I’ve been telling everyone I talk to that Angie Thomas physically cannot write a bad book. When I saw an ARC of Concrete Rose in the employee freebies bin at work (#bookstoreperks) I grabbed it immediately. I saw it as a good omen for 2021. I may have spoken too soon, c’est la vie.
About The Book:
Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas, published January 12th, 2021 by Balzer + Bray. For readers aged 14+.
Trigger Warnings: gun violence, swearing, death/funeral
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 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.
About The Author:
Angie Thomas was born, raised, and still resides in Jackson, Mississippi as indicated by her accent. She is a former teen rapper whose greatest accomplishment was an article about her in Right-On Magazine with a picture included. She holds a BFA in Creative Writing from Belhaven University and an unofficial degree in Hip Hop. She can also still rap if needed. She is an inaugural winner of the Walter Dean Myers Grant 2015, awarded by We Need Diverse Books. Her award-winning, acclaimed debut novel, The Hate U Give, is a #1 New York Times bestseller and major motion picture from Fox 2000, starring Amandla Stenberg and directed by George Tillman, Jr. Her second novel, On the Come Up, as well as her third novel, Concrete Rose, are on sale now.
Where to Find Angie:
I’m going to try to talk more about the covers of books when I review them, just because they’re such an integral part of the book! Concrete Rose‘s cover was designed by Jenna Stempel-Lobell and illustrated by Cathy Charles! Epic Reads has a great interview with some behind the scenes peaks at some early sketches (which I loved!) Read it here!
As a general preference, I almost always prefer cool colors to warm colors, but the red in this cover is so striking! I love how confident young Mav looks on the cover, given the inner (and let’s be real, outer) turmoil he goes through in the book. I think the cover encapsulates him perfectly. Let’s be honest though, all of Angie’s covers are amazing. Not a flop among them. I’m excited to see what covers I can add to my Angie Thomas collection in the future!
A very enthralling and poignant story. If I’m honest, I was a little bit upset that the synopsis never mentioned the *OTHER* major plot point in the book, but as I’m typing this, I realize that if I’m being vague for fear of spoilers, then maybe they were in the right. IDK, I’m not a professional. I just think it would have been a good “selling point” (for lack of a better term) to show that not only is this book dealing with a black teen parent, but a black teen dealing with his mental health.
I LOVE prequel stories when you get to see the adults you know from the original book as their younger selves (think #parentdale, The Infernal Devices/The Last Hours, or Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes). It was so fun to see Mav, Lisa, and King in their teens. I wasn’t Maverick’s biggest fan in THUG, but I really enjoyed getting inside his head in Concrete Rose, and I’m eager to reread The Hate U Give and see all the Easter eggs that Angie threw in!
My favorite moments were when Maverick was with his family, whether that be his mom, dad and grandma, Dre, or Lisa and Seven (and that tiny bit of Starr at the end!). I’ve always been a sucker for family moments, and Angie did not let me down in Concrete Rose!
Least Favorite Moments?
I’ve never been good with confrontation, so whenever Mav confronted Red, “Carlton”, or his dad, I started anticipating that scene being over. I get way to emotionally invested what characters are going through to find confrontation scenes to be enjoyable, unless there is some sort of big payoff.
Most likely, in conjunction with THUG. I reread THUG about once a year, so I guess I’ll be adding this book to that yearly TBR lol