As emotional a ride as The Hate U Give ... and just as worthy a read.


Maverick "Mav" Carter (17) is known in the neighborhood as the son of a King Lord gang legend. While his father is in prison, Maverick has taken up drug trafficking to get money to help his mom, who is working two jobs to make ends meet. He's feeling like everything is going along just fine ... until Iesha drops of their 3-month-old son Seven. Now he is taking care of a baby, going to high school, and running drugs. He knows he has to get a legit job so he doesn't go to jail and can take care of Seven, but it isn't easy.

NOTE: Contains content that may be triggering for some readers. This is not "light" reading.

BTSYA / Teen Reader (16):
The plot is a little quieter than The Hate U Give (THUG), and it really allows Thomas’s gorgeous writing to shine through. All of the characters are created with thought and charm, which makes this story based on family dynamics all the more interesting. The story is definitely an emotional rollercoaster on par with the original. Thomas is great at setting up the stakes and presenting conflict. The emotional beats all hit very hard. This isn’t a light novel, nor one that’s easy to breeze through mentally.

There are a number of heavy themes (e.g., racism, gang violence), so be careful if these might be triggering. Thomas handles these topics really well, so this is also pretty educational for readers a little unfamiliar with them. The more you read, the more things you find. Angie Thomas is a fantastic writer, so this was something I enjoyed rereading.

Concrete Roses is great for high schoolers and young adults. There are some mature themes, so do know what you’re getting into. This isn’t something you’d want to read just once, so it makes a great gift! Readers who liked THUG definitely love this book. Fans of contemporary in general will enjoy her works.

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Powerful, evocative writing and exceptional characters will have readers raving about this book as soon as they finish ... and maybe even re-reading The Hate U Give.

Content Awareness Factors:

Characters use profanity and racial slurs. The plot contains sexual situations, violence, negative stereotypes, and drugs. This content could be triggering for some readers.

Type of Book:
This is a prequel to The Hate U Give where Maverick (Starr's father) is a teen.
Educational Themes:

This is a coming-of-age story about family, but it is also a realistic depiction of reality for many youths, the choices they make (or which are forced on them), and the prices they pay for those choices.

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
16 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
15 and Up
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer's Age:
Purchase Recommendation:
Buy. There is a lot to the story and every time you read it, you'll discover a little more.

Title Concrete Rose

The Hate U Give, Book 0

Author Angie Thomas
Publisher Balzer + Bray, Imprint HarperCollins Publishers © 2021
ISBN 9780062846716
Material Hard Cover
Cost $19.99
Genres Historical Fiction, Realism | Realistic Fiction, Urban Fiction, Social Issues
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