Book Reviews

Review: American Street by Ibi Zoboi

I was not sure what I was expecting when I picked up American Street. But whatever I thought was blown out of the water. I listened to it on audiobook, which was even more powerful than reading it, and it was gripping.


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 romance, all on her own.

Just as she finds her footing in this strange new world, a dangerous proposition presents itself, and Fabiola soon realizes that freedom comes at a cost. Trapped at the crossroads of an impossible choice, will she pay the price for the American dream?


book review american street by ibi zoboiThere is just so much to unpack in this book. Where do I even begin? Do I begin with the characters that make your heart pulse and swoon? Or do I start with the plot which captures your heart in a vise grip? Either way, you can’t stop reading even when it is terrifying, or when your heart breaks, or when you want to just shake something. There was just so much in this book to unpack – the themes, the characters, the plot. Everything.

American Street immediately pulled me in. Listening to it on audiobook made it even more so because you could hear the emotion in the voice of the narrator. It was a different world entirely, as I grew up in pretty quiet suburbs, and our protagonist grew up in Haiti during a tumultuous time, and then moves into the city of Detroit. There’s such a wealth of intercultural communication challenges. At the heart of the story is love.

Whether it be love for a loved one, for family, for the community, or for oneself. This is one of the largest themes that flows through the book, weaving the characters, their motivations, and their mistakes together. What will we do for family? Ethical dilemmas litter this book and no one is simple – even the side characters. At the same time it deals with the war on drugs, poverty, and violence in the city. This is a powerful read that is gripping. Check out American Street on Goodreads.


What would you do for family?

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4 thoughts on “Review: American Street by Ibi Zoboi

  1. I actually enjoyed this book more than THUG and I read them in the same month. I wish this book had received as much publicity.

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