Thursday, January 14, 2021

Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas

Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas 
Release Date - January 12, 2021
Publisher Website -  Harper Collins Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 320 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received for an honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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.

There are those books you pick up knowing you are going to be immersed in something icredible. Those books that you know are going to be good before you even turn to the first page. I knew that Concrete Rose was going to be a great reading experience, but it might also be Angie Thomas' best book to date.

Maverick Carter, Starr's father from The Hate U Give, takes the focus in this historically set novel that showcases how he became the man we meet in The Hate U Give. While it may technically be considered historical I think that as a coming of age story this book will still easily resonate with young readers.

Some books are mirrors and others are windows. This book is obviously a window for me as a reader but I am most excited for those who will find this to be a mirror to discover this book. Representation is important and Angie Thomas has created a beautiful, affirming story of a black teen finding his way. It can (and should) be enjoyed by everyone but I think this book will offer pure magic when it finds those readers it will most resonate with.

Logically I knew how close in age Seven and Starr were while reading The Hate U Give. I, however, did not get how hard that would have been on Maverick until I read this book. The Hate U Give's Maverick is so put together that it just doesn't register in the way that it should until you experience it in this book. It gave me a different perspective on the character which I think is entirely the point. There is a sympathy brought out in the reader for the choices he has to make and a deeper appreciation for the character we know he becomes.

This book really showcases the power and need for a strong support system. Maverick has people who care about him surrounding him. These people care enough to let him make mistakes and encourage him to own up to those mistakes. It is easier to believe in yourself when you know others believe in you and not everyone is afforded that gift. I really enjoyed all the supporting characters and their role in shaping Maverick's path both for the positive and negative.

If you loved The Hate U Give you will absolutely want to pick up Concrete Rose. Angie Thomas once again provides a book that is thought provoking, well written, compulsively readable, and engaging. It really is a must read for young adult fans.

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