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Dust Girl: The American Fairy Trilogy Book 1
 
 

Dust Girl: The American Fairy Trilogy Book 1 [Kindle Edition]

Sarah Zettel
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description

Product Description

Fans of Libba Bray’s The Diviners will love the blend of fantasy and twentieth-century history in this stylish series.

Callie LeRoux is choking on dust. Just as the biggest dust storm in history sweeps through the Midwest, Callie discovers her mother's long-kept secret. Callie’s not just mixed race—she's half fairy, too. Now, Callie's fairy kin have found where she's been hidden, and they're coming for her.

While dust engulfs the prairie, magic unfolds around Callie. Buildings flicker from lush to shabby, and people aren’t what they seem. The only person Callie can trust may be Jack, the charming ex-bootlegger she helped break out of jail.

From the despair of the Dust Bowl to the hot jazz of Kansas City and the dangerous beauties of the fairy realm, Sarah Zettel creates a world rooted equally in American history and in magic, where two fairy clans war over a girl marked by prophecy.

A strong example of diversity in YA, the American Fairy Trilogy introduces Callie LeRoux, a half-black teen who stars in this evocative story full of American history and fairy tales.

Supports the Common Core State Standards.


From the Hardcover edition.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1585 KB
  • Print Length: 306 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0375869387
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (26 Jun 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005S2J114
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #100,635 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Jade
Format:Hardcover
There's a lot to be said for fairy books that manage to bring something unique to the YA market, and this book certainly manages to do that. I loved the originality of this book, with a historical setting and a very southern vibe to it, though at times it did make for a confusing read.

Sarah Zettel is very good at creating these recognisable but also unique settings, we can recognise it as the 1930's dust bowl but at the same time she adds these touches of magic, making it unique and mysterious, which I really enjoyed. There is also the added historical touch of black rights, which Callie has to face is she's mixed race and that was done very well and very sensitively. I loved all of the places that Callie and Jack go and all of the people that they meet as they all seemed so authentic and never slipped out of 1930s speech and thought. I especially liked Shimmy, who was very stereotypical of a glamorous black woman in the 1930s but also had a mysterious side to her. I also really liked Jack himself, as he was cocky and street-smart and pretty unique as a male YA character. Callie grew on me eventually, but I never really loved her as a character as she was very whiny and very stupid at times.

The magic aspect of the book was done well, as a whole. I was put out by all the usage of 'Seelie' and 'Unseelie' since I was expecting the fairy aspect to be original and that is always used in fairy books. I did, however, really like the way that magic is done through wishes. I was pretty confused when Callie went through time windows as it wasn't explained too well.

I loved Zattel's writing style, I alsways have and this book did NOT let me down. She has a very unique voice which works best when telling stories with magic in.
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Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  29 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars all the fairies, none of the escapism 26 Jun 2012
By Erin Satie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
DUST GIRL impressively combines historical and fantasy elements. It's set in Kansas during the Dust Bowl, five years into the drought that's killed crops and forced established families to abandon their homes and seek better fortune elsewhere. Slow Run, where our heroine Callie was born and raised, has slowly turned from an agricultural center into a ghost town.

That's not all, of course. Callie's mother is a little crazy. Callie herself is dying of dust pneumonia, her lungs filling up with dirt that's slowly suffocating her. And she's a mixed-race child, with a white mother and a black father, during Segregation.

If you read the book blurb, you know this is a fairy story. That Callie's absent father is a fairy prince, making Callie a fairy princess. You might think that the fantasy elements would offer an escape from the grim, dry reality of the Kansas Dust Bowl. This is a middle-grade paranormal, after all - surely there will be iridescent wings and silk gowns and marble fountains somewhere along the line? But, no, Sarah Zettel defies expectations.

There's magic aplenty in DUST GIRL, but all of it is themed. Zettel takes up fairy lore that we all know (the Seelie/Unseelie court, the deadly potency of iron, etc.) and wraps it up with issues like race relations and poverty. For example: the "Unseelie" fairies are dark-skinned, making Callie appear to be mixed race, and one of the court's primary sources of magic is jazz music. DUST GIRL is, bizarrely, a fairy story that refuses to indulge even the smallest escapist tendency. All of the fantastical elements lead the reader deeper into the history.

My biggest problem with the book was Callie. I had no idea how old she was. The book is narrated from her point of view and sometimes her vocabulary would be very sophisticated but at others very simple. Sometimes her understanding of the world felt childlike, at other times more adult. She could have been anywhere from eight to fifteen, and I was never sure. I couldn't get a really solid bead on her personality, either. Sometimes she was meek and obedient. Sometimes she had gumption. I was never sure what sparked one side of her character to come out over the other and she ended up just plain not making any sense to me.

I think a lot of people are going to love this book. The worldbuilding is a feat in itself. I do recommend it to anyone who's thrilled at the prospect of a non-escapist book about a fairy princess. Personally, however...because the heroine never grabbed my heart, the book itself didn't either. I was impressed, but I didn't fall in love.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars American historical fantasy set in the 1930's 28 Jun 2012
By K. Eckert - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I got an eGalley of this book to review through NetGalley(dot)com. I was really excited to read this book, I love fairy tales and was curious to read about a fairy tale in a 1930's American setting. The book ended up being very underwhelming; the story was simple, not all that engaging, and just overall mediocre.

