Title: American Street
Author: Ibi Zoboi
Best For: High School
My Take: Fabiola makes a move she and her mother have been dreaming of for years – coming to the United States to be with family in Detroit. Only, things don’t always go as planned.
Upon arrival, Fabiola’s mother is detained. Thus, Fabiola travels to Detroit where the “Three Bees,” her boisterous cousins, are awaiting her arrival. Fabiola initially struggles to adjust to live on the corner of American and Joy street in Detroit. She despises her cousin Donna’s boyfriend, Dray and her Aunt Jo, who promises to help Fabiola’s mother get to Detroit, rarely comes out of her bedroom. To make matters worse, a detective encourages Fabiola to snitch on Dray, who the police are after for a drug-related death.
Fabiola is caught between two cultures – her Haitian beliefs and the American Dream. She learns secrets about her family and struggles with making some difficult decisions that could change the lives of those she loves – for better or for worse.
I enjoyed Fabiola’s story and teens will easily relate to the drama of choosing family or friends, a dilemma Fabiola struggles with in the book. There is quite a bit of cursing in the book, as well as some domestic violence.
Bottom Line: This book will appeal to many teens, but teachers should get permission from parents before having younger teens read it.