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"American Street" by Ibi Zoboi

AUTHOR: Ibi Zoboi

PUBLISHER: Balzer + Bray

PUBLISHED DATE: February 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-0062473042

PAGES: 336

I was immediately pulled in. The story opens with a panicked Fabiola, bewildered in JFK airport from Haiti en route to relatives in Detroit. Fabiola's mother has been detained in a NJ detention center, and Fabiola must go the rest of the way alone.

Seriously, how relevant is this story now with travel bans, and children being separated from their parents. Fabiola continues on to Detroit where she is met by her Matant Jo and her three strong willed cousins Princess (Pri), Primadonna (Donna), and Chantal.

After years of surviving in Haiti from the support of Matant Jo and her cousins, Fabiola is surprised at how unrecognizable and detached from Haitian culture her relatives have ventured. Readers are immersed in Fabiola's everyday struggles to understand street slang, school writing assignments, and the violence and desperation plaguing her new neighborhood. I can't think of too many books where I've read magical realism weaved into a story so seamlessly - particularly of vodou. At times the book seems to take on a lot, the history and ultimate gentrification of Detroit, drug dealing and crime, domestic violence, grief and depression, jealousy and violence amongst urban teen girls...there's a lot. Having said that, the writing is vibrant and memorable and anything but predictable.

Recommendation: Read it!

Audience: Young Adults and up

*I received a copy of this hardcover book at ALA Midwinter and I purchased the audiobook on Audible.

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