Tuesday, February 27, 2018

American Street by Ibi Zoboi

American Street by Ibi Zoboi is the story of a young woman struggling to navigate one of the toughest cities in America— Detroit.

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Fabiola Toussiant has just arrived in America from Haiti. When her mother is detained at customs, Fabiola finds herself in a house full of self-made women. Matant Jo or Aunt Jo in English and the Three Bs—cousins Princess or Pri (the Brawn), Primadonna or Donna (the Beauty), and Chantal (the Brains) take Fabiola in, making her the newest B in the family (the Brave).
Fabiola is different and she owns that, but it doesn’t stop her aunt and cousins from trying to assimilate her into their American ways, starting with rule #1: ENGLISH ONLY. While Fabiola struggles to let go of her native creole tongue, not having her mother to make sense of her new life is even worse.
Naïve and sheltered from the ways of her strong-willed cousins, Fabiola seeks guidance from her spirits. When Lwa presents himself in the most unlikely fashion, a homeless man on the corner, Fabiola begins to embrace her new life with Papa Legba (Bad Leg) guiding her with his incoherent riddles. To survive in this new world, Fabiola realizes that she must be smart, not just academically; but street smart– Detroit street smart. However, her best efforts may not be enough.
Author, Zoboi weaves an intricate tale of hope and grit (two elements that makes America an aspiration for many who come to this country for a better life) with a supernatural element, yielding  a spectacular read. Her characters are raw, the plot is jagged, and the story is tragic. 
Readers who enjoy realistic fiction about urban life will savor American Street. This book does what its name suggests– tells an American story.

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