Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel
Series: American Fairy Trilogy #1
Genre: YA, historical fantasy
Published on June 26, 2012
Published by Random House
Read From: 8.31.12 - 9.4.12
Callie LeRoux faces harsh realities in Dust Bowl-era Slow Run, Kansas. The relentless dust storms, which have driven almost everyone from town, leave her fighting for every breath. Still, her half-mad mother insists they stay at the hotel they own, certain that the father Callie has never known will return to them. Now Callie fears she's losing her mind too. Suddenly she's hearing voices - menacing whispers that make her feel as if she's being watched.
When her mother goes missing in a violent storm, Callie is plunged into a whole new reality. Her only hope comes from a mysterious man who holds a few clues about her destiny and the path she must take to find her parents in "the golden hills of the west." Alone for the first time in her life, confused and terrified, Callie lets her guard down and befriends Jack, a hobo boy who is more than happy to keep her company on her trek to California.
But far more threatens Callie and Jack than the danger that comes with riding the rails. Warring fairy factions hide inside and between the creative communities of American society, and they've been looking for Callie. Now that they knew where she is, they're out to capture her and claim the unique power she possesses.
Cover Blurb: Normally I don’t mind a person’s face on the cover if it’s only half of the face, but in this case, it kind of freaks me out. The girl on the front doesn’t really look how I imagine Callie, but I like her anyway. I love how if you look closer, you can see a freaky screaming face in the background. Creepy!
What I Liked: Callie is a good protagonist; resourceful, thinks well on her feet, and doesn’t waste time on emotional breakdowns. I was unsure about Jack at first, and I still don’t 100% know what to think of him, but he isn’t a bad tag-along, either.
What I Disliked: I honestly can’t say that there was anything specific that I disliked. I spent the majority of the book just trying to figure out how much weirder things could get; I didn’t really pay attention to the cons of the story.
Believability: I will address the “believability” of Faerie in America. My general opinion has always been if an Author is going to write a story involving the Seelie and Unseelie Courts, it needs to take place in the British Isles. Take the Fair Folk away from the mystery and ancient history of the Isles, and you lose what makes the Land of Faerie so captivating. Somehow, though, Sarah Zettel managed to make the Unseelie and Seelie Courts fit into Dust Bowl-era America. I never thought it would work, but this Author pulled it off. I don’t really know exactly what it is that made it convincing - maybe it was the abandoned landscapes, the feeling of isolation that the story had. I really can’t say, but it did work.
Writing Style: It wasn’t bad. Callie has a very authentic narrative voice for the time period, and the Author kept the storyline’s pace quick, which prevented me, as the Reader, from having too much time to dwell on the story’s weirdness factor. The true villain in the story is rather obvious, once you actually meet him, but the characters also figure it out shortly afterward, thus eliminating potential aggravation.
Conclusion: The end was maybe the weirdest part of the entire story. It definitely got a What the heck? response from me. But the Author has given herself plenty of material to work with for several sequels, and it has definitely grabbed my interest for rest of the series. I still really don’t know whether or not I liked this book, though. Like is not the word I would use, nor is dislike. So I can only rate this based on the fact that I was never bored.
Recommended Audience: Historical fiction fantasy fans, and Readers looking for a new twist on the world of Faerie. This is one of those books that I would tell a friend to read simply for the weirdness factor. It’s a guy-and-girl read, and appropriate for any age.
Others in the American Fairy Trilogy:
3)Bad Luck Girl
3)Bad Luck Girl