend and he has a cousin who looks out for him. And then his life is completely upended when he finds out he’s the father of a three-month-old boy.

How can he be a father when he’s still a child himself? While it completely changes his life, he’s determined to be a better father than the one he had. But he can’t be a father if he’s dealing drugs, so as much as “real work” pains him, when he’s given the chance to walk away from the gang life, he does.

When tragedy strikes and Maverick makes a foolish mistake, he’s faced with a decision: does he do what he needs to in order to survive and take care of his family, or does he continue to walk the right path, even if it may be the harder one?

Concrete Rose was just a fantastic book. I will never know the challenges faced by young Black men, but Thomas takes the reader into that world and gives a glimpse of the struggle between right and wrong, between boyhood and manhood, between being tough and being right.

Thomas never ceases to dazzle me with her power as a storyteller, her ability to make you think and make you feel and make you root for her characters. With this book, she has created another masterpiece that will resonate for long afterward.

Check out my list of the best books I read in 2020 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2021/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2020.html.

Check out my list of the best books of the last decade at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/my-favorite-books-of-decade.html.

See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.

Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.
Profile Image for Brandice.
798 reviews
June 11, 2021
I strongly prefer standalone books over series but after loving The Hate U Give (THUG) a few years ago, knew I’d read any/ all continuations of this story by Angie Thomas.

Concrete Rose is the prequel to THUG, focusing on Starr’s dad, Maverick Carter, 17 years before she’s born. He’s a high school senior growing up in the same town of Garden Heights and trying to balance everything — Mav is the son of a gang member, a student, a boyfriend to Lisa, and just found out he’s also the father to a baby boy, Seven. It’s a lot to handle. And, a tragedy leaves Mav reeling, as he thinks about loyalty, family, and responsibility. ⁣

The audiobook is narrated by Dion Graham and he was excellent! At times, it felt like Mav was older than 17, likely due to all he was going through. I really enjoyed this story and was eager to continue listening throughout the week, whenever I could. If you haven’t read THUG or Concrete Rose, I highly recommend both. ⁣
Profile Image for Jessica .
2,014 reviews12.8k followers
June 23, 2021
I loved finally getting Maverick's story and how his family came to be. It was so interesting seeing him as a father in THUG and now a teenager who has no idea who he is or what he wants for his future. I loved watching his relationship with Lisa progress and getting insight into his past with King. Seven was an adorable baby and I loved all of the side characters that were a part of Maverick's life. His relationship with his father was so interesting and I just wanted Maverick to make the best decisions for him and his children, especially when he still felt like a kid himself. I'd definitely recommend picking this up, especially if you're already read THUG!
Profile Image for Sahil Javed.
258 reviews237 followers
Want to read
January 10, 2021
january 2021 can't come fast enough. angie thomas is back again with what i'm sure is going to be a fucking masterpiece.
Profile Image for jenny✨.
563 reviews770 followers
January 17, 2021
i fell into this today without meaning to—but once i started, i couldn't stop.

in truth, i shouldn't be surprised. big mav was one of my favourite characters when i first read The Hate U Give all those years ago, a novel that moved me and made me EXCITED and hopeful for the future of diverse publishing. i have starr, maverick, and the carters' fierce love to thank for that.

now that we get to read his story and watch him grow into himself as a seventeen-year-old father-to-be of two... it's been a great journey. these are characters i would return to, time and again.

bottom line: regardless of whether you feel immense THUG nostalgia like me: read. this. book.
Profile Image for Sana.
1,076 reviews954 followers
Shelved as 'anti-library'
October 15, 2020
I really wasn't expecting there to be ARCs but daaaamn

--------------------------------------

Holy shit, Angie Thomas out here really writing a book about Starr's dad, Maverick Carter, and expects it to get banned like THUG got? WE STAN 👏👏

More about the book here
Profile Image for Kelsey (munnyreads).
76 reviews5,669 followers
February 16, 2021
This is a fantastic book with a lot of heart. Concrete Rose has a great balance of heavy, relevant topics and light hearted humor that genuinely made me ‘lol’ at times. I fell even more in love with these characters that I was already so invested in after reading The Hate U Give. Maverick and Lisa are everything and Angie did not disappoint.
Profile Image for Susana.
305 reviews241 followers
March 7, 2021
4 stars

This book surprised me in the best way possible. I have read all of Angie Thomas published novels as of right now, but I read The Hate U Give, the sequel to this book, 3 years ago and I don’t particularly trust my reviews and bookish opinions of that time. Not to say that you should dismiss every book I’ve reviewed more than 2 years ago, but definitely take those opinions with a pinch of salt. Regardless, I was still looking forward to Concrete Rose because the premise alone was interesting to me.

