Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas

The phenomenal Angie Thomas has given us an early Valentine’s Day gift with this kick ass origin story of Maverick, the boy who grows up to be Starr’s strict, kind father in The Hate U Give.

Maverick Carter has been doing a pretty good job of being the man of the family since his father Adonis went to prison. His older cousin Dre, his smart, beautiful girlfriend Lisa, and his hard working mom help keep him on the straight and narrow, even when his best friend King tries to convince him to sell hard drugs and get more involved in the King Lords gang. Even though he could use the extra cash, Dre makes Maverick steer clear and instead take a job stocking groceries at Mr. Wyatt’s store. Then Maverick’s world is shaken by three cataclysmic events: he finds out that his one-night- stand with homegirl Iesha has resulted in a baby that is one hundred percent his; one of his beloved friends is murdered; and then Lisa tells him she’s also pregnant with his child. Devastated by loss and exhausted by life as a new father, Maverick’s grades start to slip and his bank account empties. Suddenly getting back into the gang life is looking like the only way out. Will Maverick get sucked back into the King Lords? Fans of The Hate U Give know exactly what path Maverick takes, but this stunning story of love, grief and choices stands on it’s own even if you haven’t read THUG.

It was such a joy to read this book alongside my copy of The Hate U Give, and meet these characters again as their younger selves. Reading about the fate of certain characters broke my heart, while others made it sing. And just like in The Hate U Give, there’s plenty of Tupac references to go around, including the title, which is a play on the title of Tupac’s book of poetry, The Rose that Grew From Concrete. Whether you are an Angie Thomas newbie or die hard fan of her writing, you will definitely want to pick (up) this irresistible Rose!

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