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American Street

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  6,538 Ratings  ·  1,298 Reviews
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 roma
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published February 14th 2017 by Balzer + Bray
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Popular Answered Questions
Everton Patterson There is quite a bit of strong language in the book, so I would agree with high school and older.
Allison There is an LGBT character but the main character is heterosexual.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Emily May
According to my papers, I’m not even supposed to be here. I’m not a citizen. I’m a “resident alien.” The borders don’t care if we’re all human and my heart pumps blood the same as everyone else’s.

4 1/2 stars. The more I think about it, the more I realize just how much I loved American Street. There's the obvious reasons - it's an ownvoices work about Haitian immigrants in Detroit; there's the general reasons like the extremely sympathetic narrator and the wonderful cast of diverse secondary ch
Hailey (HaileyinBookland)
This was great. The authenticity of this story was really the driving force for me. You could tell that the author knew what she was talking about and could very much relate to the MC. I loved the fact that this story didn't have anything fancy going for it, no deus ex machina or anything like that. Just a pure, truthful portrait of the life of an immigrant who moves to America hoping for new life and comes to find that the new life may not be such an improvement from the old one in some ways. I ...more
3.5 stars.

As an immigrant myself, I connected with Fabiola tremendously.

When you move from one place to a very different place – or even if you’re just there to visit – there’s usually a culture shock happening.

I felt that. I know what it’s like for people to mock the way you speak or laugh at the unusual words you use.

Fortunately, when Fabiola left Haiti and came to the United States of America, she had her aunt and cousins to help her out and have her back.

Unfortunately, her mother couldn’t
C.G. Drews
Oh wow this was so good and just a little bit like running face-first into a brick wall of EMOTIONS. I'n not even sure what to do with myself right now aughiagh. It's a really powerful story of immigration and poverty and family. It's a brutal and messy story and the ending left me reeling.

+ The emphasis on family was the best of ever.
Like this is not a "nice" family, particularly, but I loved how complex they all were!? Fabiola has immigrated from Haiti to America to live with her cousins. He
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow....Once again I can't say this enough......"a GREAT 'reader' can make all the difference in the world when it comes to audiobooks"!!!

"American Street" is read by Robin Miles. ROBIN MILES IS FANTASTIC!!!!!
I 'melted' listening to her voice. Her dialect was soooo delicious-in Caribbean Creole.
Robin Miles 'more' than made up for some of the book's shortcomings. There are some shortcomings-- but I thoroughly enjoy this audiobook!!!!

I felt for this story from the get go. When Fabiola
Mar 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
The teachers know my story. They know our story—the Three Bees. No. The four bees.
Chantal is brains.
Donna is beauty.
Pri is brawn.
I am brave. No one has to tell me this. I know it for myself.

As Ibi Zoboi's debut novel, bringing a fictional story that can be relatable to her was something different. She managed to captivate me from the beginning because the story is different, but it was also a different kind of boring. It's not magical, but it's miraculous. It's a story that can touch an immi
Lala BooksandLala
That got so intense.
Trina (Between Chapters)
Video review (spoiler free)-

There are plenty of own voices reviews of this book here on Goodreads, so please scroll through those for opinions other than mine!

What I liked:
-Fabiola was an engaging main character. I also loved her cousins, but the book tried to cover so many topics that I felt we didn't get to know them beyond the surface.

-I loved the Haitian Creole culture and spirituality elements.

-The theme of being torn between loyalty to your family vs what you f
Feb 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I almost gave up on this book towards the beginning, but I decided to keep going and I'm glad I did. I love the topics is covers, but I think it suffers from trying to cover too much in too short of a book. The plot feels a bit rushed to me and it would've been nice if this book was longer so it could've developed a little bit more.
(I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

“We will get my Manman.
I exhale deep as we leave the airport. It feels like I’m leaving part of me behind – a leg, an arm. My whole heart.”

This was a YA contemporary story about a girl newly arrived in America from Haiti.

