Angie Thomas’ latest novel, “Concrete Rose” is the prequel to her best-selling book, “The Hate U Give.” It is the backstory of Starr Carter’s father, Maverick Carter, he’s 17-years-old, caught up in a gang, selling drugs, and about to flunk out of high school.
Ms. Thomas is an excellent writer and sometimes prequels or sequels can be a skeleton of the original story. Thomas’ “Concrete Rose” lives up to all the hype of its predecessor. This is the first novel Thomas narrates for a man’s perspective. Both “The Hate U Give” and “On The Come Up” were narrated from a young, Black woman’s point of view. This story from Maverick’s viewpoint was spot on. I felt the pressure, the rejection, the low expectations hurled at him throughout the novel. You can feel the “tough love” and the pain as he struggles through his journey.
One of the main themes of this story was one of dreams. Maverick finds with all the increasing pressure on him that he is just living to survive another day. Those who really care about him want him to look further towards plans for the future. To embrace another way of life, pushing towards goals and something beyond the impoverished Garden.
This story was very inspirational and it gives a realistic perspective of the pressure and trappings of young Black men and women lower class neighborhoods. The stereotypes fulfilled, perpetuated and proliferated. This book offers another way. It offers a way out. It offers hope in a dark place.