Chapters 26-32

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. suspension
    a temporary debarment from a privilege or position
    “We’re going to have to speak with your aunt. She’ll need to come in next week after your suspension ends.”
  2. amnesia
    partial or total loss of memory
    “You have amnesia now, Pri?”
  3. sore
    hurting
    But it just rolled out of my sore mouth.
  4. compact
    a small cosmetics case with a mirror
    No one says anything, but Donna pulls out her compact mirror and she turns it so that she sees me in the reflection.
  5. vengeful
    disposed to take action in return for a perceived wrong
    Our eyes meet in that little mirror and all I can think of is my duty to her—Ezili-Danto, the vengeful one.
  6. croissant
    a very rich, flaky, crescent-shaped roll
    I’m at a table by myself and Kasim has brought over a croissant and hot chocolate.
  7. embody
    represent in physical form
    Manman says that in order for the Iwas to help us, we sometimes have to embody them, let them mount us so they take over our thoughts.
  8. mount
    get up on the back of
    Manman says that in order for the Iwas to help us, we sometimes have to embody them, let them mount us so they take over our thoughts.
  9. compartment
    a partitioned section within a larger enclosed area
    He pulls something out from a little compartment between the seats.
  10. tilt
    incline or bend from a vertical position
    I inhale again, tilt my head back, and exhale.
  11. bogus
    fraudulent; having a misleading appearance
    He’s free to be wherever he wants. We can’t pick him up again on bogus charges. He’s onto us. We need something that’ll stick.
  12. pressure
    a force that compels
    We’re getting pressure from the Park residents. We’re putting pressure on DPD. Nothing’s happening.
  13. shuffle
    walk by dragging one's feet
    Pri and Donna shuffle into the room and they both plop down on Chantal’s bed, yawning and rubbing their eyes.
  14. beware
    be on one's guard; be cautious or wary about; be alert to
    “Bad Leg...he’s Papa Legba, and he says to beware.”
  15. pawn
    borrowing and leaving an article as security for repayment of the loan
    “We gonna have to go to the pawn shop right quick.”
  16. honest
    gained or earned without cheating or stealing
    “No. But it’s honest money, that’s for sure.”
  17. guilt
    remorse caused by feeling responsible for some offense
    Guilt settles in my stomach.
  18. crook
    a circular segment of a curve
    He nestles his face in the crook of my neck and inhales deep.
  19. dissolve
    cause to fade away
    And maybe this bed and his sheets and his room dissolve into nothing.
  20. spoiled
    harmed by too much pampering or attention
    I wasn’t spoiled or nothing. She just liked to show me off in public.
  21. relieve
    free from a burden, evil, or distress
    When she’s done, I’m so relieved to have my head back that I scratch my scalp for a whole ten minutes.
  22. cozy
    having or fostering a friendly and informal atmosphere
    I settle on a pair of gray sweatpants because it will be a cozy TV night on the couch.
  23. earthquake
    vibration from underground movement along a fault plane
    I need a prayer, a song, but everything now is too real—just as it was during the earthquake in Haiti.
  24. code
    a set of rules or principles or laws
    “Fabiola! Do not talk to the detective. Do not talk to cops. Do not talk to lawyers. That’s just how it is out here. That’s code. No more snitching!”
  25. rumble
    utter or emit low, dull, resonant sounds
    I’m on my hands and knees, and the cold ground beneath me is as still as death. It doesn’t rumble.
  26. chorus
    a group of people assembled to sing together
    We are a chorus of silent tears, tiny whimpers, deep guttural wails, and sharp piercing shrieks.
  27. scar
    a mark left by the healing of injured tissue
    He’s not wearing his eye patch, and for the first time, I see that there’s a balled-up scar and a narrow sliver of white where an eye is supposed to be—as if someone had dug it out and left only a ghost of an eye.
  28. stumble
    walk unsteadily
    Chantal shoves me out of the way and I stumble toward the steps.
  29. numb
    lacking sensation
    There’s a hard blow that makes me numb.
  30. jolt
    a sudden jarring impact
    Another jolt of pain. In my face. It echoes in my head like church bells.
  31. steady
    securely in position; not shaky
    Pri is a ball of fire—still, steady, waiting.
  32. crouch
    sit on one's heels
    Manman had just taught me how to boil water in the big aluminum pot over hot coals to pour into a bucket of dirty clothes, then drop in a bar of indigo soap, and, once the water cooled off, crouch down around the bucket to scrub the clothes between my hands.
  33. suffocate
    deprive of oxygen and prevent from breathing
    Everything is slow and thick and threatens to suffocate us.
  34. termination
    the act of ending something
    “She’s already started the termination of proceedings,” Detective Stevens says.
  35. superstitious
    showing faith in magic and ignorance of the laws of nature
    I am superstitious about money now.
  36. consume
    take in as food
    Here, I will tilt my head back, let it pour into my mouth, and consume it.
  37. baptism
    a sacrament signifying spiritual cleansing and rebirth
    The bath is like a baptism, and if black is the color of mourning, then white is the color of rebirth and new beginnings.
  38. mourning
    state of sorrow over the death or departure of a loved one
    The bath is like a baptism, and if black is the color of mourning, then white is the color of rebirth and new beginnings.
  39. rebirth
    reincarnation
    The bath is like a baptism, and if black is the color of mourning, then white is the color of rebirth and new beginnings.
  40. level
    having a surface without slope
    Unlike in Haiti, which means “land of many mountains,” the ground is level here and stretches as far as I can see—as if there are no limits to dreams here.
Created on November 27, 2017 (updated December 5, 2017)

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