March 16, 2017
"You have to come to this side because this new family of mine is both familiar and strange—just like how I am American by birth and Haitian by blood, bones, and tears. Familiar and strange." ~ pg. 237
Fabiola Toussaint thought her and her mother finally found a good life. But after they leave Haiti and make it all the way to New York, Fabiola's mother is detained by U.S. Immigration. (Sound a bit too real, doesn't it?) Teenaged Fabiola is left alone to navigate America, her three boisterous cousins and mysterious yet sickly aunt on the Detroit's west side.
Her new home is on American Street and Joy Road. Longing for her mother and struggling to adapt, Fabiola finds herself accepting a dangerous proposition all in the name of freedom. The crossroads in this coming-of-age story are both symbolic and real!
That feeling when you finish a book and think how right on time it was >>>
From the colorful eye-catching cover to the positive blurbs on the back cover, American Street was everything! I could be partial because it took place in the city of Detroit (shout-out to Coney Islands, Belle Isle and Joy Road). I love it when I recognize street names and places in literature. It is obvious the author did a bit of research on the setting.
"Here in Detroit Metro Airport, there are no long lines to show papers and proof to uniformed people. I ease into America's free air like a tourist returning home." ~ pg. 3
American Street is in the Young/New Adult genre but will be enjoyable to adults. In fact, adults may better follow the spiritual aspect and foreshadowing. The spirits, rituals and prayers play a huge part of this story. I was not bugged out about vodou and other cultural practices but rather educated. It was also an innocent not-in-your-face look at an immigration story. Well done, Ibi Zoboi.
I have always been an avid reader. Some stories stick with you forever. This novel reminds me of a couple books I read way back in the day: Scorpions by Walter Dean Myers and The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah. It is not quite coming-of-age by spanning years but more so survival in the community and adapting to your new surroundings. I hope it is added to a school's reading list but I will do my part in it reaching the masses by recommending it to the high school students I mentor as well as my grown bookhearts.
Before I end this review, take another look at the striking book cover. You need this on your shelves, bookhearts.
Title: American Street
Author: Ibi Zoboi
Published: February 2017
Challenge: Popsugar—A Book About an Immigrant or Refugee