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Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas

--Staff Picks Teens

Concrete Rose

Angie Thomas
Published: 2021
Age Range: 13+
Genre: young adult fiction

Concrete Rose is New York Times Best-selling author, Angie Thomas’s third book. A prequel to The Hate U Give, Concrete Rose tells the story of Maverick Carter (father of Starr) as a teenager in the ’90s. At 17 years old, Mav is in a gang (his father was the leader before being sent to jail) and selling drugs to help his mom pay the bills. He has an amazing girlfriend and is enjoying life in Garden Heights, for the most part. Then his best friend’s girl gives birth and the baby looks an awful lot like Maverick (they had a one night stand). He takes a DNA test and sure enough the baby is his. The mother hands the baby over and all but disappears, avoiding phone calls and hiding from him. Responsible for an infant (and heavily encouraged by his cousin/ fellow gang member), Maverick quits selling drugs and gets a job at the local grocer.

Things are tough. Money is extremely tight. The gang is giving him grief. His girlfriend is pissed off. He’s failing school. And there’s a devastating drive by shooting that rocks Mav’s life.

If you’ve read The Hate U Give, you know how Maverick turns out, but it’s still a fascinating story to see how he started. To go from being a “gang banger” to an amazing father and local business owner is inspiring. I always liked grown up Maverick, but seeing him as a teenager made me love him even more. The same with Lisa (Starr’s mother) – she’s a no bull kind of woman.

This is a worthy addition to Thomas’s oeuvre and will sure to be another hit.

Keep an eye out for Easter Eggs to both The Hate U Give and Thomas’s other novel, On the Come Up.