Concrete Rose – Angie Thomas

Published by Walker Books

American Angie Thomas’ third novel Concrete Rose packs yet another powerful punch; this prequel to her multi-award-winning debut The Hate u Give returns to the impoverished inner-city ghetto of Garden Heights – modelled on Mississippi’s Georgetown – this time to tell the story of 17-year-old Maverick Carter, a member of the King Lord gang, “slinging” drugs to help pay the bills at home while his dad is in prison. Taking care of his family and his girlfriend and cared for by a close-knit community, Maverick feels so far on top of the transition from boy to man, until the shock discovery that he is a father. Complicated worlds collide as Maverick juggles the complexities of child-raising, drug dealing, gang loyalty and the brutal murder of a loved one, all whilst finishing high school. As ever, Angie Thomas’ beautifully nuanced style is simultaneously raw and delicate, conjuring the brutal reality of coming of age in a world where black lives really do matter. This is YA Fiction that is as vital as it is compelling.