REVIEW: ‘Concrete Rose’ by Angie Thomas was a fantastic first Book Club pick


The Bookstacked Book Club has begun, and our first pick ‘Concrete Rose’ was an undeniable success.

If you listened to our latest Bookmarked episode, you’ll have heard us all rave about Concrete Rose. Here are our thoughts, summarised.

From the Blurb:

With his King Lord dad in prison and his mom working two jobs, seventeen-year-old maverick Carter helps the only way he knows how: slinging drugs. Life’s not perfect, but he’s got everything under control. Until he finds out he’s a father…

Suddenly it’s not so easy to deal drugs and finish school with a baby dependent on him for everything. So when he’s offered the chance to go straight, he takes it. But when King Lord blood runs through your veins, you don’t get to just walk away.

Listen to our book club discussion:

Michael Burns: If it wasn’t clear enough before, it should be obvious to everyone now: Angie Thomas is a very good writer. Expanding on the characters and stories introduced in her meteorically successful 2016 debut, The Hate U Give, was always going to be difficult, but Thomas has taken the challenge and made it look easy. Concrete Rose weaves together extremely vivid character and situational studies with exceptional storytelling to present a novel that knows what it wants to be, and achieves exactly what it sets out to achieve. 4.5 stars.

Britani Overman: Angie Thomas throws you right in the middle of Garden Heights without skipping a beat! It’s rare that a female author can write from the male perspective so well, but Thomas does just that! The dialect, culture and generational legacies in Concrete Rose will take you out of your reality and put you smack dab in the middle of Maverick Carter’s. Sometimes I forgot this was a prequel but little nuggets sprinkled throughout the story reminded me and made the story that much more enticing! When you see where Maverick Carter started and who he is in The Hate U Give, you believe that anything is possible despite your beginning. 4.5 stars.

Spencer Miller: It’s my personal policy to give “5-stars” to everything Angie Thomas does. She is an all-time talent and we are blessed to have her writing for young people. Concrete Rose is the perfect prequel. It feels inseparable from The Hate U Give. Maverick’s story is one you won’t soon forget. 5 stars.

Saul Marquez: Readers will feel an instant connection with Maverick Carter, a teenager who’s forced to confront some very difficult but real issues at a young age. At times funny, but often serious and always relevant, this is an emotional story budding with beautiful characters that will stay with readers for years to come. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book this good. 5 stars.

Eleanor Maher: Concrete Rose is an incredibly thought-provoking look into the lives of young Black men. It is packed full of unique, well-rounded characters, and a storyline that will keep you hooked from beginning to end. Angie Thomas has perfectly mixed humour and hard-hitting moments in this highly-anticipated prequel to The Hate U Give. However, you don’t need to have read THUG before this — reading Concrete Rose first was an interesting experience that developed my love for Maverick Carter, and made my reading of THUG that much more special. 5 stars.

Head on over to our first Book Club Podcast to listen to our full discussion about Concrete Rose!

Concrete Rose


We can all agree that Angie Thomas has created yet another masterpiece in Concrete Rose.

This article was brought to you by members of the Bookstacked Team.

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