“Sometimes one person’s hero is another person’s monster.”
Raw, complicated and human, Concrete Rose is the life-affirming story of a black boy who’s transitioning from boyhood to adulthood/manhood and fatherhood. Despite the rise in diversity and books written by people of color in mainstream fiction, this perspective is still one we don’t often see enough of. It’s not the kind of contemporary YA that often gets published or read, and I think that’s one thing that makes it more.
Another thing that makes it more, though? That’s the author’s brilliant writing. The language is fascinating. I’ve not seen this type of English used in literature before, only in some films and I love it. It gives the book a stronger identity—more natural and genuine. The characters feel so real as well. The way they reacted to the situations they’ve put through…I laughed when they laughed, I cried when they cried. I was also mad at some of the choices they made, but I couldn’t fault them for it either. The characters have been written in such a way that the reader can clearly feel and understand where they’re coming from, what they’re going through, and why they did what they did.
Nevertheless, I must admit that I feel that some of the more prominent side characters can be a little flat—solid due to how much personality they have, but still flat. It’s Maverick’s story, yes and I understand that there are limitations to how much side characters can be developed, particularly when they’re being viewed through the limited perspective of a first person point of view. But, I had hoped to see more from them. Even so, I appreciate Maverick as a character. He’s complex and does his best despite the burdens he carries and the mistakes he makes.
All in all, Concrete Rose is a book that shows that life is more often grey than not. Just because the rules or general expectations lean towards a certain side, it doesn’t mean that you strictly have to follow them. People are complex, after all.
Thank you so much Pansing for sending me an ARC of this in exchange for an honest review! Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas is available at all good bookstores.