Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas

In Garden Heights, 17-year-old Maverick Carter is many things: a dutiful son, a loving boyfriend and a conflicted member of the King Lords gang. The one thing he’s not prepared to be is a father, but when he finds out he has a three-month-old son, that’s exactly what he has to become. Responsibility is thrust upon him, forcing him to make tough choices and learn what it really means to be a man.

Set 17 years before Angie Thomas’ critically acclaimed novel The Hate U Give, Concrete Rose is ostensibly a prequel but stands on its own as an earnest and heartfelt story of love, fatherhood, and growing up. Maverick is a brilliant protagonist who tells his story with an intensely expressive and infectiously likeable voice, all while facing the world with a kindness and honesty that is inspiring to see in a male hero. Indeed, Concrete Rose is full of good men: fathers, cousins and mentors who aren’t afraid to show love or share their feelings – men who are sometimes flawed but never irredeemable.

Although it lacks the electrifying political immediacy of The Hate U Give, Concrete Rose never shies away from confronting social issues, whether it’s the cycles of violence that fill graves with fathers and sons, or the way drug dealing offers a costly and dangerous escape from poverty. Maverick’s story is equal parts heartbreaking and empowering; it’s the perfect excuse to revisit The Hate U Give, but also stands tall as an excellent novel in its own right. For ages 14+.

Joe Murray works as a bookseller at Readings Kids.

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Concrete Rose

Concrete Rose

Angie Thomas

$18.99Buy now

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