American Street

American Street

Book - 2017 | First edition.
Average Rating:
Rate this:

A National Book Award Finalist with five starred reviews!

A New York Times Notable Book * Publishers Weekly Flying Start * Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year * ALA Booklist Editors' Choice of 2017 (Top of the List winner) * School Library Journal Best Book of the Year * Kirkus Best Book of the Year * BookPage Best YA Book of the Year

American Street is an evocative and powerful coming-of-age story perfect for fans of Everything, Everything; Bone Gap; and All American Boys.

In this stunning debut novel, Pushcart-nominated author Ibi Zoboi draws on her own experience as a young Haitian immigrant, infusing this lyrical exploration of America with magical realism and vodou culture.

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?

Publisher: New York : Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, [2017]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780062473042
Branch Call Number: YA FIC Zoboi
Characteristics: 324 pages ; 22 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Chapel_Hill_KatieJ Jan 07, 2018

Fabiola and her mother are trying to move to Detroit from Haiti, when her mother is detained by immigrant authorities. Fabiola was born in the United States, so she is able to go to Detroit where she moves in with her aunt and three cousins. She imagines the man outside their house on American Street is Papa Legba, a guiding spirit who can tell her how to get her mother back. Fabiola seems to adjust to life in Detroit, but at the same time is completely in over her head. The book is gritty and surprising, with a touch of magical realism. Fabiola's relationship with Kasim is a central part of the book, but the relationship she has with her three cousins is really the heart of the book.

Nov 30, 2017

If you're considering reading this, DO IT! You won't regret it.

AL_LAURA Jul 30, 2017

This book broke my heart, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Wow.

Jun 02, 2017

This book is a stunning, captivating debut from Ibi Zoboi. The story was intriguing and the meshing of Haitian and Detroit culture was done perfectly. The only criticism I would levy against it is that Fabiola's mother took too much of a backseat to the romance. Coming in, I was hoping romance would barely be explored much less take over the entire plot. But I found our romantic interest and the developement of their relationship adequately believable and enjoyable. I really enjoyed the developement and characterization of Chantal, Pri, and Donna. Overall, a truly beautiful novel I would recommend to anyone.

May 19, 2017


Real review: This was so good and I'm having trouble putting that into words. Zoboi is a gifted storyteller. The characters of AMERICAN STREET captivate you from the very first page. I would say the character development is the strongest aspect of this book and the story is quite unlike anything I've ever read. I also loved how Fabiola would compare her experiences as a Haitian immigrant in America with Vodou culture. I'm paraphrasing here but Fabiola described her situation as, "American by birth, Haitian by blood". I didn't expect the magical realism and it was a really beautiful surprise. A superb debut YA novel! I'm avidly awaiting Zoboi's next work.

I was not 100% convinced that the detective Fabiola was giving information to could get Fabiola's mother out of the detention centre that easily, unless she had strong connections with ICE (which isn't confirmed). Obviously the case the detective was working on was a big one, but it didn't seem like a case that crossed state lines or would get national headlines. It just seemed too good to be true. I still enjoyed the ending and concluded the author wanted to give the reader hope.

15-year-old Fabiola Toussaint stands at the intersection of American Street and Joy Road, bathed in orange streetlight and the hazy smoke of Papa Legba’s cigar. Each path has a cost -- one her Haitian roots and Vodou spirits, and the other her hopes and dreams. Which path will she take? Or is there another?

This story of family, faith and courage turns an unflinching gaze on the immigrant experience in contemporary America, and is one of my favorite YA reads so far this year. Ibi Zoboi is one to watch.

For fans of Jason Reynolds, Nnedi Okorafor, and Laura Ruby.

LPL_KateG May 08, 2017

Holy Moly. I just listened to the audiobook (which was incredible and narrated by one of my fave readers, Robin Miles), and this book was a roller-coaster of emotions. Absolutely gut-punching. I thoroughly enjoyed the pacing of this novel - it kept me very interested in the plot while still giving me enough insight into the characters. I was left in awe and wanting to discuss it with someone! LPL has it as a Book Club in a Bag kit, and I'd highly recommend putting it on your book club's To Read list.

Apr 28, 2017


Apr 11, 2017

I like that the story takes place in a different setting. Many novels aren't set in Detroit. Yet, I struggled to find a reason to root for any of the characters. From the first few chapters I was hooked: a Haitian teen was separated from her mother at the airport while trying to get in the US. Then, afterwards there wasn't any urgency from the entire family to get Fab's mother back, or at least find out where she was. The cousin's storylines and the love relationship took priority. Too many plots introduced and not followed through. Plus, there was so much cursing without a reason for it. Cursing is fine, but pack it with purpose and emotion...not just to act like all teens talk like that.

American Street is a roller coaster of emotions and surprises that, ultimately, I didn't want to get off. The manifestations of Fabiola's vodou Iwas in her new life in urban Detroit is beautifully done and takes the book in a totally unexpected direction. I loved the characters in this and I felt like I was eavesdropping on a real conversation during all the dialog. I came away from the book with a lot to think about. For better or worse, many of the issues that come up in this story are pretty timely in 2017, so you'll definitely come away from this with a lot to chew on. Ibi Zoboi is hugely talented, and I can't wait to see what she does next.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

Sep 08, 2017

sofia_24 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at VPL

To Top