A National Book Award Finalist with five starred reviews and multiple awards!
A New York Times Notable Book * A Time Magazine Best YA Book Of All Time* Publishers Weekly Flying Start * Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year * ALA Booklist Editors' Choice of 2017 (Top of the List winner) * School Library Journal Best Book of the Year * Kirkus Best Book of the Year * BookPage Best YA Book of the Year
An evocative and powerful coming-of-age story perfect for fans of Nicola Yoon and Jason Reynolds
In this stunning debut novel, Pushcart-nominated author Ibi Zoboi draws on her own experience as a young Haitian immigrant, infusing this lyrical exploration of America with magical realism and vodou culture.
On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find une belle vie—a good life.
But after they leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabiola’s mother is detained by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to navigate her loud American cousins, Chantal, Donna, and Princess; the grittiness of Detroit’s west side; a new school; and a surprising romance, all on her own.
Just as she finds her footing in this strange new world, a dangerous proposition presents itself, and Fabiola soon realizes that freedom comes at a cost. Trapped at the crossroads of an impossible choice, will she pay the price for the American dream?
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Haitian American novelist Ibi Zoboi humanizes the headlines with her story of Fabiola, a teenage girl from Port-au-Prince whose mother is detained when the two try to visit family in Detroit. As Zoboi’s heroine is forced to adjust to American life without her mother’s help, her first-person narration pulls us straight into the heart of the conflict. Between Fabiola’s culture clashes with her aunt and cousins at home and romantic issues at school, Zoboi makes a hot-button issue feel intensely personal. American Street is a great coming-of-age tale that makes a political statement about the realities of immigration.
Zoboi's powerful debut, set in current-day Detroit (but based on the author's experience as a Haitian immigrant in 1980s Bushwick, Brooklyn), unflinchingly tackles contemporary issues of immigration, assimilation, violence, and drug dealing. Although born in America, teenage Fabiola has grown up with her mother in Port au Prince, dreaming of a better life with her aunt and cousins in Detroit. Upon arriving in New York City, Fabiola's mother, lacking proper documents, is sent to a detention center while Fabiola must go on alone to Detroit. Shocked by the rough urban environment, her pugnacious cousins, her aunt's lethargy, and her cousin Donna's physically abusive, drug-dealing boyfriend, Dray, Fabiola turns to her Haitian spirits (lwas) as well as a mysterious street man for guidance, while embarking on a tentative romance with Dray's friend Kasim. When she strikes a deal with a police detective to set up Dray for arrest in exchange for her mother's release, it results in a dangerous situation with devastating results. Mixing gritty street life with the tenderness of first love, Haitian Vodou, and family bonds, the book is at once chilling, evocative, and reaffirming. Ages 14 up.
This was a good book. I enjoyed reading it. I learned a lot and I laughed, cried, and felt all the emotions from this book.
Had to read this for school and was actually pretty pleasantly surprised. Interesting characters, thought provoking exploration of the struggles of immigration as well as the affect of crime and poverty on families. Would definitely recommend despite some slight draggy bits here and there.
Great read. Hard to put down.
Great read. Hard to put down.