Concrete Rose (The Hate U Give #0)

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 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 Maverick finds out he’s a father.

Suddenly he has a baby who depends on him for everything. 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.

— — —

Concrete Rose is the prequel novel to bestselling YA book and movie, The Hate U Give. It follows the story of Maverick Carter as a teenager, leading into the births of his eldest two children, Seven and Starr.

Sidenote: The film is currently available on Disney Plus for anyone who has the standard membership and I highly recommend watching it!

I have been anticipating Concrete Rose since the author first announced it a couple of years ago and was not disappointed. It has the same great storytelling that made Thomas’ first novel an instant hit, as well as positive messages.

Even though I did enjoy reading Maverick’s story, it is my least favourite of Angie Thomas’ books to date. This is entirely due to the fact that we already know most of Maverick’s story and there were no surprises. It was easy to see where she was taking the book from the beginning, and although this book portrays some characters, like King, from a different perspective, anyone who has read The Hate U Give knows the general plot of this book.

For this reason, I would still recommend this book, but I particularly recommend it to anyone who is not familiar with the author, and insist you begin the series with Concrete Rose.

This book contains themes of drug use and distribution, underage sex (between two willing minors who are the same age, and it is not graphic), and gang violence. My general rule of thumb is that if the main characters in a book are teenagers then it is appropriate for teenagers to reader. However, some parents may disagree and I would not recommend this book for children 13 or under.

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