Reading this book was a journey that ended with me contemplating my privilege, my actions, and my definition of family. American Street is starkly relevant to the current political and social climate in the United States. Zoboi weaves together Haitian and Detroit culture seamlessly while paying special tribute to the confusion of identities her characters experience.
Fabiola, a Haitian teenager, immigrates to America with her mother at the beginning of this story. Her mother is detained and Fabiola spends the rest of the book trying to get her mother legal access to the United States. While fighting for her mother’s freedom, Fabiola lives with her Aunt and cousins in Detroit and navigates normal teen problems, and the unique problems she faces as an immigrant in America. Zoboi introduces many elements of Vodou and drug culture, as well as police brutality, race, and abuse.
This book is revolutionary, unique, enlightening, and personal. I chose this book for April’s young adult book club because I wanted to discuss the immigration issue in America, and I wanted to give the members a window to look into a world that is very different than their own. While Fabiola is clearly going through some hardships that most teenagers don’t experience, she is also dealing with questions of identity and love which are universal to every reader.
I would rate this book 4.5/5 stars.
Discussion topics: Race, Immigration, Drugs, Law enforcement, Family, abusive relationships, what it means to be “female”/beauty standards, other cultures