Bestselling author Angie Thomas is back with her third future bestseller, Concrete Rose. The prequel to Thomas’ The Hate U Give takes us back to Garden Heights—this time following the patriarch of the Carter family, Maverick. Concrete Rose is Maverick’s journey from gang life to fatherhood. It's an important story of resilience, hope and manhood. If you’re going to devour this one like me, check out these other titles that’ll pique your interest!
As Thomas' latest title draws inspiration from The Rose That Grew From Concrete, I would be remiss not to include Tupac’s iconic collection of poetry. Published posthumously, this collection is all about striving through the strife and loving yourself despite the hardships. The handwritten poems also add a unique, personal touch to the story of the late rapper.
In Becoming Beatriz by Tami Charles, Beatriz’s one goal in life is to become a professional dancer. But when her brother is killed on the day of her quinceañera, her life changes for the worse. Forced to take care of her grief-stricken mother and to be initiated into the same gang as her late brother, Beatriz is falling apart. When the opportunity to dance again arises, Beatriz must choose between her passion and her loyalty to the gang.
A classic book adapted into a graphic novel, Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds tells the story of William Holloman, a teen dealing with the trauma of losing his brother. Paired with watercolor illustrations by Danica Novgorodoff, Long Way Down: The Graphic Novel is an emotionally stunning book that captures the hardships of grief, gun violence and retaliation.
Calling My Name by Liara Tamani is a coming-of-age story that follows Taja Brown from middle school into her senior year of high school. Filled with short moments from different stages of her life, Taja grows up before our eyes. Tamani’s lyrical words capture the joys, pains and uncertainties of growing up and living in your truth.
How excited are you to read Concrete Rose? Let me know in the comments!