❝ My two paths meet at this corner, and it seems like I have to choose one. One street represents a future, the other leads to a different kind of life. Papa Legba, the keeper of the crossroads, will help me choose.❞
Synopsis via Goodreads: The rock in the water does not know the pain of the rock in the sun.
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?
A story about embarking on a journey to a new country, American Street follows Fabiola Toussaint as she and her mother leave behind their life in Haiti in hopes of a better one in America. But when her mother is detained at customs, Fabiola will have to adapt to life in Detroit on her own. Not ready to give up just yet, Fabiola is willing to do whatever it takes to free her mother, even if that means having to make some tough decisions that will lead her to question whether or not the American Dream is worth it after all.
American Street is a gripping and emotional debut that grabbed my attention from the very first page and I found it impossible to put down my eReader because I needed to know how Fabiola’s journey would end. This book tackles a number of issues relevant to today’s society (like, immigration, drugs use, abuse and family conflicts) in such a realistic manner and that was what made me love this story even more. Nothing was sugar-coated. It’s pure raw emotions on these pages and I felt every word of it. While there are some dark and heavy themes dealt with throughout this book, the rich Haitian culture adds color to this story, helping to lighten the mood and balance the story out. I especially loved that Zoboi included Kreyol dialogue and Vodou faith throughout this book and the fact that she addresses the negative stereotypes associated with Vodou faith.
Fabiola’s spirited personality brings this story to life. She is brave, determined, and has such a big heart. She only wants a better life for her and her mother and that is pretty much the dream most immigrants strive for when they come to America. As an immigrant myself, I related to Fabiola in many ways as she tried to adapt to her new American life. Fabiola is constantly being reminded by her Aunt and cousins to speak “proper English” and that is something my mother did when we first arrived to America and still continues to do so to this very day. Food plays important part of this story as well because for the first few days after Fabiola arrives to America, she talks about how she misses certain food that she ate on a regular basis at home and that is something that was very important to my family when we first came to America. Luckily, I live in a community that is heavily populated by people from the Caribbean so it’s not too hard to find what we need. The secondary characters play no small roles and are very important to this story. Fabiola’s cousins, Chantal, Pri and Donna, are a tight bunch and while they may argue and disagree at times, when it comes to family they have each others back.
The only issue I had with this book was that I wished it had focused just a little more on Fabiola’s mother being detained. We touch upon it in the beginning, but then it is kind of swept aside and not addressed back until the end. The ending of this book had me shook af. Like, I dropped my eReader once all the pieces fell into place because everything ended up coming full circle and I didn’t expect things to go down the way they did.
American Street is a captivating ownvoices debut with amazing characters, rich culture and so much heart. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to read a story about immigration, Haitian culture, and a girl chasing after the American Dream.