The roses that Maverick repeatedly tends to throughout the novel represent the Carter family. Starr notes that Maverick “waters them like he’s supposed to, but for someone reason they’re dry looking”; although Maverick is taking care of his family as best he can, they are still struggling to thrive in the dangerous world of Garden Heights. The connection between the family and the roses is further established after Starr and Seven play basketball outside following violent riots, much to the anger of their parents. After driving them home, Maverick turns his frustration on his roses, saying “y’all gotta do better than this.” As time goes on and the family becomes more entrenched in the complications of Garden Heights, the roses appear to be dying. Maverick brings the rosebush with him when the family finally moves to a new neighborhood at the end of the novel. When Starr asks if the roses will be all right, Maverick replies that they are “a li’l damaged, but alive. I'm gon’ try something different with them. Putting them in new soil can be like hitting a reset button.” Starr, too, has been damaged, in the sense that seeing Khalil’s death forever changed her, but her new surroundings—her new soil—will help her, and the entire Carter family, move forward. The roses thus also represent how opportunity—and the lack thereof—affects people’s lives, and how those with rich soil are more likely to thrive.
The timeline below shows where the symbol Maverick’s Roses appears in The Hate U Give. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.