cover image Concrete Rose

Concrete Rose

Angie Thomas. HarperTeen/Balzer + Bray, $19.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-284671-6

In this prequel to The Hate U Give, Thomas delves into the upbringing of Maverick Carter, the father of THUG’s protagonist, Starr. Mav is one of the subordinates (“li’l homies”) of neighborhood gang the King Lords and the son of one of the gang’s incarcerated OGs. At 17, Mav and his hotheaded best friend, King—both responsible for recruiting and initiating new members and dealing weed for the King Lords—have begun slinging harder drugs on the side, under the gang leaders’ noses. Risking hard time like his father or death like King’s dad by leading a double life, Mav soon finds himself in over his head when he discovers he’s fathered a child by King’s off-and-on girlfriend, who promptly abandons the baby to his care. Convincingly detailing the journey of a young Black man growing into fatherhood, Thomas brings her trademark wit, nostalgic love of the 1990s and all things R&B and hip-hop, and her penchant for heartfelt characterization to this first-person exploration of Maverick Carter’s coming-of- age. Through its portrayal of loss and upheaval, this story acts as a tender love letter to a close Black family and community—one that isn’t without problems but is always full of love. Ages 14–up. [em]Agent: Brooks Sherman, Janklow & Nesbit Assoc. (Jan.) [/em]