Fabiola was an okay character, and I felt sorry for her the way her mother was detained by customs and she was left to start her life in America without her.

The storyline in this was ab
Jul 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

As the characters in this book would say, "I'm not feeling it." A lot of interesting characters and ideas that didn't gel into a cohesive finished product. It felt less like an immigrant's struggle to assimilate than a series of fragmented glimpses into the many challenges of growing up in a blighted inner city, specifically Detroit.

I liked it, but I would say a bunch of colorful loose threads never made it into a finished quilt. Too bad.

Jodi Meadows
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. Just wow. This book should be read far more widely than it is. It should be in every classroom.

AMERICAN STREET tackles so many issues in just a few hundred pages -- immigration, choices, drugs, religion, violence, police violence, toxic relationships, family drama, first love, loss . . . So, so many complex issues are touched on in such thoughtful ways. I cannot recommend this book enough.

Ibi Zoboi is an incredible writer.
Aug 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am a mountain

A beautiful multi-layered novel that addresses the experiences of black immigrants; attaining the good life ain't always easy.

It's a story that reminds us of the hope that still lives within, and around us. Often times, we just need to remember where we came from and what propelled us to take the journey in the first place.

This was a very intimate experience for me. As an immigrant myself, I was able to relate to Fabiola's need to find her footing in a new world.

I reali
I’ve started and deleted this review a zillion times now because I’m struggling to figure out how to say what I want to say. I seem to be in the minority with my opinion of this book and that’s a position I hate being in when my opinion is mostly somewhere in the middle.

There are some things that this book does extremely well, and some things that are rather important about this book. For starters, it’s an ownvoices narrative about a teen who emigrates from Haiti with her mother, who is denied
Mar 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was a bit hesitant going into this after reading reviews that this book wasn't really on immigration as I had hoped, but I had still wanted to give it a try. And I'm so glad I did. This is the story of a girl trying to find her place in Detroit after coming over from Haiti. (Fabiola was born in America & went back to Hiati; her mother & her traveled back to the U.S. to live in Detroit with Fab's aunt & cousins. Her mother is detained while Fab's is allowed to go. I was hoping to se ...more
Update! Full review:

Ya'll I read this book in a day! haha I'm surprised. I literally started it yesterday morning and finished it yesterday night. It was the type of book that pulled you in and refused to let you go. I loved that! The writing was gritty meaning there was explicit language and also terms that maybe not everyone would be comfortable with, but to be honest this book was written in a way that made you understand the lifestyle of teens in Detr
destiny ☠ howling libraries
Assigned reading for MLIS 7421: Multicultural Youth Literature.

There's a lot going on in this book - a little too much, at times, for it to all carry the emotional weight it deserves - but that ending broke my heart and won me over at the same time. RTC
Giselle (Book Nerd Canada)
An Electronic Advance Reader Copy was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss for review. Quotes have been pulled from an e-ARC and may be subject to change.

Fabiola moves to the USA from Haiti, but her mother is stuck in New Jersey because her Visa expired. She ends up staying with her Aunt Jo and three cousins. Will she have the courage to take down the drug lords who rule the streets of Detroit so she can get her mother back?

I loved reading through Fabiola's viewpoint. She sees the American wa
Sajda (Across the Words)
Had high hopes for this one but unfortunately it fell short. I think this book was trying to do too much and didn't do justice to the topics it was trying to address: immigrant assimilation, detainment, Haitian traditions, drugs in a community, growing romance, violence in Detroit, etc. If it had focused more on the actual plot line (getting the MC's mother out of a deportation situation), it would have felt more developed. Also, I didn't really connect with any of the characters -- I found it h ...more
Apr 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is an incredible story. I read it in one sitting because it is so engrossing. I would easily recommend this book to most readers.
Marilena   ⚓
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
According to my papers, I’m not even supposed to be here. I’m not a citizen. I’m a “resident alien.” The borders don’t care if we’re all human and my heart pumps blood the same as everyone else’s.

