by Ibi Zoboi
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: February 14, 2017
AMERICAN STREET is a brilliantly written, courageous novel that explores familial and romantic relationships, religion, and the true nature of the American Dream. Fabiola Toussaint is a Haitian immigrant who finds herself unexpectedly alone in an unfamiliar country after her mother is detained by US Customs Officials. Fabiola’s cousins welcome her into their Detroit home and teach her the ways of American society, but she longs for the comforting presence of her mother. Ultimately, Fabiola is faced with a choice that threatens to shatter the bonds she has made in her new life. Aspects of Fabiola’s religion were woven into the plot, with characters and symbols from Haitian religion making appearances on the gritty streets of Detroit. This unique setting enhances the reader’s understanding of Fabiola and the relationships she has with her mother, cousins, and a new love interest. As far as the writing goes, Ibi Zoboi is, quite simply, an amazing author. This novel was her debut, but I will personally be on the lookout for any other books that she publishes in the future, because her writing style was so compelling and her message was universally relatable. Each of her characters were beautifully crafted, with layers of identity that slowly emerged as the novel progressed, but I especially enjoyed reading about Fabiola--she was strong, compassionate, moralistic, and flawed. As I read this book, it reminded me a bit of THE OUTSIDERS, and I would highly, highly recommend it.