Cassidy Tyler

POIGNANT PREQUEL. Concrete Rose, Angie Thomas’ third novel and prequel to The Hate U Give, was released this past January and Angie Thomas’ fans are pleased to see the backstory of Maverick Carter executed so well.

      In February of 2017, Angie Thomas released her debut novel, The Hate U Give. Almost immediately, the book became an internet sensation as its inspiring, witty writing brought attention to poignant racial justice issues that are prevalent in today’s modern society. A few weeks ago, on January 12th of 202, The Hate U Give’s prequel, Concrete Rose was released. In the novel, Thomas follows Maverick Carter, the father of the protagonist in The Hate U Give.


       To add some context, Concrete Rose takes place 17 years before the events of The Hate U Give and gives an in-depth look into Maverick Carter as he learns to balance being a father, school, and caring for his already struggling family. The book explores themes of toxic masculinity, gender roles, family, and breaking stereotypes. 


       Despite Maverick working as a drug dealer at the beginning of the novel, Angie Thomas explored the reasons behind his actions and Maverick’s journey to the life he leads in The Hate U Give, “…he’s going to be involved in things that people stereotypically associated with Black men. How do I fight against that? And for me, it was again about looking at the person, looking at the why…” said Angie Thomas, author of Concrete Rose to NPR. 


       Thomas wanted to take the stereotypical image of a Black man and turn it into a more accurate portrayal of things that she had seen and heard while growing up. In order to ensure the narrative of Concrete Rose was as accurate as possible Thomas talked to young black men, read books by black men, and asked some of the men she talked with to read early drafts of the book. Thomas put forth so much effort to tell Maverick’s story in a way that was similar to others in the same situation and tell people who did not have that experience what it was like. 


       The novel focuses on gender roles with Maverick feeling like he has to keep all his emotions bottled up and the idea that in his father’s absence he is naturally his family’s provider. Thomas had seen how often Black men, in particular, are made to seem like robots, they don’t cry, they don’t get to have the full spectrum of emotions, and wanted to show an actually realistic character, “I wanted scenes in Concrete Rose where Maverick is vulnerable, where he cries, where he’s gentle because we don’t get enough of that” Thomas said to Buzzfeed News. 


         In only 280 pages Angie Thomas managed to create a beautiful story showcasing a Black male that is designed to be relatable, not an impossible idol.