Series: THUG #0
Published by Balzer + Bray on 12 January 2021
Genres: Historical, Young Adult
Source: Kindle Purchase
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.
Oh my gosh, Brandee. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely adored Concrete Rose. I love that Thomas used AAVE both for the inner thoughts and for the dialogues, because it made the whole story stand out to me as very authentic and realistic. What did you think of that choice?
I can’t imagine anything more perfect than AThomas giving us Concrete Rose. There was more story left after The Hate U Give – it just happened to be the story that came before. And I adored it as well. The fact that AThomas used AAVE for both the inner dialog as well as for the dialogues gave Mav’s story the richness it deserved. Very authentic and genuine.
Another thing I really enjoyed was going back in time from THUG and learning more about the whole dynamics between Mav, King, Iesha and Lisa. I loved both Lisa and Mav so much, especially Lisa, who had a plan, who did her best to stick to it. Who was your favorite character in Concrete Rose, wifey?
Oh geez. Favorite? I’m going to make that plural and go with Mav, Lisa, Dre (because I adored him!), and Seven. I loved Mav for being himself. There was no question about whether or not he’d take care of his baby. I may not have always liked how he went about it but I admired him for being accountable. Lisa was the girl with a plan and even though there were a few bumps along her path, she was going to stick to it – with a few adjustments. Dre was the brother Mav didn’t have, always looking out for him, providing moral support. Even though I knew what happened with Dre I kept hoping for a different outcome. And finally, Seven. He was cuteness and perfection. 🙂
Of course, I also loved Mav’s mom. She is one spectacular woman, doing her job as a mom, and also trying to live her life at the same time. The way she’d get mad at Mav when he did something stupid, but also was so completely there for him made her the best mom I’ve read in a YA story in a long time. Do you have any thoughts of her as a mom?
I admired AThomas for her portrayal of a mom like Mav’s. Faye was absolutely spectacular in her ability to be a mom, give Mav the skills he needed for life, provide backup and advice, and give him what-for when necessary. That she could do all that, as essentially a single mom, but also take time to live her life as well? Yeah, she was a YA mom I adored.
I underlined so many things in this novel, because my feels were so incredibly involved. The way Mav had to fight on so many fronts at the same time also showed a lot of strength. There were just so many changes for him in such a short amount of time. I couldn’t choose a single favorite quote for the life of me, though. Do you have one? (Or how many do you have?) I have underlined 13 quotes, but I’m sure I could have easily gotten more.
I read Concrete Rose in hardcover so I actually didn’t highlight any quotes. I will say that I loved it EVERY TIME that Mav had to explain Seven’s name. 😉 My emotions were definitely all over the place with all that Mav had thrown at him and the way he handled it all. It kinda broke my heart that he kept feeling weak – like when he’d hide his face with his shirt when he cried, or when he couldn’t follow through on something he felt he should be able to do. (as an aside, I also loved Adonis’ reaction to finding out Mav didn’t follow through) Mav was one of the strongest 17 year olds I’ve ever read. I loved him just as much here, if not more, as I did in The Hate U Give.
I was also very touched by how Mav dealt with his grief. There’s a quote about that ‘Mr. Wyatt says grief hit you in waves. Sometimes it pull me out to sea and take me under. No wonder it’s hard to breathe as I cry.’ That one really stuck with me, because it’s so very true. Grief really is like waves, sometimes, very gently, and other times completely devastating. Sometimes expected, and other times it hits totally by surprise. What do you think about Mav and grief?
My heart broke right along with Mav’s and I appreciated the way AThomas conveyed how Mav dealt with his grief. That is a beautiful quote and I absolutely agree. Grief does come in waves and sometimes it hits you out of nowhere and sometimes it gently pulls at you. He dealt with each wave as it came and AThomas gave us a very realistic look at how it affected him.
I’m going to have to get a copy of Concrete Rose to donate to the library at my school, because I want my students to be able to read this. And as I told you yesterday, it would be awesome to use both THUG and Concrete Rose in class at one point. The raw feelings, and the way the perspective is so deeply entrenched in a Black neighborhood, explaining that not all choices are truly choices just got to me.
I’ll happily bring you a copy in October to donate to your library, wifey. 🙂 I actually believe that The Hate U Give and Concrete Rose should be required reading. At least here in the U.S. It deftly describes life in a Black neighborhood, life as a Black, in a way that is emotional and meaningful. And I’d like to believe it could change perspectives. Thinking on this, I have to mention I liked what Mav had to say about what he was learning in U.S. history. I have to believe that’s probably how a lot of POC feel.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: