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YA Review: Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas

Title: Concrete Rose

Author: Angie Thomas

Year Published: 2021

Category: YA fiction
Pages: 368
Rating: 5 out of 5

Location (my 2021 Google Reading map) USA (MS--it doesn't actually say where this takes place, but the author grew up and lives in Mississippi so I am saying that's the location)

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): 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.

Review: Angie Thomas does it again. I think this book is as good as The Hate U Give and better than On the Come Up. How's that for a review opening?!

I'm going to say something controversial: I like it when authors don't just put BIPOC characters in stereotypical roles and I am surprised that Angie Thomas does this. This book has young black men as drug-selling gang members, fathers at seventeen years old, and with dads in prison. But, there is hope in this novel as well. 

The main character, Maverick, and his family are so tight-knit and caring. Both his mom and dad love him, want him to succeed, and support him in all that he does. His extended family is the same. And, Maverick himself starts to get his act together throughout the book and I felt hopeful for a generational change at the end.

I liked the characters, the story, and the writing. If you liked Angie Thomas' previous books, then this one will win you over for sure.  

Challenges for which this counts: 
  • Diversity--Black characters and author
  • Literary Escapes--Illinois and Tennessee
  • Popsugar--a rock (concrete, yeah, it's a stretch) in the title

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