American Street is an evocative and powerful coming-of-age story perfect for fans of Everything, Everything; Bone Gap; and All American Boys. 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?
It begins with Fabiola’s journey from Haiti to the United States. She and her mother are prepared to start their new lives together, but at the last moment her mother is not allowed entry into the US. So Fabiola is left to make the journey to the States herself, and the absence of her mother is heart breaking to read. You can quickly tell how much Fabiola cares for her mother, and how much she needs her in these times.
From then on, she has to deal with all the new challenges, as well as continue to fight to get her mother back to her. There was a lot changes going on in her life, but the story never got overcomplicated- it was a perfect mixture. From romances to drug dealing, this book covered and dealt with it all.
I really enjoyed the storyline and characters, but what made this one of my favorite books was the diversity and culture. A lot more books are including diversity, but this book really took it to a new level and introduced us to Haitian immigrants, specifically living in Detroit. I don’t think I’ve read any books about Haitians, much less those living in Detroit, but I really appreciated learning more about them and their culture.
It’s a very different, unique book and I think anyone who reads this will appreciate this. We all know immigrants, but not many of us know the struggles that they face when coming to the US. This story allows us to have a look into the difficulties, the happy moments, and everything in between. Whether or not you can relate to the exact struggles that Fabiola faces, you will be able to understand that feeling of wanting to be a part of something. Overall, a great story that everyone will fall in love with- highly, highly recommend.