Friday, January 29, 2021

Book Review: Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas


Title: Concrete Rose
Series: The Hate U Give #0
Author: Angie Thomas
Publisher: Walker Books
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Social Movement
Format: Paperback
Publication Date: January 12th 2021
Pages: 304

Synopsis (Goodreads): 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.


My rating: 4 / 5 ★

Concrete Rose is the prequel to The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, taking place seventeen years before everything that happened in THUG. I haven't had the chance to read THUG yet actually (although I've owned a copy of it for years already), but it did not affect my reading at all for Concrete Rose.

The story tells about seventeen-year-old Maverick Carter, who finds it natural to follow the path of his former gang legend father. Dealing with the King Lords, drug dealing, whatever it was, as long as he could provide for his family, he was content with it. He has a beautiful girlfriend, and a cousin who will always back him up no matter what, so life was good enough for Mav. But when a mistake ends him up with a baby in his life, Mav will have to rethink about his life decisions if he plans to keep himself and his family together.

I think what's most endearing about Concrete Rose is that Mav did not run away the moment he found out he had a baby. He accepted the fact that he was the father, despite the fears that he had. I expected a teenage boy would have fled the moment the truth came out, but surprisingly that was not the case at all with Maverick Carter. Sure, there had been moments where Mav wanted to give up, but all new parents would've had the same fleeting thought; parenting is difficult after all.

I never had the experience to see how a baby is taken cared of for 24 hours, so this book made me appreciate my parents and all other parents out there for never giving up on their child. I knew taking care of a child would not be easy all the time, but just... wow. I guess I did underestimate the hardships a little, after all.

I would say that there are two things that made me love and appreciate Concrete Rose so much:

1) The fact that Mav did not give up on his son. He tried his best for his baby, and he did all he could for it. Just because he did a mistake, and just because he was young, he did not make it an excuse to screw up more. Even when one of his loved ones was murdered, which threatened to break him, he still held on to the responsibilities that he has for his family, and I believe that's what makes him a real man.

2) Actual responsible and caring adults. I've always had a problem with contemporary young adult books: they always seem to lack adult characters that are good for the main characters. Mav's mother is amazing. Some mothers would've given up on their child or be constantly angry, for what she had to go through, yet Mav's mother never did it. Sure, she probably went through disappointments towards her son, but she never gave up on him and was constantly there to guide him. I guess that's why Mav never gave up on his own son. Mr. Wyatt is another great adult character as well in Concrete Rose. He might've been seen as someone too strict or prudent, but he wanted the best for Mav as well. He helped Mav a lot in his own ways.

Overall, Concrete Rose is a beautiful book about family, loss and the responsibilities of being a parent and towards those that you love. It has its fair share of intensity, but I think it's still a rather light read that I could enjoy without getting too overwhelmed. For those that have read and loved The Hate U Give, I'm sure your experience reading Concrete Rose would be more pleasing. But for those who haven't picked up THUG yet like me, Concrete Rose can still be read as a wonderful standalone novel. I do think reading THUG after this will feel great nonetheless, as I've read how Mav went through his early phase of  fatherhood.

Many thanks to Pansing for sending me this ARC in exchange for my honest review. Concrete Rose is now available in all good bookstores!


Mr. Wyatt don't say anything for a real long time.

He sighs. "Son, one of the biggest lies ever told is that Black men don't feel emotions. Guess it's easier to not see us as human when you think we're heartless. Fact of the matter is, we feel things. Hurt, pain, sadness, all of it. We got a right to show them feelings as much as anybody else."

Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'


Texture used on image from LcyHi.

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