AMERICAN STREET

Ibi Zoboi

On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find une belle vie—the good life. But after leaving 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 Westside, 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 must learn that freedom comes at a cost. Trapped at the crossroads of an impossible choice, will she pay the price for the American dream?

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On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find une belle vie—the good life. But after leaving 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 Westside, 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 must learn that freedom comes at a cost. Trapped at the crossroads of an impossible choice, will she pay the price for the American dream?

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  • Balzer + Bray
  • Hardcover
  • February 2017
  • 336 Pages
  • 9780062473042

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$17.99

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About Ibi Zoboi

Ibi Zoboi is a Pushcart-nominated author who was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. She now lives in Brooklyn with her husband, and their three young children.

Praise

“A lovely and poignant meditation on one girl’s struggle to find her way in a new world.” —Nicola Yoon, bestselling author of Everything, Everything

“Brimming with culture, magic, warmth, and unabashed rawness, American Street is ultimately a blistering tale of humanity. This is Manchild in the Promised Land, for a new generation, and a remarkable debut from Zoboi, who without question is an inevitable force in storytelling.” —Jason Reynolds, award-winning co-author of All American Boys

“Zoboi’s nascent storytelling gifts ensnare from page one. To this spellbinding voice of the next generation, I bow.” —Rita Williams-Garcia, The New York Times bestselling author and three-time winner of the Coretta Scott King Award

Discussion Questions

1. How does the author use Creole and American slang throughout the book? What does the use of either or both languages suggest about the characters in the novel?

2. What are some of the similarities between Detroit, Michigan and Port-au-Prince, Haiti? How do they differ?

3. How do you think Fabiola changes over the course of the novel? What were some of the events that facilitated those changes?

4. How would you describe the Three Bees? Which one of their characters would you most identify with and why?

5. What does Fabiola mean when she says “Now I don’t look so … Haitian. So immigrant.” How would the Three Bees interpret those words? What are some examples of when Fabiola feels like she isn’t only Haitian but she’s not fully Americanized either?

6. How did you feel about Kasim when you first met him? Did you trust him? What about Dray? How were Kasim and Dray the same? How were they different?

7. Describe the different forms of fighting that take place throughout the novel. What are the various reasons that the characters are involved in fighting? Do you think they have a choice about if they would want to fight or back down? Why or why not?

8. Describe what happens at the party in Gross Pointe Park. How would you react in that situation? Would you have trusted Detective Stevens? Why or why not?

9. Magical realism combines realistic narrative and naturalistic technique with surreal elements of dream or fantasy. How does this enhance Fabiola’s spirituality throughout the book?

10. Explain the significance of this quote: “But then I realize that everyone is climbing their own mountain here in America. They are tall and mighty and they live in the hearts and everyday lives of the people.”