by Angie Thomas
YA Historical Fiction
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.
Oh God, where do I even start with this book? I loved it. I loved it so much. I have always been a big fan of Angie Thomas, particularly On The Come Up, so when I heard she was writing a prequel to The Hate U Give all about Maverick, I was ecstatic. I had a feeling it was going to be great, and I was not disappointed.
If you don’t already know, Concrete Rose is set seventeen years before The Hate U Give, and it follows Starr’s dad Maverick when he was a teenager, when he first found out that he was a father to her older brother Seven. Already involved in the drug scene in Garden Heights, he’s determined to go straight to be a proper parent to his kid, but it isn’t as easy as he thinks.
I really loved this. There was so much heart and emotion threaded throughout from start to end, and it felt like I was immediately connected to Maverick as a character from the very first page, which I think is so important for a novel. I really felt for him and his situation, and just the way Thomas wrote his character made him seem so three-dimensional and I was so invested in following his story and his determination.
I also thought the story itself was really gripping, and full of shocking twists and turns that kept me turning the page. When I first heard about this, as much as I was excited, I wondered where she could go with this book, but it felt almost completely natural, like this was a story that needed to be told.
I loved also seeing Maverick, a Black man so open and vulnerable with his feelings. This is something discussed in the book that isn’t seen enough, so I’m really happy that Thomas brought this to life in Concrete Rose and want to see more of this in YA too!