Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas is a prequel to The Hate U Give. This story follows a lot of storylines that were backstory in The Hate U Give and the Carter family, like how Star got her middle name, and the tricky parenting of Seven. I feel you did not have to read The Hate U give to enjoy this but you will enjoy The Hate U give even more. Where the hate you give was more about race relations and the Black Lives Movement, this novel is more about responsibility and self ownership. I think this is an important story about teen pregnancy, stepping up and being a man, the gang culture, and LGBTQ acceptance. This book is at times corny, hard hitting, raw, and emotional, it will leave you with hope an moral story for working hard does pay off. The story doesn’t pull away from tough talks, like telling parents your going to be a teenage father, again. The novel does manage to tie in to Angie Thomas other novel On the Come Up as well.

The Plot: Maverick or Mav Carter 17 is a low level drug dealer in the King Lords gang, his father is a member that is currently locked up. He joined the gang on his father’s advice that some one would take Mav out to get his father. Mav is not a typical gangster he has a heart and will do the right thing. He is going to get a paternity test, for a baby already named after his best friend King. Mav had a one night stand with his best friend’s off and on again girlfriend. He is the father and the mom runs out of the hospital leaving him with a car seat and some formula. Mav does his best he stops dealing and gets a real job at a small market. He has to now tell his current girlfriend Lisa, not only that he slept with a girl when they briefly broke up but that he got her pregnant.

What I Liked: The story was good even though I new the end results I was very entertained. The LGTBQ I did not remember from The Hate U Give but I really enjoyed it and saw a well established love story. There’s a lot of joking and clowning around that really works, and are used well when relieving tension in scenes. The character of Dre worked really well, and make you feel from him. I loved the talk of being a real man is showing emotions, but not driven by them. The Mr. Wyatt and Mav conversations were always truthful and very real. I like that Mr Wyatt becomes Mav’s surrogate father. I like the name explanation for Seven and Maverick. I love the subtle link to On the Come Up

What I Disliked: I took me a while to get used to all the characters, there’s a lot names we’re thrown into. This book is good but there are some times where a couple corny lines ruin the seriousness. Unfortunately we did talk like that that in the ate 90’s so maybe art of it is a slight embarrassment at my own syntax.

Recommendations: Concrete Rose is good novel that follows Angie Thomas’s great novel The Hate U Give. If you like the Hate U Give and On the Come Up this novel will live up to the those. I recommend you check the Concrete Rose, it is a little lighter on the swear words and there is some adult situations but it is handled with care that won’t be an overload for 13+ young adult audience. I rated The Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas 5 out of 5 stars.

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