Release Date: 5th January 2021
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Add it: Goodreads
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.
I’ve read all of Angie Thomas’s books so far, and I just had to get my hands on Concrete Rose when I saw it was a prequel to The Hate U Give. I ended up really enjoying it, although I don’t think I felt as connected or immersed as I did with THUG.
I think this is partly because I tend to connect better with female main characters, and obviously this book focuses on Maverick, Starr’s father. I was hugely interested in reading about his life before THUG, and I loved reading about his relationships with different people. But I wasn’t loving him as much as I loved Starr.
Like I said, I really enjoyed the relationships in this book. Seeing Maverick and Lisa together as teenagers was so sweet, although a lot more intense than the stable relationship they have in THUG. It was also great to see Maverick realise Seven is his son, and I loved reading about the two of them bonding. I also really liked reading more about Seven’s mother, and I feel like this book really helps you understand her actions in The Hate U Give a lot more.
The ending wasn’t as intense or mindblowing as I thought it might be. I thought I knew where the book was going but it turns out I didn’t. I’d love to reread this one in the future, perhaps directly after rereading The Hate U Give, to become fully immersed in Garden Heights again. I’d also really love it if Thomas were to write a sequel, because I feel like there’s still a lot more to see of Maverick!