Book Club Pick: March 2021
Title: Concrete Rose
Authors: Angie Thomas
Series: Prequel to The Hate U Give
Country: United States of America
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
First Published: 2021
A searing exploration of Black manhood set seventeen years before the events of The Hate U Give.
With his King Lord dad in prison and his mom working two jobs, seventeen-year-old Maverick Carter helps the only way he knows how: slinging drugs. Life’s not prefect, but he’s got everything under control. Until he finds out he’s a father…
Suddenly its not so easy to deal drugs and finish school with a baby dependent on him for everything. So when he’s offered the chance to go straight, he takes it. But when King Lord blood runs through your veins, you don’t get to just walk away.
Concrete Rose is a prequel to Thomas’ 2017 debut novel The Hate U Give, which followed sixteen-year-old Starr Carter after witnessing the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a white police officer. The prequel set in the late 1990s tells the story of Starr’s father, Maverick as a seventeen-year-old high school senior and a junior member of King Lords gang.
Maverick’s father is in prison and he is being raised by his working-class mother Faye. After a DNA test Maverick finds that he fathered a son in a one-night stand when he was on a break from his current girlfriend Lisa. Soon after he is left with infant son when the baby’s mother Iesha disappears.
He is determined to put drug dealing behind him provide for his son Seven by working at Mr. Wyatt’s grocery store.
Both The Hate U Give and On the Come Up featured a strong young black woman as the protagonist. It was interesting to see Thomas tackle the voice of the young black male and address issues of masculinity, gang life, gun violence and teen fatherhood.
It is not necessary to have read The Hate U Give as Concrete Rose is a stand alone story. Readers of the first novel will know where Maverick’s story ends and will appreciate exploring the characters of Garden Heights further.
I borrowed this book from my public library.