Fabiola is 16-year-old the protagonist of the novel. Because Fabiola was born in Detroit, she’s an American citizen—but when she was three months old, her mother, Manman, chose to return to Haiti with Fabiola… read analysis of Fabiola Toussaint
Kasim is Dray’s best friend; he later becomes Fabiola’s boyfriend. At first, Fabiola describes Kasim as a vagabon, or a bad boy, and wants nothing to do with him because of his… read analysis of Kasim
Pri is one of Fabiola’s cousins; she’s Matant Jo and Phillip’s daughter, Donna’s twin, and Chantal’s younger sister. Like Fabiola, Pri and Donna are 16 years old. Fabiola is initially perplexed… read analysis of Pri/Princess François
Donna is one of Fabiola’s cousins; she’s Matant Jo and Phillip’s daughter, Pri’s twin, and Chantal’s younger sister. Like Fabiola, Donna and Pri are 16 years old. Whereas Pri is short… read analysis of Donna/Primadonna François
Matant Jo François
Matant Jo is Fabiola’s aunt; Manman’s sister; and Chantal, Pri, and Donna’s mother. She’s a few years older than Manman (Fabiola’s mother). Matant Jo’s story is tragic: she and Manman… read analysis of Matant Jo François
Dray is one of the novel’s antagonists; he’s Donna’s boyfriend. At 21, he’s about five years older than Donna. He’s loud, imposing, and dangerous, and he has a reputation for being controlling and getting… read analysis of Dray
Bad Leg/Papa Legba
Bad Leg is a homeless man who sits on the corner of American Street and Joy Road. People call him Bad Leg because he has one leg that he cannot use; when he sits on… read analysis of Bad Leg/Papa Legba
Manman is Fabiola’s mother and Matant Jo’s younger sister. She never directly appears in the novel, because just before the story begins, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers in New York detain her… read analysis of Manman/Valerie Toussaint
Phillip was Fabiola’s uncle; Matant Jo’s husband; and Chantal, Pri, and Donna’s father. He’s been deceased for about a decade when the novel begins. In the late 1990s, Phillip immigrated… read analysis of Phillip/Jean-Phillip François
Detective Shawna Stevens
Detective Stevens works for the Grosse Pointe Park Police Department; she’s investigating the death of a local student who died after taking designer drugs. She wears a fuzzy brown coat and sensible brown shoes, which… read analysis of Detective Shawna Stevens
Uncle Q is Dray’s biological uncle, but Kasim explains that he’s also a paternal figure to many kids in the neighborhood. Uncle Q was there for these children and teens when no one else… read analysis of Uncle Q
Imani is Fabiola’s first friend at school. She’s a beautiful and very smart young woman, with long hair that Fabiola finds beautiful. Though Imani is initially reluctant to befriend Fabiola, given Fabiola’s cousins’ reputation… read analysis of Imani
Mr. Nolan is Fabiola’s English teacher. At first, Fabiola is distraught at first when Mr. Nolan gives her essays poor grades and asks her to cite her sources—but as she learns to write better… read analysis of Mr. Nolan
Ezili is the lwa (Vodou spirit) of women and fertility. She sometimes becomes Ezili-Danto when she’s fighting for women’s vengeance, and in this form, she has injuries on her face. Fabiola sees Donna as… read analysis of Ezili/Ezili-Danto
Ms. Stanley is the principal of Pri, Donna, and Fabiola’s Catholic school. She’s a plump and cheerful white woman.
Taj is Pri’s crush. When Fabiola meets Taj once at a basketball game, she notices how happy and carefree her presence makes Pri.
Miss Sandra is one of the women who works at the beauty parlor where Donna gets her hair done.
Ms. Unique is one of the women who works at the beauty parlor where Donna gets her hair done.
Tonesha is Raquel’s cousin; she gets in Fabiola’s face at school and insists that Kasim is Raquel’s boyfriend.
Raquel is a girl at school who wants to date Kasim. She, her cousin Tonesha, and Fabiola get into a fistfight over Kasim.
Baron Samedi is a lwa (Vodou spirit) and the warden of the cemetery. Fabiola sees Dray as an iteration of Baron Samedi.