When I heard that Angie Thomas was publishing a third novel, I cheered. The Hate U Give is one of the best young adult novels out there, and I greatly enjoyed On the Come Up, even though it is VERY different. I paused when she announced it would be a prequel…about Maverick. I was not so sure I wanted to read a whole book about Maverick. And then I promptly devoured the whole thing last weekend and soaked up every word. As it turns out, Angie Thomas knows better than me.
You don’t need to read THUG to enjoy this book, really and truly (and that’s one of the astonishing things), although you do know where the story is headed. And even that’s not a detractor! Maverick is a 17-year-old teen in the late 90s (side note–I turned 13 in 1997, so the idea of me, at 36, having two teenagers is just MINDBLOWING), whose life is upended when he finds out that he is a father. With his mother’s help, he starts to reconcile what it means to be a father AND a young man, even as other choices threaten the equilibrium that he’s started to find.
If you’ve read THUG, you know where this goes, and if you don’t, I won’t spoil it for you. Thomas is a gifted writer, and her characters are beautifully depicted. Maverick makes good and bad choices, but you root for him and Lisa the entire time, because they are just so endearing. I’m really looking forward to re-reading the book that started it all, and I hope Thomas finds ways to expand her universe and characters.