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Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel
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Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel is the first of the American Fairy series. Callie LeRoux and her mother are living in Slow Run, Kansas, a place that is sinking into the dust bowl of Great Depression. Sand is a constant problem. The crops have long since dried up. The tourists have stopped coming and Callie and her mother keep the hotel open just because there's nothing else to do.

In the middle of all of this, Callie's mother disappears, just as she learns she might be part fae. Callie has only two options, rescue her mother (if she can) or find her father (if she can). Along the way she needs to learn how to hone her long buried magical skills and figure out who she can trust and who she can't.

Zettel blends early 20th century Americana, the cross roads demon legend, and Celtic fairy lore into a satisfying, humorous and compelling read. Dust Girl has a similar feel to Neil Gaiman's American Gods but written for a tween audience.

The second book is called Golden Girl and I will be reviewing it soon. ( )
  pussreboots | May 3, 2014 |
Callie and her mother are two of the few remaining townspeople in Slow Run, Kansas. It's the middle of the Dust Bowl, and everyone who can leave is either one their way out or already gone, looking for better opportunities. Callie's mother won't leave, though -- she believes that, if she stays, Callie's father will one day come back to her. When Callie's mother disappears during a dust storm, Callie must strike out on her own, because it may not have been just an ordinary storm that spirited her mother away. Powerful forces are at play, and Callie will soon find herself wrapped up in a world she never dreamed existed.

The setting of this book is its real strength -- I could almost taste the dust in the back of my throat. Moreover, the faeries in this book fit seamlessly into that setting, though it's one that doesn't spring to mind when one thinks of the Unseelie Court. But, immersed in Callie's world of dust storms and jazz clubs and amusement parks, it all works in an historical-urban-fantasy kind of way. But while the setting was great, the plot and characters were less memorable. I didn't find myself deeply invested in Callie's journey. So, while I found this an enjoyable enough read, I'm not sure whether I will continue with the rest of the series. ( )
  foggidawn | Sep 27, 2013 |
An ambitious and mostly successful combination of magical adventure and historical novel, this story of a half fairy girl set during the dust bowl years really brings that era to life with lively jazz clubs, deserted towns, racial inequities, and mountain high clouds of swirling, smothering dust. Though Callie has never known her piano playing father, her mother is sure he will be returning to the formerly fancy hotel they run and call home. Most people in their dust buried community have already fled, but hope keeps Callie's mother there until she is whisked away in a dust storm that seems to have been magically conjured when Callie tried playing her father's piano for the first time.

Callie sets out on a cross country venture to find her mother with a homeless but resourceful boy she's just met, discovering her magic abilities as she goes. While not effortless and without cost, her magic solutions came a little too easily for my taste. That said I still enjoyed the book plenty and read right through it. I'm looking forward to its sequel. ( )
  Jaylia3 | Apr 23, 2013 |
And then I read Dust Girl, which is quite different in that it takes place in Kansas in the 1930s. And I love the world that Sarah Zettel created–the sense of the suffocating dust, the creepiness of the monsters. I like the characters too, and the way Zettel interweaves Callie’s different identities. So it’s fast-paced, Midwestern based, with great descriptions and good characters. Why don’t I love it?

I just don’t know. Sometimes that happens with books–I think I ought to love them, but there’s something so indefinable that I struggle with how to express it. I can’t even tell if it’s just a personal issue or there’s something very subtly wrong with the book. In this case, I think it has more to do with personal issues in that the book is a US-based fairy tale and somehow, for me, fairies are European, or at least not Midwestern. Cool glades and forests and stone. But I like the concept of what Zettel has done, and she executes it very well, which makes it all the more frustrating that I can’t just be all, “YOU GUYS THIS BOOK!”

But it may also be that the story tries to take on so much–racial identity and being Jewish in the 1930s, and rumrunning and divisions in the Unseelie Court, and music, and finding out that you’re not who you thought you were, and and and. It’s an ambitious scope and I’m not quite sure the book can carry the weight of them. Again, it’s one of those books where I’m really unsure why I reacted to it the way that I did. So if you’re intrigued, I’d say, check it out.

( )
1 vote maureene87 | Apr 4, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375869387, Hardcover)

This new trilogy will capture the hearts of readers who adore Libba Bray's The Diviners. 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 aware of the role this half-mortal, half-fae teenage girl plays in their fate.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:59 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

On the day in 1935 when her mother vanishes during the worst dust storm ever recorded in Kansas, Callie learns that she is not actually a human being.

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