✦ ✧ ✦ ✧

Concrete Rose is the story of seventeen-year-old Maverick Carter, a young black boy, who has more weight on his shoulders than any kid of his age should. His father is a former gang legend who got caught and is now doing jail time, while his mother works two jobs to sustain the family. In order to help her, Maverick does the only thing he can think of: sell drugs under the orders of his dad’s old gang, the King Lords.

Although his life’s not perfect, he has a beautiful and amazing girlfriend and a cousin who is like a brother to him and who always has his back. However, Maverick’s world does a 180 when he finds out he’s a father himself and has to start pulling his weight more than ever and set a good example for his child.

✦ ✧ ✦ ✧

At first, I wasn’t really feeling this book. It wasn’t badly-written or anything, it just wasn’t grasping my attention. It didn’t help that being inside the mind of a teenage boy isn't exactly my personal idea of fun. Even though Angie Thomas is much older than her protagonist and of a different gender, I think she did a great job writing him. Despite being uncomfortable at some of Maverick’s thoughts and comments on Lisa and other women, they seem to be pretty realistic and in sync with how the boys I know in real life are.

However, by the end of the story, Maverick has grown a lot: he had already had to mature so much because of his father’s absence, but he becomes even more mature after his son is born. He begins to see the world through a parent’s eyes and he feels all the responsibility and pressure that comes with that. I hate that there’s so much stigma around men being emotional, especially young black men. Society tells them to “be a man” because “men don’t cry” and you can really see how this has affected Maverick. Luckily, he has amazing people around him who tell him that’s all crap and he can cry and be upset and that's ok.

Lisa is Maverick’s girlfriend and you can clearly see how different their lives are. Maverick goes to his town's public school which has poor conditions and education, whereas Lisa goes to a private school. There are many times when Lisa tells Maverick she can’t be with him if he’s still in a gang and, although I saw her point of view, I also knew how much Maverick was struggling and how his situation is not as black and white as she makes it out to be. I really liked seeing them together as their romance felt very realistic and genuine. Oh, and we also got THE GEM that was Mr. Lewis’ reaction. I laughed so damn hard!!

“Good God, boy. When the Lord said replenish the earth, he didn’t expect you to do it yourself. (...)”


Speaking of, surprisingly, this book is freaking funny. Yes, it has hard-hitting moments for sure, but it also has its good dose of humorous moments. They balance themselves out really well. The quote above is only one of many hilarious gems sprinkled throughout the novel.

Additionally, the side characters all add something to the story. I really liked that you get to know Maverick and King’s history and, in this way, better understand their relationship in THUG. I know that an author can write when they make me angry for the protagonist because I genuinely hated King. I love that there’s a bisexual character in this book and how casual it is. It’s little things like this that make my heart so freaking happy.

I think some people might be quick to say that this book is only getting praise due to THUG related nostalgia, but that’s definitely not the reason. Concrete Rose is an amazing story on its own with likeable and well-rounded characters, that sheds light on topics not usually discussed in YA novels. I am now even more excited to reread The Hate U Give and watch its film adaptation.
Profile Image for NAT.orious reads ☾.
815 reviews324 followers
Want to read
January 3, 2021
Let's be real, folks. We're all over 2020 by now anyway, so we might as well jump straight to January 2021 when this amazing book will grace us.
Profile Image for Christy.
3,709 reviews31.6k followers
February 6, 2021
4 stars
“Son, one of the biggest lies ever told is that black men don't feel emotions. Guess it's easier not to see us as human when you think we're heartless. Fact of the matter is, we feel things. Hurt, pain, sadness, all of it. We got a right to show them feelings as much as anybody else.”

Concrete Rose is a prequel to ‘The Hate You Give’ and the story of Starr’s father, Maverick Carter, when he was a teenager.

I love Angie Thomas writing and Mav’s story was so good. Seeing his struggles and how he overcame them was inspiring. He grew up in a way that made it hard to make good choices. The easy choices aren’t the ones he wants to make now that he has a son, and a daughter on the way. He struggles to provide for them and be there for them, but he shows it can be done. I loved his coming of age story and it was great to be back in this world and see how he got his start.

Audio book source: Libby (library borrow)
Story Rating: 4 stars
Narrator: Dion Graham
Narration Rating: 4.5 stars
Genre: Contemporary Fiction (YA)
Length: 8 hours and 17 minutes
Profile Image for Claude's Bookzone.
1,460 reviews182 followers
April 22, 2021
CW:

4.5 Stars

Well that was amazing!

