Published by Balzer + Bray on February 14th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, romance, Young Adult
Source: the publisher
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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?
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
My favorite part of this book was the voice of the narrator, Fabiola. She’s a teenage immigrant from Haiti whose mother gets detained when they attempt to come into the country. Her mother sends her ahead to Detroit where her aunt and cousins are waiting for them. The story is of her journey to get her mother released and her first few months as an American. She had a very realistic, sincere feel about the way she told the story. It was admirable how she would do anything to get her mother back which ended up requiring tough decisions to be made.
I always enjoy own voices books because I feel like I’m truly able to gather bits and pieces of other people’s realities that are different than mine. The comparisons that she made between her life and Haiti and the acquisition to her life in Detroit was interesting to read because of the things I’ve read/heard about Detroit. While many differences existed between the two places, because of some of the lifestyle choices her aunt and cousins made, there were times when she may have been better off still in Haiti.
I love when books include different words and phrases from different languages. In this particular book it really added to the story. I also really loved the elements of magical realism that tied back to the religion she and her mother practiced and felt protected themselves and their family members when they were still in Haiti and survived things like the massive earthquake and extreme poverty.
I can’t write a review and leave out her first love, Kasim. He was everything you want a teenage love to be and I think the contrast between the way he treated her as opposed to the way her cousin’s boyfriend, Dray, treated her was powerful. It’s never okay to accept an abusive relationship, no matter what else they do for you. I think this effectively portrayed the two relationships and the different choices each girl made when it came to them.
Overall, I rated this 4 stars. It was a really fantastic read and I highly recommend it!