American Streetby Ibi Zoboi
Published on February 14, 2017 by Balzer + Bray
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult
Source: Publisher (via Edelweiss)
Book Depository / Amazon / Barnes & Noble
The rock in the water does not know the pain of the rock in the sun.
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?
I don’t even know how to begin to express my love for American Street. I started this book so many times but was never in the right mind set and didn’t really have the time to read it, so i kept putting it back down. I hate that I waited so long though! This book was simply heartbreaking and I loved every minute. I’m one of those suckers who loves heartbreak. I love when a book can make me break down like no other. There were a few minor minor things that I didn’t like, but it was overshadowed by the amazing prose and the amazing characters.
Fabiola is definitely a naive teenager. I totally get why she is written this way. She just moved to America from Haiti which is an enormous change, but at the same time, with the way she described Haiti, you would think she would have had a little more common sense. All in all, however, I loved her character. She was resourceful, and caring, and loyal to her family even though they had only really interacted on the phone with each other. I loved that she took school so seriously and when students around the school started thinking she was the “Fourth Bee” (her cousins were called the Three Bees) she vehemently objected. She wanted to make her own way without her cousin’s help and I admired that.
Fabiola’s cousins, Pri, Donna, and Chantal were also pretty amazing in and of themselves. Sure they had their problems and they probably should have made better life choices, but we all make mistakes and they were able to take responsibility for their own fuck ups. My heart broke for Donna every time she came home with bruises and scars from Dray…I’ve seen what abusive relationships are like and my heart ached for her hoping she would get out of it. I wanted Pri to be able to relax enough to fall in love. She was always the one who had to act the toughest so no one messed with them and I wanted to see her happy. Chantal…she deserved so much more than a community college. She was so smart and she could have had so much better than what she had, but I admire her for the fact that she chose family first. She was a good older sister.
And then there is Kasim. I wished that Fabiola and Kasim’s relationship didn’t develop so quickly, but other than that it was amazingly adorable. I loved that even though Kasim was Dray’s “boy” he didn’t get into the hard life like Dray had. He was perfect for Fabiola because she deserved someone who didn’t just want a woman on his arm. He liked her for her and you could see it in every page and every sentence that they were together. My hear fully broke at the end. I knew it was coming, I had seen it coming from the beginning chapters when they talked about how Fabiola’s uncle had died. But my heart was still not ready.
This book is full of so much feeling and a little bit of magic. I honestly loved how Zoboi incorporated Fabiola’s beliefs. How she brought Haitian Vodou and their lwas into every aspect of Fabiola’s life. This book taught me so much and I cannot wait for more from Ibi Zoboi! I highly highly recommend this title.