Mock Printz booktalk: American Street by Ibi Zoboi

What follows is a booktalk for a title on our Mock Printz shortlist. We hope you’ll be able to join us at the event where our winner will be chosen! This booktalk was written by Ian Duncanson of Beaverton City Library.

Fabiola has just arrived in the US from Haiti to settle with her cousins in a rough Detroit neighborhood. Her mom is caught in immigration limbo, and Fabiola swears that she will do whatever is necessary to help spring her so that her family can be whole again.

The opportunity arises when she makes the acquaintance of a cop who wants to collar a violent neighborhood drug dealer — but that dealer also happens to be the abusive boyfriend of one of Fabiola’s cousins. Fabiola is now torn between wanting to free her mother and the fear of violent, possibly fatal reprisals for snitching. On top of that, she’s navigating the typical teenage pressures of a new school and a fresh romance with a boy from the neighborhood. She sees signs of her native Vodou in everyday people and occurrences and hopes that the spirits will protect her as she decides whether or not to help the police and her mother when doing so may very well mean her death.