Reviews

American Street, by Ibi Zoboi

jalex's review against another edition

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challenging
  • Loveable characters? Yes

5.0

teganbeese's review against another edition

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5.0

Oh my heart. This book is beautiful and heartbreaking. An amazing audiobook. A 2019 Lincoln award nominee.

savena's review against another edition

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4.0

*rounds of applause* I really enjoyed this. For a country I live so near to, I know very little about Haiti so I really enjoyed reading from Fabiola's perspective. On top of that, it was just so interesting. It brought alot to the table, and it had it's funny moments, sweet moments, relatable moments, intense moments, that just had me turning the page. It was also just very different from other books I've read.
The ending was kinda iffy lol but I really didn't mind it.

skoppelkam's review against another edition

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3.0

A student recommended this to me, and while I didn't end up loving it, I always enjoy reading others' favorite books and learning a bit about them through that process. This is the story of Fabiola, a young woman from Haiti who is trying to come live in America with her mother. I really enjoyed the elements of Haitian culture and vodou throughout, and it was a great audiobook.

kelseysej's review against another edition

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3.0

Synopsis

Fabiola Tousaint and her mother leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti in search of a better life with Fabiola's aunt in Detroit. Fabiola, an American citizen by birth, has not problem entering the country, but her mother is detained due to a past overstayed visa. Fabiola must build a new life for herself in the home of her Aunt Jo, surrounded by her sometimes loving, sometimes not so loving, cousins Chantel, Pri, and Donna. Though she and her mother came to America in search of a better life and "the American Dream", Fabiola quickly learns that in many ways, Detroit and Port-au-Prince are not all that different.

Things I Loved

Ibi Zoboi fills American Street with a diverse cast of dimensional characters. Although the story has a large character list, few characters feel as if they are there simply as a plot device. Each character has their own personality and motivation, which helps drive the story forward.

Zoboi also includes a mixture of Creole, English, and French throughout the text which makes the character of Fabiola feel even more realistic. The inclusion of strong Haitian culture and customs offers a unique global perspective missing from a lot of literature (young adult and adult) that is presented as "multicultural" or "diverse". The cultural touchstones Zoboi includes in American Street are purposeful and do not objectify Haitians or Haitian culture, nor does Zoboi present the cultural markers and touch points as an exotic other.

Things I did not love so much

The greatest weakness of American Street for me is the scope and scale of the plot overall. The premise of the story is promising, but for me as a reader, there was simply too much going on. Drugs, domestic violence, immigration, police/public relationships, bullying, etc.--it was difficult to know which way to look. Now, I get it. All of these things effect people every single day in real life. The book mirrors the chaos of our own world. However (bear with me on this), I often think that in literature (especially literature written for younger audiences and within a shorter page span), less is often more.

TL;DR

American Street is a compelling story that touches on issues that effect us everyday. The characters are compelling and fully fleshed out, but the plot at times seems unfocused/like it is trying to do too much.

plurielle's review against another edition

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5.0

Wow. Based on everything I'd heard (and essays I've read by this author), I knew I was going to love this book but was not fully prepared for its intensity and richness. As a folklore nerd, I was hooked right away by Fabiola's fascination with the lwas of Haitian Vodou--that layer was gorgeous, deep, poetic, and masterfully handled. And then there are the rich and vibrant characters, the sweetness of first love, the heart-racing intensity of plot twists I will not reveal (and that you will not see coming!). It's a story of a girl, a city, immigrant joy and immigrant woes, heartbreak, love, and the dance among cultures in America's streets.

gracecourtneyy's review against another edition

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emotional hopeful reflective sad tense medium-paced

5.0

stringbeanbooks's review

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4.0

What an eye opening and beautifully tragic story. Listening to this novel on audiobook truly made the reading experience 10x better- I would highly recommend. The hardships and struggles that all of these women face were told so brutally honest and overall made for such an important story.

juliagiammarco16's review against another edition

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emotional inspiring slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

5.0

rakesh87's review against another edition

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emotional relaxing sad fast-paced

3.0