By Ibi Zoboi
Publication Date: February 14, 2017
Fabiola was born in America but has lived in Haiti her entire life so when she and her mother try to move to Detroit, her mother is detained but Fabiola is not.
So I’m in the minority here and I would like to begin by saying that I REALLY wanted to like this book and it started off well but I just didn’t like it and here’s why.
This book was incredibly predictable. Predictability is a dealbreaker for me and maybe it was intentionally predictable but that was my main issue. If a book is supposed to be predictable than it should have some nuance or strong character development just something to distract the reader. I know I’m not the only one who predicted everything so that’s why I think I must have missed something great that everyone else saw.
The cousins were a bit too tropey for me and none of them had a unique voice. I appreciate their rationale for why they are intentionally mean but that’s all I got that made these characters special. I liked that Donna explained her devotion to Dray but it bothered me a bit that her dealbreaker was his association with a white girl and not him beating her or cheating on her with black girls.
There’s instalove which is also a dealbreaker for me and I felt the relationship was forced and a means to an end. I thought Fabiola was a little uneven. She begins the story as a scared girl aching for her mother. She had a hard life in Haiti but when she stepped off the plane she came across as meek. Then a couple days in she tells herself she’s going to be brave and then she steps out with weave and a tight dress and engaging with dangerous men. A girl who does the latter is a confident person and Fabiola just didn’t seem all that confident when she stepped off the plane. I got her sense of desperation and the fact that she put herself in harms way for her mother and that was believable but that initial personality switch was a jolt.
I did like the Dray character and thought he was a complicated young man and a good villain. I also enjoyed Bad Leg and Fab’s belief in him as a higher being. It made the reader also wonder if Bad Leg was just an observant crackhead or if he was a something else. My only issue was that the cousins told Fab that he was a crackhead and to leave it alone but when she tells them that Bad Leg says to not go to the party, they believe her. Now I was skipping around and maybe I missed something that made them start believing in Bad Leg and if that is the case, ignore what I just said. I also liked the curse surrounding the house.
I really wanted to like it and I must be missing the greatness of this book because I didn’t enjoy it.