Connected with the shooting of Trayvon Martin in 2012, Ibi Zoboi’s first novel, AMERICAN STREET, tells a story about love, loss, faith and what it really means to be an American.
Sixteen-year-old Fabiola Toussaint is at a crossroads. She thought things were finally turning around for her and her mother when they left Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to return to the place she was born, the place where anything is possible, the United States of America. But when her mother is detained in the airport and sent to a detention facility in New Jersey, Fabiola is forced to navigate her new home in Detroit alone, and live with a family that she has only ever met over the phone.
"Beautifully written, this novel speaks to many different people in many different situations, and tells the story of human nature itself. It delves into topics of race, religion, domestic abuse, immigration, loyalty, police brutality, drugs, public education and many other topics that are extremely relevant to our world today."
Fabiola’s cousins are called "The Three Bees" at school. Primadonna is the Beauty, Chantal is the Brains and Princess is the Brawns. They rule the school and no one dares try to mess with them. They have a notorious reputation for themselves, and soon everyone is referring to Fabiola as the "Fourth Bee," a title that Fabiola wants nothing to do with. She just wants to make a better life for herself and to be reunited with her mother. Just as Fabiola is getting used to her new life and making new connections, a detective approaches her with a proposition that she can't refuse, and she is dragged into an unpleasant struggle between doing what she knows is right for her family, and doing what her family wants. In this, Fabiola learns just how far she will go to protect the ones that she loves.
Beautifully written, this novel speaks to many different people in many different situations, and tells the story of human nature itself. It delves into topics of race, religion, domestic abuse, immigration, loyalty, police brutality, drugs, public education and many other topics that are extremely relevant to our world today. In alliance to the current state of our nation, it is an extremely relevant novel and the different topics that it touches upon are woven intricately into the plot.
AMERICAN STREET is an extremely compelling and fast-paced novel from start to finish and I enjoyed reading it. The story that it brings is universal and is something that everyone can relate to. I really enjoyed this book and I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good story to read. It is not strictly a romance book, just as it is not strictly a mystery book, or even a fantasy book; It is a melting pot of different genres and stories much like how America itself is.
Reviewed by Zoe I., Teen Board Member on March 15, 2017