Thursday, July 20, 2017

American Street by Ibi Zoboi

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?

When Fabiola's mother is detained by immigration when they leave Haiti to visit family in the United States, Fabiola is forced to navigate Detroit with only her aunt and her gruff cousins to guide her. Her aunt has recently had a stroke, and her cousins are tough , gruff Detroit natives, known to everyone as the Three Bees (brains, beauty & brawn).

There are hints of magical realism as Fabiola tries to hold on to her Haitian roots, continuing to pray to the Vodou spirits to help her and seeing them in the people she meets - the homeless man across the street who sings through the night, the hairdresser that gives her an American makeover, the detective who asks her to spy on her family and friends in order to save her mother, and the cute boy who calls her Fabulous.

This gritty story is definitely recommend for older teens or adults looking for a gripping diverse and emotional story about family, love, and the true meaning of "home."

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Book Review: Bang by Barry Lyga

One shot ruined his life. Another one could end it.

Sebastian Cody did something horrible, something no one—not even Sebastian himself—can forgive. At the age of four, he accidentally shot and killed his infant sister with his father’s gun.

Now, ten years later, Sebastian has lived with the guilt and horror for his entire life. With his best friend away for the summer, Sebastian has only a new friend—Aneesa—to distract him from his darkest thoughts. But even this relationship cannot blunt the pain of his past. Because Sebastian knows exactly how to rectify his childhood crime and sanctify his past.

It took a gun to get him into this.

Now he needs a gun to get out.

At the age of four, Sebastian accidentally shot and killed his infant sister. Now fourteen, he still hasn't forgiven himself and contemplates suicide every night. When his best friend leaves for the summer, he figures it's finally the right time. 

That is until he meets Aneesa, a new girl in town, who, unlike everyone else, doesn't know about Sebastian's past. She convinces him to use his creative pizza talents to create YouTube channel and livens up his life for a while, distracting him from his guilt and loneliness, though it's still always hidden beneath the surface.

 Lyga's writing is honest and introspective, showing a perspective of tragedy that we rarely witness. This is a heartbreaking, but also heartwarming story that will remain with you for weeks after reading it.

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