book review: concrete rose, by angie thomas


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.

Hello, friends!

As I talked about a few posts ago, Concrete Rose was one of my most anticipated releases of 2021 and I’m so happy that not only I’ve already read it, but that I also enjoyed it as much as I did. Even though The Hate U Give is not one of my favorite books of all times, I loved Big Mave’s character enough to be excited about a prequel focusing on his life, that like I said, did not disappoint.


  1. The narration & the humor. I didn’t know Angie Thomas’ writing was actually this funny – probably because it’s been a while since I last read THUG, which I read in Portuguese, so it might have been lost in translation. Concrete Rose made me absolutely laugh out loud, though, and Mav’s narration was not only hilarious, but also made me connect with his character very easily.
  2. The contrast between Maverick and Big Mav. I remember reading THUG and just feeling more at ease whenever Big Mav showed up, because I knew he’d know all the right things to say and do. He had amazing advice and a reliable, trustworthy aura about him of someone that has all his shit together. How amazing it was to read about him here, as a 17 year old that has absolutely NOTHING together? I loved it! Knowing how great of a father he’ll become to his kids, it was particular emotional following his journey through parenthood and, overall, his journey into becoming a man. It was certainly not an easy path, but it made me grow even more admiration towards the character when I got to learn what he’s been through and how much he had to do in order to become the Big Mav we know.
  3. The discussion on how what happens to the characters is a symptom of something much larger. I think Angie Thomas did a brilliant job at crafting Maverick’s narrative to talk about issues that impact, mostly, communities of color. When we see Maverick becoming a teen father, when we see Maverick drug dealing, or joining a gang, all these things can not and should not be taken out of context. Because they’re all intertwined. One thing leads to the other, that is also connected to something even bigger – his family, his dad in prison, society, the government, education. All these problems are related to one another, and Concrete Rose makes that explicit in a very well-done way.
  4. Amazing focus on community. It takes a village to raise a kid, and I loved how the book approached that. While in THUG, we see Starr being divided between two worlds – her predominantly white school and her predominantly black neighborhood -, Concrete Rose focuses solely on Garden Heights. The characters we get to see – Mr. Wyatt, who gives Maverick his first job; Dre, his cousin and best friend who has the best advice, Maverick’s mom and even the woman next door who looks after baby Seven. I loved the focus on community that the book had and how all the characters were developed.


Obviously, I adored this book, so there isn’t a lot for me to say here.

These aren’t things that bothered me, but beware that: this book doesn’t have that much plot and focuses mostly on character development; and it also reads as an older-YA book. While it doesn’t go into as many dark topics as THUG, I feel like the focus on, specifically the dynamic between Seven/Maverick and overall the protagonist’s journey into parenthood will probably be more appreciated by a slightly more mature audience.

(Not to say that 13 year olds can’t read this and understand and connect with it a lot, though!)

IMG_7115Overall, Concrete Rose was a fantastic prequel to THUG – it made me want to re-read the first book immediately! It was emotional seeing the beginning of it all, and kinda how these characters became the people they are today. Reading about baby Khalil definitely brought me to tears!

As someone who didn’t give THUG 5 stars, I appreciated Concrete Rose infinitely more. They’re very different reads, but I think both deliver important takes on the black community from very different perspectives, which I love.


Have you read Concrete Rose or The Hate U Give? If so, what are your thoughts? Let’s chat in the comments!

8 comentários sobre “book review: concrete rose, by angie thomas

  1. This was a great review!! I really enjoyed reading THUG and I’ve been anticipating getting to Concrete Rose! I’m so happy to know you enjoyed it 🥰🥰

    Curtido por 1 pessoa

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