Η Fabiola(Fab) έρχεται μαζί με την μητέρα της απο την Αιτή στην Αμερική και συγκεκριμενα στο Ντιτρόιτ για μια καλύτερη ζωή.
Όμως πολλές φορές τα πράγματα δεν έρχονται όπως θα τα θέλαμε.Υπάρχουν περιπτώσεις που γίνονται πολύ χειρότερα,όπως συμβαίνει σε αυτό το βιβλίο.

Δεν θα γράψω κάτι γιατί σίγουρα θα μ
Francina Simone
Mar 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Omg.... so much to unpack here... review to come. I'm in awe
Initial reaction: I enjoyed every moment of this novel because it was an emotional and realistic journey with a strong protagonist whose narrative voice stayed with me long after I finished the story. It's a difficult read to swallow in places because of the actions of some of the characters, but in the end, I was rooting for Fabiola to find her footing.

Full review:

I have so many emotions upon finishing "American Street" - and that's a very good thing.

It's a story with many layers to its narrati
Niki Marion
Mar 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An exceptionally crafted novel that somehow hits heavy-hitting topics like immigration, assimilation, poverty, the delicate balance between spirituality and superstition, police brutality, drug use, and the ever-present worry about fitting in with heart, complexity, and depth. Our narrator Fabiola arrives in Detroit after her mother is detained on entry to the United States from Haiti. Her teenage cousins arrive at the airport to pick her up and bring her to her new home, which, to Fabiola, will ...more
Leo Walsh
Mar 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I love stories of working class people struggling to live with dignity, most urban fiction reads like a bad montage of gangsta rap tunes. Stagnant and without life. It takes a Toni Morrison to breath life into urban stories. And her if her debut novel American Street is any indication, Morrison may soon have company in Ibi Zoboi. Her debut novel, American Street, weaves myth, life, love and death into a magical realist tapestry, transforming standard urban fiction into something transcende ...more
Read In Colour
Nov 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It can be difficult to play by the rules when you don’t know what those rules are. So finding herself in Detroit without her mother and with family she only knows from phone calls is a bit overwhelming for Fabiola. Readers of a certain age will remember when we first met Omar Tyree’s Flyy Girl, Tracy Ellison, over 20 years ago. Fabiola’s Detroit cousins, known as the Three Bs (brains, beauty & brawn), Chantal, Donna and Princess are Tracy meets the Gross sisters from the Proud Family, harden ...more
YA Wednesdays
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
More people need to pick this book up. An immigrant's account of her new life in America. My full review to come soon.
Jun 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For right now let me just say this book is amazing. Part immigrant narrative, part alt-"American dream" narrative, part magical realism, ALL breathtaking. Also, it made me cry. Anyways, longer review to come, but this book was wonderful and I love love love Fabiola and her cousins.


Longer RTC!
Apr 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tbr-bookshelf
Me: *burst into tears and screams*
Boyfriend: *comes in* WHAT HAPPENED?! Are you ok?! Who got hurt?!
Me: *holds up book*
Boyfriend:.................Oh my God, Cookie *hugs me* Its not real-

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Play Book Tag: American Street - Ibi Zoboi (3 1/2 stars) 3 17 Jun 09, 2018 04:12AM  
Diversity in All ...: American Street (April 2018) 7 52 Apr 21, 2018 12:52AM  
Contemporary Young Adult Fiction 1 5 Apr 05, 2018 08:12AM  
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Ibi Zoboi holds an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her award-winning writing has been published in Haiti Noir, the Caribbean Writer, The New York Times Book Review, the Horn Book Magazine, and The Rumpus, among others. Her debut YA novel AMERICAN STREET, a National Book Award Finalist and New York Times Notable Book of 2017, is published by Balzer+ ...more
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“So trying to come to America from the wrong country is a crime?” 5 likes
“Say it just like that. Let the words slide out and don’t be so uptight about it. It’s just English, not too complicated.” 3 likes
More quotes…