Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas

“Roses, they’re fascinating li’l things. Can handle more than folks think. I’ve had roses in full bloom during an ice storm. They could easily survive without any help.” – Mr Wyatt

**Digital ARC received from Net Galley**

Synopsis: We return to Garden Heights seventeen years before the events in The Hate U Give take place. Maverick Carter is seventeen years old and learning what it takes to be a man. With his father, a former gang legend, in jail and his mom working two jobs, Mav does the only thing he knows to help, sell drugs for the King Lords. While life might be rough at times, he has a girlfriend he loves, and a cousin who is always there to help, everything seems to be cool. Then he finds out that he is a father. Mav must decide on how to best support his son, Seven, and make tough decisions about what to do with his life, to prove that he can amount to something and be a man at the same time. As a prequel, we get to see many familiar characters from The Hate U Give. We are also introduced to many new characters.

Review: One of the best things I did while in library school was read The Hate U Give for my YA Materials class. Angie Thomas did an incredible job of portraying the realities of systemic racism and why the Black Lives Matter movement is so important. Angie does another important job in Concrete Rose by portraying the struggles of a young black man who is expected to do nothing with his life and must make life altering decisions. This is without a doubt, one of the most authentic books I have ever read. From the language that Angie uses, to the rules of the streets that are presented to us, and Mav’s growth within the book. The best part about this being a prequel is that while we know that Mav faces hardships in this book, and in between this book and THUG, we also know that he experiences true joy as well. For many readers, myself included, Concrete Rose acts as a window or a sliding glass door, and of course, and more importantly, for other readers it will act as a mirror. This concept was introduced by Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop (1990 ix-xi) and is also an important concept when it comes to collection development for young readers.

Concrete Rose also comes out at such an important time. During the summer of 2020, there have been numerous protests around the United States for racial and social justice and for an end of the shooting of black people by law enforcement. It also comes out almost a week after the events that transpired on Wednesday, January 6th, 2021, when white Trump supporters were encourage and allowed to storm the Capitol building in Washington DC, highlighting once again the differences in how people of color and white people are treated by law enforcement.

Read: 1/1/2021 – 1/7/2021
Release date: January 12th, 2021; Balzer + Bray
Page count: 320
Rating: ★★★★★
Genre: Contemporary
Audience: Young Adult

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