American Street Book Summary, by Ibi Zoboi

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1-Page Summary of American Street

Overall Summary

American Street is a novel by Haitian-American author Ibi Zoboi. It follows the life of a young girl named Fabiola Toussaint who has to deal with her family’s move from Brooklyn, New York to Detroit in order for her father to find work.

The film American Street tells the story of a Haitian immigrant named Fabiola who moves back home to America. Her mother is detained by immigration officers as she enters the US, and Fabiola has to move in with her cousins. She misses life in Haiti, but Detroit is cold and desolate for her.

Fabiola enrolls in a school and struggles with American culture. There are both poverty and wealth, as well as unhappiness. Fabiola becomes close friends with her cousins—the Three Bees—who protect each other fiercely. She also makes friends at school, who helps her improve her grades. Over time she falls in love with Kasim, Donna’s boyfriend Dray’s best friend. Dray can be cruel to Donna sometimes.

A detective approaches Fabiola and offers to free her mother in exchange for information that can connect Dray to a party. The cops believe that there was drug use at the party, and they think Dray is involved. Fabiola undertakes a secret mission to expose him, but she learns from her cousins that it’s actually their aunt who sells drugs for loan sharks. Their cousins got into dealing drugs themselves because of the money they could make selling them.

Fabiola cannot tell the detective about her cousins, so she devises a plan to get Dray arrested. She arranges for Kasim to sell drugs at a party, but in fact he is selling them on behalf of Dray. Fabiola realizes this and rushes to the party where the cops have already killed Kasim. Fabiola is heartbroken by what has happened, but the detective arranges for her mother’s release from prison. Fabiola, her aunt and cousins leave Detroit for good and drive all night toward New Jersey where they will pick up Fabiola’s mother before heading back home. Now that both of their daughters are gone, Auntie Bee tells everyone that she is “the brave one.”

Chapter 1

The story is about Fabiola, a Haitian teenager who wants to immigrate to the United States with her mother. Her mother was born in Haiti but moved to the US when she was young and became a citizen. However, she has lost contact with her relatives in Haiti and doesn’t have any money or property there anymore. The two arrive at JFK airport in New York City where they are detained by immigration officers for questioning because of Manman’s visa status. Fabiola is allowed into the country because she was born here but Manman isn’t so they’re separated while being held for questioning. While trying to find out what happened to her mother, Fabiola encounters cold weather and thinks about how much it differs from that of Haiti’s climate which makes her feel homesick.

Chapter 2

Fabiola is waiting for her cousins to pick her up at the airport. She hasn’t seen them in a long time, and she does not know what they look like anymore. Her cousins arrive: Chantal, Pri, and Donna. They are twins; their names are actually Princess and Primadonna (but everyone calls them Pri and Don). Fabiola informs Chantal about Manman’s situation with immigration officials in New York. The two of them find out that Manman will be deported back to Haiti if something isn’t done soon. Chantal reassures Fabiola that she’ll do everything she can to help Manman stay in America by finding a lawyer who might be able to provide legal assistance for Manman’s case before an immigration judge or some kind of relief from deportation proceedings takes place within the next 45 days after her arrest on February 28th.

American Street Book Summary, by Ibi Zoboi

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