Zoboi, Ibi. American Street. Ibi Zoboi, Illus. Fiction. Balzer & Bray, 2017. 324 [+5]pp. $17.99. 978-0-06-247304-2. OUTSTANDING. GRADES 9-ADULT.
Fabiola Toussaint and her mother have been planning their return to Detroit from their native Haiti for as long as Fabiola can remember, but when U.S. immigration officials detain her mother and separate the pair, Fabiola is left to navigate her new life in America, and the relationship with her complicated extended family, without her beloved Manman. Drawing on the faith that her mother has taught her, Fabiola calls on the Iwas to guide her through love, loss, and attempts to get her mother back. In this debut novel, Ibi Zoboi, draws on her own experience as a Haitian immigrant to expertly weave a compelling story that is at once magical, gritty, and lyrical. Told from both Fabiola’s perspective and those of the other main characters, American Street will appeal to a wide range of readers, including fans of The Hate U Give (Thomas, Balzer & Bray, 2017); All American Boys (Reynolds, Atheneum, 2015); those who enjoy urban fiction; and those who are drawn to LGBTQ characters. Content that includes drug dealing, domestic abuse, sexual situations, and strong language, place it firmly in the young adult genre. Zoboi’s thoughtful treatment of contemporary topics, including class tensions and police brutality, make the novel a timely addition to public library and secondary school library collections.
Mahasin Aleem, Oakland Public Library