Review: Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel

Dust Girl (The American Fairy Trilogy, #1)Callie LeRoux lives in Slow Run, Kansas, helping her mother run their small hotel and trying not to think about the father she’s never met. Lately all of her energy is spent battling the constant storms plaguing the Dust Bowl and their effects on her health. Callie is left alone when her mother goes missing in a dust storm. Her only hope comes from a mysterious man offering a few clues about her destiny and the path she must take to find her parents in "the golden hills of the west": California.

Along the way she meets Jack, a young hobo boy who is happy to keep her company — there are dangerous, desperate people at every turn. And there’s also an otherworldly threat to Callie. Warring fae factions, attached to the creative communities of American society, are very much aware of the role this half-mortal, half-fae teenage girl plays in their fate.

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. She adapts to any style of writing, meaning that Callie's thoughts and the rest of the character's dialogue really sounded true to the 1930s. I did however think that the pace slipped at times and there wasn't really much going on, so I was bored between the magic.

Overall, a unique and interesting take on fairies in a believable 1930s setting. At times the pacing slipped and I got confused at many points. I disliked the main character but like the backing characters.

Overall Rating: C+

Book released 26th June 2012 by Random House Children's Books
Book received as an eGalley through NetGalley

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