Callie lives with her mother in Kansas and spends most of the time fighting against the continuous drought and frequent dust-storms that have made her sick. When her mother disappears in a sandstorm Callie is left to fend for herself and discovers that she is not exactly human. She will have to journey to California with a hobo boy named Jack if she is ever going to save her mother.

I will be blunt...I didn't like this book much...I didn't hate it, but I wasn't all that engaged in it either. I thought everything about it was a bit washed out (like the cover). The landscape and setting were kind of blah, Callie and Jack were kind of boring, and the journey they take was similar. That being said is wasn't poorly written, I just didn't find it to be an exciting read.

Callie kind of goes with the flow for most of the book; she accepts the fact that she's half fairy pretty readily. She has occasional moments of strength, but for the most part she was like every other YA heroine you've ever read about. She fancies Jack and is determined to find her mom. She makes many of the same mistakes (trusting strangers who say they know her) over and over again.

Jack was okay too, but nothing special. He is kind of your bad boy thief type and goes along with the adventure to get a good story. He also makes a lot of mistakes and never comes off as a real strong or noble hero.

The setting was an interesting one for a fairy tale, it is a creative idea. It didn't really work for me though. The 1930's dust bowl as a backdrop of a fairy tale? Sounds kind of neat. But the scenes were never really described in a way that made them come alive for me; everything just seemed washed out.

I also enjoyed how Callie used music to call magic. Unfortunately the magic system wasn't well defined and the rules to how Callie could use her magic were inconsistent. I like my magic with some consistency (I know probably sounds a bit silly).

My favorite part of the book was when they went to the Fairyland amusement park. I loved the irony in this part of the story and how different parts of fairy tales were blended in with something like an amusement park. If the whole story had been more like the end, this could have been a great read.

Overall it was an okay read. It is a quick read and is decently written. Everything about the story was mediocre; although the 1930's is an interesting setting. I personally wouldn't recommend reading this book if you like fairy tales; there wasn't as much fairy tale to this story as there was adventuring through the 1930's. So if you are interested in American Historical Fantasy this might interest you, unfortunately there isn't a lot to the story...it's pretty simple. I won't be reading any more of this series.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Scary historical 17 July 2013
By Madigan McGillicuddy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I was highly skeptical when I heard about this faery-inspired alternate history that takes place in the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression. I had trouble imagining how heartless foreboding faeries (which I always picture as woodland dwellers) would fit into the dry and dusty climate of 1935 Kansas. It turns out Zettel did an amazing job - the malevolent otherworldly creatures are masters of illusions, and are fond of extracting promises which they honor to the letter if not the spirit.

Callie LeRoux is growing desperate as her mother has disappeared and money and supplies at their bed and breakfast are running perilously low. Naturally, no new business is forthcoming, as the remote village of Slow Run is quickly becoming a ghost town. People are abandoning their lives, picking up and moving away in the night, in hopes of finding any kind of relief from the crushing poverty they face in Kansas.

Callie's certain the sudden arrival of the haughty and demanding Hopper family, clearly well-to-do, is just the stroke of luck that will help her pull things together. Unfortunately, she couldn't be more wrong. She and hobo runaway Jack end up fleeing for their lives, as Callie struggles to hide her biracial heritage from both humans and fae. I loved the imagery of the evil fae as locusts over the land. Much of the book feels lonely as Callie flees across the empty Midwest towards California. You know that dream you have where you're being chased and you're running and running, but just can't seem to get away? It feels like that. This book was a lot scarier and less romantic than I had thought. I'd recommend this for mature middle-grade and teen readers who enjoy a bit of a scare along with their history.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brimming with magic and mystery 17 Mar 2013
By Miss Print - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Once upon a time Callie thought she was a normal girl.

Sure, she had dust in her lungs and lived with her mama in a rundown hotel in the rundown town of Slow Run, Kansas but that wasn't as strange as you might think in the middle of America's Dust Bowl. Certainly Callie had her secrets, same as her mama, but those were normal, human girl secrets. Because, once upon a time, Callie really thought she was a normal, human girl.

That ended on April 14, 1935 when her mama disappeared and Callie found out she wasn't human at all.

Left alone for the first time in her life, with strange creatures tracking her, Callie will have to leave behind everything she knew to find the unbelievable truth of who she is in Dust Girl (2012) by Sarah Zettel.

Dust Girl is the first book in Zettel's American Fairy trilogy. The second book, Golden Girl, is due out in summer 2013. This is Zettel's first book for a young adult audience.

Zettel's writing is filled with evocative descriptions of deadly dust storms and sprawling landscapes that bring 1935 Kansas to life. References to the music and nuances of the era create an atmospheric read. Written in the first person, Callie's voice is reminiscent of tall tales and wide spaces. Dust Girl is brimming with magic and mystery but throughout the story it is the heroine, Callie, who really makes this novel stand out.

Dust Girl is a subtle, contemplative read where Callie's journey throughout the novel is just as satisfying as the dramatic conclusion. While there is clearly more to Callie's story, Dust Girl ends nicely with enough closure to make the wait for book two bearable.

Possible Pairings: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson, The Diviners by Libba Bray, The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones, The Iron King by Julie Kagawa, A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin, Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin, Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous 25 Feb 2013
By Christian Klaver - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I loved this book. Callie is an adorable character, and the whole thing is peopled with all manner of twisted and fascinating Fairy characters, but my favorite part is the prose. If you don't get a little awed and choked up by the beginning chapter and Callie wandering around the devastation that the dust bowl (and a seriously mysterious and absent father) has wreaked on Callie's life, I can't help you. Just gorgeous.
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