Chapters 13-19

In Ibi Zoboi's debut novel, a young Haitian immigrant tries to make a new life for herself in Detroit.
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definitions & notes only words
  1. thud
    a heavy, dull sound
    Just as she says this, Dray grabs Donna’s neck and shoves her against the car with a loud thud.
  2. lunge
    make a thrusting forward movement
    I want to lunge at Dray’s face, but Pri has beat me to it and is already yelling and cursing at him at the top of her lungs.
  3. gleaming
    bright with a steady but subdued shining
    Dray, with his sunglasses even as night spreads across the sky, and his gold cross gleaming, and his love/hate for my cousin, reminds me of the Iwa Baron Samedi, guardian of the cemetery—keeper of death.
  4. guardian
    a person who cares for persons or property
    Dray, with his sunglasses even as night spreads across the sky, and his gold cross gleaming, and his love/hate for my cousin, reminds me of the Iwa Baron Samedi, guardian of the cemetery—keeper of death.
  5. reputation
    the general estimation that the public has for a person
    But that reputation sticks to you like another layer of skin.
  6. hurricane
    a severe tropical cyclone usually with heavy rains and winds
    He looks really good, but that car makes my insides feel like a hurricane.
  7. remnant
    a small part remaining after the main part no longer exists
    I sniff and sniff, searching the air for some remnant of Dray and his bitter-mint-and-sweet-smoke smell...
  8. jazz
    genre of American music that developed in the 20th century
    He turns on the radio and I brace myself for that heavy bass music. But it’s something different. Something like jazz, but still hip-hop.
  9. classic
    a creation of the highest excellence
    “J Dilla. Detroit legend. He died when I was little. I’m into the classics, but all Detroit, all day. Motown, J Dilla, Slum Village.”
  10. fiery
    like or suggestive of a flame
    My skin crawls, and suddenly what was just a smooth hip-hop song now sounds like heavy conga drums—a downbeat rhythm, like for the Petwo Iwas, the fiery spirits signaling danger ahead.
  11. lean
    lacking excess flesh
    A poster near the entrance has a photo of a lean, muscular dancing black couple and the name ALVIN AILEY.
  12. folklore
    the unwritten stories and proverbs and songs of a culture
    I’ve seen live dancers before, at folklore festivals in Port-au-Prince and Les Cayes.
  13. bourgeois
    belonging to the middle class
    It’s as if I’m mingling with the bourgeois businesspeople and entertainers from Petionville.
  14. halo
    radiant light drawn around the head of a saint
    I keep my eyes on one beautiful couple where the woman’s hair sits high and round on top of her head like Jesus’s halo.
  15. impress
    have a positive impact on
    That’s ’cause I was trying to impress you, not them.
  16. trailer
    a wheeled vehicle that can be pulled by a car or truck
    “All that matters is that you’re bougie on the inside. You could be from poor-ass Haiti or live in a trailer park, but as long as you have a bougie heart, you can aim for the finer things in life.”
  17. cologne
    a perfumed liquid made of essential oils and alcohol
    It’s a mix of sweetness and too-strong cologne.
  18. usher
    someone employed to conduct others
    When he hands over the two tickets to the usher, I see that they cost over one hundred dollars each.
  19. heartache
    intense sorrow caused by loss of a loved one
    I forget every single thing in the world, every heartache, every tear, every pain as I watch that performance.
  20. legendary
    so celebrated as to having taken on the nature of a myth
    “Oh, yeah. The legendary Haitian Phil.”
  21. ease
    move gently or carefully
    My skin aches for that sizzling midday Port-au-Prince sun when sweat would ease down my forehead and back.
  22. trickle
    run or flow slowly, as in drops or in an unsteady stream
    Drops of anger trickle out, little by little, as if every single setback over these past few weeks has exploded.
  23. setback
    an unfortunate happening that thwarts or hinders
    Drops of anger trickle out, little by little, as if every single setback over these past few weeks has exploded.
  24. doom
    an unpleasant or disastrous destiny
    Word on his soul is word on my tomb
    Word on my tomb does not spell doom.
  25. brim
    a circular projection sticking out from the crown of a hat
    I keep walking, and when I look to the left, Papa Legba is standing there on the corner of Dover and American, leaning on his cane with rain dripping from the brim of his hat.
  26. utter
    express audibly
    I close my eyes to utter Papa Legba’s name for help because I recognize that voice.
  27. whimper
    cry weakly or softly
    He pulls their leashes and they whimper.
  28. filter
    pass through
    Voices filter in from outside the club.
  29. collapse
    break down due to fatigue, an illness, or a sudden attack
    As I run back home, my heart leaps out of my chest, my head pounds, and I almost collapse on the front steps.
  30. exhale
    expel air
    I close my eyes and exhale.
  31. dictator
    a ruler who is unconstrained by law
    Our world opened up because a long-time dictator was thrown out of Haiti.
  32. perish
    pass from physical life
    And for Valerie...if she did not perish in that ocean, then there is more for her to do in this life.
  33. adjustment
    the process of adapting to something
    Finally, he exhales and nods. “I know. It’s an adjustment,” he says.
  34. pelvis
    the structure of the skeleton supporting the lower limbs
    She pushes her pelvis back and forth.
  35. slim
    being of delicate or slender build
    Her voice is not as deep, but her slim arms are all hard, tight muscle.
  36. makeshift
    done or made using whatever is available
    This is a makeshift altar for Ezili with all the things she loves in the world.
  37. vengeance
    harming someone in retaliation for something they have done
    “Ezili-Danto, the Iwa of vengeance for women. She has the scars on her face, too. And she carries a knife. She will cut a man or woman if she feels betrayed.”
  38. dagger
    a short knife with a pointed blade
    “Yeah, well, I ain’t stabbing my man with no dagger,” Donna says.
  39. concentration
    complete attention; intense mental effort
    Deep in concentration, he doesn’t even look up.
  40. frenzy
    state of violent mental agitation
    Donna pulls me up the stairs and into her bedroom, where it’s a frenzy of finding the right outfit for my very new hair and my very new face.
  41. nudge
    push against gently
    I nudge Donna, who keeps her eyes on what’s going on, too.
  42. muted
    being or made softer or less loud or clear
    The music is muted in here.
  43. scroll
    move through text or graphics on a screen
    I check Dray’s messages and scroll up really fast.
  44. scan
    examine hastily
    I scan the messages that say: Come thru.
  45. bail
    secure the release of (someone) by providing security
    Did Q have to bail out your white girl, too?
Created on November 27, 2017 (updated December 5, 2017)

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