Book Reviews, YA book reviews

Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas – ARC Review

My Rating ~ Five Stars

RELEASE DATE:  12 January 2021

Format: Paperback

Publisher: Walker Books

RRP: AU$18.99

Blurb

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.

1

Review

Thank you to Walker Books for providing me with a copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review!

I can’t even tell you how high up on my most anticipated reads this book was, and it was everything I hoped it would be!  I preordered a hardcover of this about 20 seconds after it was available, because I just knew Angie Thomas would give me another new favourite book.

This one follows the life of 17 year old Maverick Carter, Starr from The Hate U Give’s dad, as he navigates school, his place on the streets, being a new father and what he needs to do to juggle it all.  I absolutely loved Maverick in T.H.U.G, so watching him grow up in this book was both brilliant and heartbreaking.  Seeing the situations and events that shaped his world, and the advice he passed down to his own children, just enriched T.H.U.G that much more.  I loved the way Maverick was just so real.  The struggles he faced between what he thought it meant to be a man, what he thought everyone else wanted from him, and whether he truly wanted to go down that path himself will be relatable for so many young people.  His life was far from easy, and although he admitted to his mistakes, that didn’t make the path forward any less of a load to carry.  How do you care for a baby on your own, when you’re a child yourself, with no money, a job that doesn’t pay what you need and you’re trying to graduate high school?  There’s a short term easier solution and a long term harder one.  Maverick had some truly wonderful family and neighbours around him, but when they’re struggling too, there’s no free pass.  Stereotypes surrounding teen pregnancy, drug dealers and fatherhood roles are all examined in this powerful story, along with grief and family relationships.

There were some moments in Concrete Rose where I was sure I knew what was going to happen – it’s a prequel after all, but Angie still managed to surprise me (as well as make me cry).  If you loved T.H.U.G., you will absolutely want to read this book.  I wanted to hide away from the world and devour it all in one sitting.  Get your hands on this one as soon as you can!

Image from my Instagram account

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