The Hate U Give author Angie Thomas has announced the follow-up to her bestselling 2017 novel. Thomas’s third book is titled Concrete Rose and will explore the events of Garden Heights 18 years earlier, focusing on Starr Carter’s father Maverick.
The first book follows Starr as she navigates the mostly black neighborhood where she lives and the mostly white prep school she attends. Her life is rocked by the tragic shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil by a police officer. The book was adapted into a 2018 movie starring Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games) as Starr and Russell Hornsby (Fences) as Maverick.
Thomas confirmed news of the forthcoming prequel on Instagram and shared a sneak preview of the cover.
The author spoke to People about how the novel will follow Maverick’s story, including becoming a father at age 17 to Starr’s older brother, Seven. “Of all characters who really just stayed with me, Maverick was at the top of that list,” Thomas told the outlet. “And what was fascinating to me was once readers started reading The Hate U Give and then when the film came out, he was the character that I was asked about the most.” She elaborated further on the real-life inspiration that led her to continue Maverick’s story: “I started talking to young real-life Mavericks. Young men who are trying to still find their way and are often written off and seen as troublemakers or this or that,” she said, “They’re never seen as [having] potential, they’re only seen as being at risk. They have stories and they deserve the opportunity to not just grow, they deserve the opportunities to be seen as someone beyond their circumstances.”
Other topics Thomas hopes to delve into further in Concrete Rose including police brutality, racism, and teen pregnancy. Thomas told People she expects her new novel to be banned even more than The Hate U Give:
“This is a book about a 17-year-old young man who just found out he’s a father…Nobody wants to talk about teen sex, nobody wants to talk about teen pregnancy or teen parents. But he’s amongst us every single day and it’s something that we cannot ignore. So I absolutely expect it to get banned. I am going to say it, I think it will be banned more so than The Hate U Give was…And I’m going to keep writing it and my publisher is still going to publish it. Why? Because there are young people who need this story…our discomfort is not my problem. My concern is for those young people who need this [book].”
Thomas addressed the issue of censorship in the February 2020 issue of ELLE, telling writer Roxanne Fequiere, “It’s frustrating, because you’re basically telling young people, ‘If this book is about you, your life makes me uncomfortable,’” she said. “They’re being made to feel as if their stories shouldn’t be told. My job is to tell them otherwise.”
Concrete Rose will be published by HarperCollins on January 12, 2021.