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Concrete Rose
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Concrete Rose
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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...
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...
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  • 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.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from November 30, 2020
    In this prequel to The Hate U Give, Thomas delves into the upbringing of Maverick Carter, the father of THUG’s protagonist, Starr. Mav is one of the subordinates (“li’l homies”) of neighborhood gang the King Lords and the son of one of the gang’s incarcerated OGs. At 17, Mav and his hotheaded best friend, King—both responsible for recruiting and initiating new members and dealing weed for the King Lords—have begun slinging harder drugs on the side, under the gang leaders’ noses. Risking hard time like his father or death like King’s dad by leading a double life, Mav soon finds himself in over his head when he discovers he’s fathered a child by King’s off-and-on girlfriend, who promptly abandons the baby to his care. Convincingly detailing the journey of a young Black man growing into fatherhood, Thomas brings her trademark wit, nostalgic love of the 1990s and all things R&B and hip-hop, and her penchant for heartfelt characterization to this first-person exploration of Maverick Carter’s coming-of-
    age. Through its portrayal of loss and upheaval, this story acts as a tender love letter to a close Black family and community—one that isn’t without problems but is always full of love. Ages 14–up. Agent: Brooks Sherman, Janklow & Nesbit Assoc.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from December 1, 2020

    Gr 9 Up-Maverick "Lil Don" Carter is a 17-year-old King Lord growing up in the Garden Heights district. The King Lords have been in existence long before Maverick was born, so his life has always been steeped in gang culture. Maverick knows that the game can steal family, friends, and time from you. His father Adonis's imprisonment is a testament to that fact. Maverick's cousin Dre and his friend Shawn try to keep Maverick from falling too deep into the game, but Maverick's best friend King keeps finding new ways to convince him to deepen his involvement. The unexpected joys and pains of fatherhood, the death of one of his best friends, and another unexpected pregnancy threaten to break Maverick's tenuous hold on his own sanity. How can he cut ties with the King Lords, raise his son, prepare for another child, and maintain his independence? The pressure Maverick is under yields some startling blooms in this novel about tenacity and rebirth. This is the perfect example of a narrative that straddles the beauty and pain of belonging and having the courage to make your own choices. Maverick Carter, who is Black, is a wonderfully complex character who will resonate with readers of all stripes. Thomas writes with a depth of humor and clarity that really allows readers to bond with the characters. VERDICT This prequel to The Hate U Give is perfect for public and school libraries.-Desiree Thomas, Worthington Lib., OH

    Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from December 1, 2020
    This literary DeLorean transports readers into the past, where they hope, dream, and struggle alongside beloved characters from Thomas' The Hate U Give (2017). The tale begins in 1998 Garden Heights, when Starr's parents, Maverick and Lisa, are high school seniors in love and planning for the future. Thomas proves Game of Thrones-esque in her worldbuilding ability, deepening her landscape without sacrificing intimacy or heart. Garden Heights doesn't contain dragons or sorcerers, but it's nevertheless a kingdom under siege, and the contemporary pressures its royalty faces are graver for the realness that no magic spell can alleviate. Mav's a prince whose family prospects are diminished due to his father's federally mandated absence. He and his best friend, King, are "li'l homies," lower in status and with everything to prove, especially after Mav becomes a father. In a world where masculinity and violence are inextricably linked to power, the boys' very identities are tied to the fathers whose names they bear and with whose legacies they must contend. Mav laments, "I ain't as hard as my pops, ain't as street as my pops," but measuring up to that legacy ends in jail or the grave. Worthy prequels make readers invest as though meeting characters for the first time; here they learn more about the intricate hierarchies and alliances within the King Lord gang and gain deeper insight into former ancillary characters, particularly Mav's parents, King, and Iesha. Characters are Black. A resounding success. (Fiction. 13-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from January 1, 2021
    Grades 9-12 *Starred Review* Thomas delivers a poignant prequel to The Hate U Give (2017) with Concrete Rose, set 17 years prior. Seventeen-year-old Maverick Carter is the son of a former gang member who, nevertheless, follows the same path, selling drugs for the King Lords to help his mom with bills while his dad is in jail. He thinks he has everything figured out until fatherhood stares him in the face in the form of baby Seven. Maverick comes to realize that there's so much more to life that can be lost now that Seven needs him. Then, someone close to Maverick is murdered, leaving him with more hard choices to make. He must define duty, family, and loyalty for himself and figure out if he will--or even can-- leave gang life for good. Thomas already delivered a dynamic, rich character with Maverick as Star's father in The Hate You Give (THUG). This insightful novel lets readers see Maverick as a teen himself and walk a mile in his shoes, before and during his evolution into the man, father, and husband that he is in THUG. Maverick's story is one that offers hope, encouragement, and optimism, and it shows those going through difficult times of their own that they can take control of their own destiny.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: THUG fans--and there are a lot--will relish the chance to dig into Maverick's teenage experiences and meet Thomas at one of her many virtual events.

    COPYRIGHT(2021) Booklist, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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