I have to say I feel like the characters had more depth in this prequel and I felt considerably more drawn into their journey. I don't know if it was because I knew what the outcome would be and was therefore more invested in the story. I loved the banter between some of the older characters and the younger ones. Anyone who has ever been on the end of some 'life lesson' type speeches could probably relate. I think that's what I found particularly moving actually, the inter-generational relationships, and also the theme of carving out your own future and not feeling compelled to walk the path of previous generations. I thoroughly recommend this fabulous book!
Profile Image for Mina.
239 reviews132 followers
February 6, 2021
This is it! Ms Angie is a phenomenal writer.. I was sceptical about this one, worried that I wouldn't connect with Maverick and his story. But Ms Angie weaved a perfect moving story that depicts how some of our black men and women get caught up in gang life. Nobody is born a banger, but real life circumstances will most likely lead you to it. It's never easy to just get out and make a normal honest living when your black skin already sets you at a disadvantage from the minute you're born. How it means you have to work a million times harder! Maverick's story brought all that full circle. And what a beautiful story it was. Plus since it's Black History Month, fist up for this beautiful queen who's given us this amazing read✊🏿✊🏿✊🏿
Profile Image for Anushka.
38 reviews33 followers
March 11, 2021
"Son, one of the biggest lies ever told is that black men don't feel emotions. Guess it's easier not to see us as human when you think we're heartless. Fact of the matter is, we feel things. Hurt, pain, sadness, all of it. We got a right to show them feelings as much as anybody else."

Concrete Rose, the prequel to Angie Thomas's phenomenol debut, The Hate U Give, follows Maverick Carter as a 17 year old. Maverick, who was such a wise and loving father in The Hate U Give, is a messed up teenager here. Very messed up. How? Let me list it out:

1. He is a gangbanger, a drug-dealer, and a high school flunk-out.
2. He witnesses his dear cousin Dre get killed.
3. He has to work for his very strict neighbour, Mr. Wyatt.
4. His girlfriend Lisa, breaks up with him and his relationship with his best friend King gets severly strained.
5. He has two kids with two different girls before he is eighteen.

"Messed up" actually looks like an understatement. Despite all these problems, Maverick manages to keep going.
"Keep Pushing Mav," Rico Says ," Tough situations don't last. Tough People Do."

With this book, Angie Thomas has yet again proved that she can hook her readers till the end, no matter what the story is. The way she ends her chapters in this book, it makes you wanna keep on reading ahead, and before you know it, you are turning the last page. There's something about her writing that I haven't seen elsewhere. She has her own unique style, which I love to read.

The characters in this book were really well sketched out. We got to know more about some characters from The Hate U Give, like Maverick, Lisa, Carlos, Seven, King, Iesha, Mr. Lewis, Brenda, Tammy and Lisa's mom. A lot of new characters were introduced too, like Faye (Mav's mom), Dre, Kiesha, Andreanna, Mr. Wyatt, and Maverick's friends Rico and Junie. We also got to know about Maverick's father, Adonis, who was the biggest drug-dealer in Garden Heights before King.

Also, let me take a moment to appreciate the cover. Both the paperback and hardback covers are amazing, although I prefer the paperback cover more with this book. The cover designer definitely needs some appreciation.

Some people say that this book doesn't deal with the themes that The Hate U Give does. I think otherwise. Everytime Maverick mentions drug dealing, one quote by Maverick in The Hate U Give always comes to my mind. He tells Starr how drugs and racism are related. Here's what he says:
"Now, think 'bout this," he says. "How did the drugs even get in our neighborhood? This is a multibillion-dollar industry we talking 'bout, baby. That shit is flown into our communities, but I don't know anybody with a private jet. Do you?"
"No."
"Exactly. Drugs come from somewhere, and they're destroying our community," he says. "You got folks like Brenda, who think they need them survive, and then you got the Khalils, who think they need to sell them to survive. The Brendas can't get jobs unless they're clean, and they can't pay for rehab unless they got jobs. When the Khalils get arrested for selling drugs, they either spend most of their life in prison, another billion-dollar industry, or they have a hard time getting a real job and probably start selling drugs again. That's the hate they're giving us, baby, a system designed against us. That's Thug Life.”


This shows that drug dealing among people of Garden Heights is a cause of racism against them. Therefore, I believe that this book too deals with the important theme of racism and oppresion.

Now, moving on the part that I found the best in this book- Concrete Rose challenges the cult of masculinity that is quite prevalent in society today. Earlier in the book, I thought that the mentions of Maverick wanting to "man up" were promoting masculitinity. But later on, I realized that Angie Thomas was actually challenging this. She shows how boys, especially teen boys are expected to 'act like a man'. They are told to be strong, to not cry, and to protect and provide for their loved ones. This pressure of 'being a man' takes a toll on Maverick, who tries to juggle his responsibilities as a 'man' and as a student.

In Concrete Rose, Angie Thomas tells us that the ability of a person to blossom is not only determined by their own choices, but also by the actions of their community. The community can sometimes lead someone in the wrong direction, but it also helps a person grow and bloom for good. Maverick joined the King Lords for protection, and he recieved that under Dre and Shawn. But after both of them went away (Dre was killed and Shawn was arrested), Maverick was forced to look out for himself. He totally screwed up. But then, he found support in his mother, Lisa, Mr. Wyatt, Rico and Junie, his father Adonis, and to some point, in King. Baby Seven was also adorably supportive. These people helped him get untangled and blossom into the Maverick we know in The Hate U Give.
“It's kinda like how we have to do with ourselves. Get rid of the things that don't do us any good. If it won't help the rose grow, you've gotta let it go.”

There's just one little thing that bothered me after reading this book- it left me with lots of questions. Like, why did Starr never visit Maverick's side of the family? Why did she never visit Faye, Moe, Keisha, Andreanna and Aunt 'Nita? She didn't even know about Dre's death until Maverick told her after Khalil died. Why did Maverick and Lisa never talk to her about Maverick's family? I would have also liked if we had an epilogue about how Maverick got the store from Mr. Wyatt, how Lisa got her job as a nurse, a bit about Starr's birth (Lisa said in The Hate U Give that Starr couldn't breathe when she was born. I would have liked to see that part.) It would be great to have all these questions answered in the book and make it feel more complete. Besides that, I have absolutely no complaints.

Since I only had this one problem, a 4 star rating felt too less. I was reluctant to give 5 stars because that problem was bothering me throughout the book and I didn't get any answers even at the end. So, I'll settle at 4.5 stars.
"The apple don't fall far from the tree, but it can roll away from it. It simply need a little push."
Profile Image for Brittany McCann.
1,466 reviews379 followers
December 28, 2022
Angie Thomas is just getting better and better with each new book. This was my favorite in her The Hate U Give series, even though I have enjoyed all of them. As a mother, I related the most to Mav, and his thoughts and worried about the baby were incredibly relatable. Of course, now I want to re-read The Hate U Give since I first read it back in 2018.

I was feeling for Mav and looking to my own son and hoping he sees better choices in front of him. I loved the community of Garden Heights in this one. I loved the background of characters that I had learned the names of and gotten to know peripherally through The Hate U Give and On The Come Up.

Overall, this was a solid 5-star for me. I loved it!
Profile Image for Lauren Lanz.
617 reviews233 followers
May 15, 2021
This is probably the greatest prequel I’ve ever read; The Hate U Give was certainly groundbreaking, but Maverick’s story—the challenges he went through for the sake of family—left an even greater impact on me.

“You gotta love people enough to let them go, especially when you're the reason they're gone.”


~★~ What is this book about? ~★~

Concrete Rose takes place years before The Hate U Give, following Maverick Carter as a seventeen year old highschooler.
Life couldn’t get more complicated for him; Mav’s father’s in jail, he’s dealing drugs to support his mother, and he’s just discovered through a DNA test that his best friend’s baby is actually his baby. Maverick doesn’t know a thing about fatherhood, but he knows he’ll have to make tremendous personal sacrifice to become the best dad he can.

~★~

I loved Maverick’s narrative from the get-go. His voice was distinctly teenage, with all of the charm and attitude you’d expect from one. I’ve never read a story following a teenage father, so Maverick’s situation was really enlightening in that sense. As always, Angie Thomas did a phenomenal job tackling stereotypes and addressing systematic racism towards people of colour. This is probably my favourite book of hers yet!

It was so wonderful to get cameos from The Hate U Give cast as teenagers. Despite knowing some of what would occur, I found myself consistently invested in the story and its turnout. Dre was unexpectedly my favourite character! If you enjoyed Starr’s story, there is no doubt you’ll love Maverick’s.
Profile Image for My_Strange_Reading.
504 reviews81 followers
February 8, 2021
The journey of reading an Angie Thomas book told in emojis:
😬😆😊🥺😩😭💔😡🎉😞😳😥🙁😕🙃🙂😀🥺❤️

There are just so many feelings, y’all. She is such an incredible writer and I can’t wait to recommend this book to my students! Thomas has such a unique way of gripping us and pulling us into the action and hearts of her characters from the first page. Which is why when she rips out the heart of her characters, we feel completely torn in two as well. It’s absolutely amazing.

This was everything I wanted it to be for Mav’s story, and I will literally read anything Angie Thomas writes. Forever.
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