American Street is a wonderful book: a gritty teen tragedy with magic realist elements woven beautifully into the whole.
Fabiola is US-born but raised in Haiti with money sent by her Matant Jo, her single mother’s older sister. Landing in the US, her mother who’s on a tourist visa, is detained by immigration and Fabiola must negotiate thenew world of Detroit with her aunt and cousins: Chantal, Pri and Donna, alone.
There are mean girls at school, neighbourhood bad boys and drug-dealers as well as the old homeless guy, Bad Leg, who sings the blues on the corner of American Street and Joy Road. The story is woven together beautifully: elements of Fabiola’s voudou beliefs, her desperate wish to gain freedom for her mother and the violent world of her new hood coalesce to a tragic climax. Stunning. 14+
p.s. Fans of this book might like Edwidge Dantcat’s gorgeous Untwine also set in the Haitian diaspora.