"Lil Don" Carter is a 17-year-old King Lord growing up in the Garden Heights district. The King Lords have been in existence long before Maverick was born, so his life has always been steeped in gang culture. Maverick knows that the game can steal family, friends, and time from you. His father Adonis's imprisonment is a testament to that fact. Maverick's cousin Dre and his friend Shawn try to keep Maverick from falling too deep into the game, but Maverick's best friend King keeps finding new ways to convince him to deepen his involvement. The unexpected joys and pains of fatherhood, the death of one of his best friends, and another unexpected pregnancy threaten to break Maverick's tenuous hold on his own sanity. How can he cut ties with the King Lords, raise his son, prepare for another child, and maintain his independence? The pressure Maverick is under yields some startling blooms in this novel about tenacity and rebirth. This is the perfect example of a narrative that straddles the beauty and pain of belonging and having the courage to make your own choices. Maverick Carter, who is Black, is a wonderfully complex character who will resonate with readers of all stripes. Thomas writes with a depth of humor and clarity that really allows readers to bond with the characters. VERDICT This prequel to The Hate U Give is perfect for public and school libraries.-Desiree Thomas, Worthington Lib., OHα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.