Published by Balzer + Bray on February 14, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
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The rock in the water does not know the pain of the rock in the sun.
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?
A Haitian immigrant is torn between multiple crossroads in this bittersweet young adult contemporary novel. Let’s review!
This is a really hard review for me to write. Overall, I enjoyed reading this book. It brings an important perspective to the young adult genre. It features a POC main character, Fabiola Toussaint, struggling with immigration, gang violence, and abuse against women. Fabiola is a likable narrator, full of conviction and heart. Her Vodou faith centers her. It’s one of the best representations of a faith-driven character not associated with Christianity.
Zoboi brings alive the Detroit inner-city, particularly her description of Joy Road and American Street. I felt very present in each and every moment. Fabiola’s Haitian heritage and Vodou beliefs juxtapose interestingly against the American culture exhibited by her cousins and friends. The ending is absolutely perfect considering the plot set into motion.
However, this book contains a LOT of hate and violence against other women. Fabiola’s cousins and friends are constantly making hateful remarks against other women, even if unprovoked. Now, I’m aware we do not live in a utopia where women, particularly teenage girls, only build each other up. But I was kinda surprised at the vitriol these girls would have for other girls. If you choose to read this book, be prepared for women against women hate.
tl;dr A unique perspective on the immigration experience with a likeable narrator and a bittersweet ending.