Back to Garden Heights

DISCLAIMER: As I said at the beginning of my review for We Had a Little Real Estate Problem, I’m a straight white dude. If I write anything that is not PC or accurate, please let me know so I can correct it. I’m still learning and I will continue to learn with your help. Enjoy!

Via Goodreads

A few years ago, I read a book called All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely. It was one of the rawest, most gripping books about police brutality I’ve ever read. Around that same time, a little book called The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas also came out. You may have heard of it. Yet another scathing look at the way police interact (read: harass) young Black boys, leading to their unnecessary deaths. Both of these books were set in modern times, with references to social media and current movies.

But what did it look like when we were growing up? What did it look like to be a young Black man in the early ’00s? Angie Thomas gives us a crystal clear picture in Concrete Rose.

In this prequel to THUG, we learn about Maverick’s past and how he escaped from the King Lords. Maverick’s life is turned upside down when he finds out that the kid who everyone thought was his boy King’s is actually his. On top of that, Iesha, the mother, is struggling with her own demons and leaves Maverick high and dry with a bundle of joy who is named after his best friend. Not to mention, Maverick has to break the news to Lisa, his girl.

On top of that, he has to quit slinging drugs behind the set’s back thanks to his cousin Dre. Dre is trying to teach Mav to grow up, go straight, be a dad for his son. After getting a job with a local store, Mav starts to learn what hard work looks like all while learning how to take care of a very cranky (and sassy) baby. Soon enough, Maverick feels he can really make it and do the right thing.

But tragedy is always around the corner in the Garden. Mav hopes his commitment to his son will keep him from getting pulled under.

This book was incredible. As a parent, I could really connect with not only Maverick learning to deal with a newborn, but also his mom who just wants what’s best for her son. Maverick’s struggle as a single parent can really resonate with a lot of readers.

Parenting is obviously one of the main themes of the book, but it also deals heavily with loss, shame, fear, and rage. We see Mav try to overcome these hurdles even when everything is stacked against him. I don’t want to get in spoiler territory, so I’ll leave it at that. 5/5, 10/10

Definitely pick this book up on January 21st, 2021!

Thank you NetGalley for the digital ARC!