“You’re gonna do whatever you have to do, Maverick,” she says. “That’s what being a parent means. Your child is now your responsibility. You’ll be changing his diapers. You’ll be feeding him. You’ll be dealing with him in the middle of the night. You-”
“Had my whole life turned upside down, and she don’t care.”
Maverick (Mav) Carter was one of my favourite characters in The Hate U Give and I have always been fascinated by his back story, so of course I pre-ordered this and read it almost immediately.
Concrete Rose is told from Maverick’s point of view, starting when Lisa is his girlfriend and King is his friend. King is already involved in selling drugs and is flashing his money around. I already disliked King and my opinion of him definitely did not change, but it was interesting to see how he became the person we know from The Hate U Give. There are a lot of familiar characters. Carlos is very different in Concrete Rose, he’s still fiercely protective of his sister, but he’s also a bit of a dick about it. Iesha is still irritating, but I started to understand her a lot more. We meet her as she’s struggling with baby Seven. She makes some awful decisions but I sympathised with her. Watching how the characters grow into the people I knew and (for the most part) loved was one of my favourite things about this book, and I loved that it made me sympathise with people I couldn’t stand before. I will never get enough of them and their world.
When Maverick finds out he’s a dad, it changes everything for him. As a parent, I really felt for him. I struggled with it as a married 26 year old with her own home; I cannot imagine how hard it would be for someone in Maverick’s situation and I really admired the way that he stepped up and did what was needed to care for his son. Some parts were really hard to read; I just wanted to reach into the pages, take the baby and let the poor guy get some sleep.
I adored Maverick’s mum. She is so supportive and brilliant. She helps him, but she makes him take responsibility for his child and care for him himself. I would read a book just about her. She seems to have had a fascinating life and there’s a lot going on with her in the background of this book.
Maverick makes a lot of changes, but it’s hard for him to stay out of the drug world when the jobs he can get don’t pay well, he has to study, and he has to care for his son. He has people around him who care for him and try to help, but it’s a hard struggle for him and contrasts so strongly with the flashy life style that King is leading. King’s involvement in drugs brings a lot of tension, gun violence, death and grief. It is hard to read at times, but brilliantly written.
Lisa and Maverick’s relationship goes through some rocky times in this book and it often seems like they won’t make it. I loved the way Angie ended this book, I won’t spoiler but if you liked The Hate U Give, you’ll love it.
Concrete Rose was one of the books I was most hyped for this year and it did not disappoint.