American Street by Ibi Zoboi

30256109American Street by Ibi Zoboi

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Edelweiss
Publication Date: Feburary 14th, 2017
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 13+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Family, Contemporary, Immigration, Romance

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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?


As an immigrant myself, I connected with Fabiola tremendously.

When you move from one place to a very different place – or even if you’re just there to visit – there’s usually a culture shock happening.

I felt that. I know what it’s like for people to mock the way you speak or laugh at the unusual words you use.

Fortunately, when Fabiola left Haiti and came to the United States of America, she had her aunt and cousins to help her out and have her back.

Unfortunately, her mother couldn’t come with her, seeing that the authorities believe she might overstay her welcome in the country like last time. Rightly so. But that’s not the point.

So Fabiola may not be alone in a new environment, but not having her mother there tears at her heart.

There are various subplots. It focuses on many different things: obviously, Fabiola’s mother’s situation, Fabiola’s aunt’s illness and lack of employment, Fabiola’s cousin Donna’s abusive relationship and Fabiola’s first love.

There is also the conflict of drug dealing. Who provides young people who then get killed with drugs? Could snitching get her mother back?

I would have preferred if Fabiola had less of a love life. I think love is great, don’t get me wrong, but it happened too quickly in my opinion. Plus I just find the romance so… irrelevant, considering the strong subject.

Fabiola does try to get her mother back, but there are so many distractions around her! To me, although I did like her boyfriend, he felt like one of those distractions.

Surprising turn of events. Bittersweet ending. Good characterization. Great diversity and culture. Lovely writing. Seen before romance. Important topics. Not an easy story to forget.


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4 thoughts on “American Street by Ibi Zoboi

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