Let’s Read: American Street

Megan Grams, Sports Editor

In her debut novel, Ibi Zoboi takes from her own experiences as a young Haitian immigrant and transforms her story into a powerful one about a teenage girl who goes through the struggle of immigrating to a new country that many young immigrants go through everyday.  

This novel begins with 16-year-old Fabiola Toussaint’s arrival in Detroit. Originally born in the United States, but was raised in Haiti by her mother, Valerie, who had been detained in New York by immigration authorities. When at the airport in Detroit, Fabiola met her cousins: Chantal, Pri and Donna and eventually meets her aunt, Marjorie Francois.

At first, Fabiola struggles to keep up with her cousins popular reputation and their busy life, but she soon finds herself getting used to and making connections within her new life, but a new conflict arises.

During a night out, Fabiola is approached and is presented with a proposition: to prove that Dray, who she had just met, is guilty of enacting in the murder of a girl. If she proves that Dray is guilty, this detective will secure her mother’s release.

Later in the book, Fabiolas attention goes from Dray and focuses on her cousins, when she learns this new, shocking information. When eavesdropping on her Auntś conversation with the mysterious man known as Q, Fabiola learns that it was not Dray who had sold the drug to the girl who was murdered, but her cousins that did. Shocked, Fabiola confronts her cousins and learns that selling this drug was the only way they could support themselves. Conflicted, Fabiola comes to the conclusion that she will frame Dray for her cousins crime as she does know that he does illegal work for Q.

After manipulating Dray into going to the park for a deal, Fabiola tells the detective, but Kasim, who Fabiola had grown to have feelings for, tags along with Dray. Fabiola, after much consideration, tells her cousins. However, they reach the park too late, as they see Kasim on the ground, dead. Back at her Aunt’s house, Dray arrives and attempts to harm Fabiola, but does not succeed because their neighbor stops Dray. In the days following, people hold protests against police brutality because of Kasim’s death.

In the end, although all of the drama and violence there is some good, Detective Stevens announces the release of Fabiolas mother back into the US. The question remains: what limits will one go to protect family?

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