Early Book Review: Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel

Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel is a young adult novel scheduled for release on June 26 2012. This novel starts the new American Fairy trilogy, which combines historical fiction and a new look at the fairies on American soil. Callie LeRoux lives in the middle of Kansas, where is has not rained in over two years. Her mother and Callie live in Slow Run and run a small hotel while trying not to think about Callie's absent father and the way people would treat Callie if they knew the true color of her skin. The constant dust storms are slowly killing Callie with what the leaving doctor calls the 'dust pneumonia' and she is ready to run. However, Callie's mother has her play the piano a massive dust storm comes and changes everything. Her mother disappears into the storm, but she finds a mysterious man bearing clues to her father and a larger picture. Sudden hotel guests, a young hobo named Jack, and a series of desperate people set off a quest to discover the whole truth and the location of Callie's missing parents. As Callie makes her way she will need to discover who can trust, and if she can even trust in herself.

Dust Girl takes the American fairy tale and brings in new life. Callie is a smart, strong girl who takes charge of her own life. She does not simply sit there waiting for things to fix themselves, she stands up and makes the best of what she is given in life. This includes taking care of her mother in the dust bowl, and going in search of the truth and her future. Not many girls would be able to face off with a family of people sized locust and take in the fact that she is half fairy with so little panic. I am sure I would freak out much more if faced with the Hopper family. Jack is a complicated and intriguing character with his own story and journey to undergo. The other major players in the story; Shimmy, Shake, and Morgan, are all well-defined and fascinating. While I fully expected a twist or two near the end, the turn it took was not entirely expected. My only disappointments is that I felt the final resolution in the book came a little too easily, and that I do not have the sequel in hand.

I highly recommend Dust Girl to fans of modern fairy tales, coming of age stories, and well researched historical fiction. This recommendation is for young adult and adult readers. This book has warring fairy factions, young adults trying to find themselves, and some deeply researched bits of American history. Any one of these elements could have dragged the book down or been an idea that did not meet its potential, but here they support each other perfectly and make for a convincing landscape and gripping story.I had my doubts when starting the book, since the idea of a mysterious fairy or royal heritage has been done so often, but Dust Girl carries the idea to a new level and makes it new again. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.
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