Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas | Book Review [no spoilers!]

hi fam how are you, it is I, Smriti and today i have 
a book review for you i am so excited about  
this because it is a book that was part of my most 
anticipated reads of 2021 and i am so glad it came  
out in January because ever since i found out that 
this was going to happen i was dying to read it  
and that is Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas this is 
a prequel to a book called The Hate U Give which  
was her debut novel which was absolutely stunning 
and i clearly have a lot of thoughts about it  
so let’s just get into it.
when i read The Hate U Give in 2018 i started
reading it and then put the book down
to just scroll on twitter and that is when i heard of Stephon Clark’s murder by the police.
to say then that the book hit different 
would be an understatement.
To give you a brief understanding of what The Hate U Give or THUG is about um it is basically
it follows this girl called Starr who is a 16 yr old who witnessed the murder by the police of her best friend  
Khalil, who is a black boy and it just talks then about 
the activism and

and just everything that she kind  
of had to deal with um and yeah but apart from 
all of this um it was clearly a very hard hitting  
book but apart from all of this um what i really 
absolutely loved about the book was the family  
dynamics. Starr just has such a wonderful family 
um and everyone is so different and so intriguing  
um but one of the characters that absolutely stood 
out for me was Mav who is the father character um  
who was part of a gang earlier but now is reformed 
and is just very involved in his children’s lives  
and clearly cares very deeply for them 
and you knew that he had a story to kind of tell  
which is why when i heard that Angie Thomas 
was going to write a book about him um i was  
so very excited and that is Concrete Rose 
so the book picks up when Mav is 17 years old  
and he has just found out that he is going to be 
a father he is a high schooler and is also part  
of gang but the gang is very much like his family 
they protect him and that’s one of the things that  
i really liked about this book that it gave you 
like a nuanced understanding of why people might  
want to join a gang but i digress so let’s just 
get into the other aspects of what i want to talk  
about um so what i really liked about this book 
was that um in this book you essentially see Mav  
and his various facets – you see him as a high 
schooler, as a 17 year old, as a boyfriend, as a son,  
as a father, as a gang member and you see 
how all of these various aspects and facets  
to his life are just pulling him in different 
directions and how he’s trying to just find a  
semblance to his life and just kind of make 
balance between all of these sort of things  
i won’t tell you what happens in the book in terms 
of the plot as it continues because there are a  
lot of spoilers but let’s just say that this 
book was very fast-paced um and it had a lot of  
plot twists or things that i didn’t necessarily 
see coming and it just had a lot of things that  
kept the tempo high however more than anything 
this book was very introspective and reflective  
and i felt through this book that i really wish 
that more boys and men pick up this book because  
the number one thing that this book does it’s 
subverting the thought process or the norm of  
being a man in society today. we see Mav actively 
work towards being a better father, a better  
caretaker, better boyfriend and work towards 
not falling into the traps of being a “manly man”  
i love that we got to see various vulnerabilities 
of Mav and i know that this is an issue that  
black men specifically kind of go through 
where they are told by the society to kind of not  
show their vulnerable side um and and i really 
love that we got to see this aspect in this book  
in just so many different sort of ways and 
while i cannot speak of a lot of things  
um one of the things that as a woman really really 
worked for me was how respectful and how wonderful  
Mav was in terms of understanding a woman um 
and understanding for example how difficult  
postnatal depression can be for a woman right 
after they’ve given birth. when i say this book has  
layers this book has layers there are layers to 
people, characters, to situations that they were put  
in and i absolutely loved the way Angie Thomas 
kind of peeled back these layers just a little bit  
to help you understand and to portray the way 
that black men and black bodies are treated  
in society today. In an interview which she gave 
which i will link up and down in the description  
she spoke about how it is so important to humanize 
black boys and girls especially because of the  
way that the media and society kind of treat them 
and perceive them to be a certain way. Like we saw  
with The Hate U Give, this book is from Mav’s 
perspective so the wording and the way that it  
is written is very from the way that he would 
speak so it has a lot of colloquialisms and slangs  
which to a few might be a little difficult to 
understand (in the beginning)
but because i just consumed a lot of american content it was easy for me to kind of get into.
The dialogue was witty and sharp and was just so funny. There were so many points in this book
that i found myself chuckling along with what Angie Thomas had written and just the situations
felt so very real. But along with all of this i really enjoyed the way Angie Thomas kind of put in a lot of
hard-hitting stuff. I especially really liked the way that she kind of dealt with 
and how we saw various kind of people dealing with it but my main highlight had to be
the way Mav was as a parent. i absolutely loved the way that he interacted with his child
it was just so heartwarming and uplifting um and it was just so wonderful to kind of see on page
and i could totally imagine it. it was just wonderful wonderful writing.
other than Mav, I really liked all the other characters as well  
i loved how that they were so true to who they 
were in The Hate U Give which was 17 years post
this book but um yeah i just really like them 
um i do wish that i got to see more from lisa’s  
perspective but of course this was a book written 
from mav’s perspective but i have always had  
a soft spot for lisa i think she’s um such an 
amazing character and i hope that we get to see  
more from her in the upcoming books maybe?? i was 
definitely happy seeing a lot of easter eggs from  
a lot of angie thomas’s other works um and it just 
really made me want to read the hate u give again  
which i just might end up doing though for those 
who have not read the hate you give it is not  
necessary for you to read the hate you give first 
and then this you can kind of read either way um  
there is no i don’t think that there will be um 
a way to kind of go about this um i think that  
if you should maybe read um the concrete rose 
first and then the hate u give that would be  
my suggestion because then there would 
be some spoilers in the hate you give for  
um concrete rose and the way that things kind 
of turn out but either way i think works and  
both of them are amazing books that you should 
definitely pick up i do have to say though and  
this is not a spoiler that the way concrete rose 
ends i feel like there is scope for that to be  
like a 0.5 because concrete rose is technically 
zero and then the hate you give is book number one  
so i am excited for that and i really hope that 
angie thomas you do actually do this to end this  
review i would definitely recommend this book 
angie thomas has done such an absolutely amazing  
job with this it was an absolute delight to read 
um i would definitely recommend it and while i  
do agree that i am not the ‘right person’ to review 
this or um rather i would link down all of the own  
voices reviews um of this because i feel like 
they would be able to do a better job of just  
truly dissecting this book for what it is um 
and yeah that’s about it thank you so much for  
watching um this review um if there is anything 
that you’d want to discuss then please do um drop  
down in the comment section i’m happy to discuss 
this book or anything else with you if there are  
any other books that you’d want me to review let 
me know um and i will catch you in my next video

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