This book is reviewed by Vidula. To see more of Vidula's reviews please visit her Instagram page.
Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas is a prequel to her bestselling novel The Hate U Give. This book centers on Maverick Carter, a teenager who makes money by selling drugs for a local gang. But when he finds out he’s going to be a father, Maverick’s entire life turns upside down, and he is forced to deal with the struggles of parenthood on top of everything else. Along the way, he grapples with loss and love as he learns what manhood really means. I really enjoyed The Hate U Give, so I had high expectations for this book, and Thomas did not disappoint. Maverick had a very distinct voice; through the way he talked and the analogies he made, I was able to understand his life really well. Although his world is extremely different from mine, Thomas’ immersive writing style made me feel like I was right there with him; she did an impressive job depicting the brutal realities of living in a rough neighborhood like Maverick’s. I also really enjoyed watching Maverick mature throughout the story. When he was given the responsibility of taking care of his baby, Seven, his lifestyle and worldview changed completely, beginning to revolve around his child. It was a heartwarming transition, and it also made some great points about what being a parent means in general, regardless of age, race, or location. Finally, I appreciated the way Thomas handled the idea of manhood in this story. Unfortunately, there is a societal expectation that men should be violent, and shouldn’t openly show love or emotion. Maverick struggled with this idea of masculinity, but ultimately rejected it, and that is a really important message to be sending. This book wove difficult topics like racism, gang violence, and teen pregnancy into a beautiful story, and if you enjoyed The Hate U Give, this is a must read! I would give it a 9.5/10!