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How to Ditch Your Fairy Hardcover – September 16, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6–10—In New Avalon, most everyone has a personal fairy. Charlie, 14, has a parking fairy; if she is in a car, a perfect parking spot is found on the first try. But since Charlie doesn't drive and hates exhaust, she thinks she's been cursed. Her friend Rochelle has a clothes-shopping fairy that makes everything look perfect on her, and her sworn enemy, Fiorenze, has an every-boy-will-like-you fairy. Charlie's attempts to starve her fairy away by walking everywhere just collects her demerits for lateness at New Avalon Sports High, where it is all sports all the time. When the water polo star virtually kidnaps her in his car for his illegal purposes and the "pulchritudinous" new boy on whom she has a crush falls for Fiorenze, Charlie needs to get drastic. She and Fiorenze forge an alliance and hatch a plan to switch their fairies, and she learns to be careful about what she wishes for. With the every-boy-will-like-you fairy, girls turn on Charlie, and she wonders whether Steffi likes her or if he is just responding to her fairy. Charlie is totally likable, smart, and sarcastic, a perfectly self-involved, insecure teen. At its core, this is a typical coming-of-age story, but the addition of the fairies, the slightly alternative setting, and the made-up slang make it much more. This "doos" (brilliant) fantasy will not be ditched.—Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

JUSTINE LARBALESTIER is the author of the award-winning Magic or Madness trilogy. She wishes she had a clothes shopping fairy instead of the procrastination fairy she battles with almost every day. She is married to author Scott Westerfeld and divides her time between Sydney and New York City.


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 580L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (September 16, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599903016
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599903019
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.1 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #525,297 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I am an Australian-American writer. My latest novel is Razorhurst, which takes place on a winter's day in 1932 when Dymphna Campbell, a gangster's moll, and Kelpie, a street urchin who can see ghosts, meet over the dead body of Dymphna's latest lover, Jimmy Palmer. The three of them tip the balance in a bloody underworld power struggle. Razorhurst publishes in the USA in March 2015.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By aldehyde on February 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Charlie is a 14 year old girl who lives in New Avalon, a city that seems to be a mix of USA and Australia. Almost everyone has a personal fairy that allows them to be better at certain things - for example, her best friend has a "clothes shopping" fairy that helps her find the best deals. Unfortunately for Charlie, who is too young to drive and obviously doesn't own a car, she has a parking fairy! The book revolves around her attempts to lose her fairy, snag the new boy in town, and oh yes, stop getting into trouble at school.

This makes for a very quick read - I think I finished the book in 1.5 - 2 hours? I found the concept of a personal fairy really neat - in fact, I'd loved to have an "Impersonates You Perfectly at Work so You Can Loll About in Bed and Read All Day" fairy. Seriously, how wicked would that be? However, in all likelihood I would have a fairy much worse than Charlie's - mine would probably be a procrastination/lazybones fairy that would only make life more difficult! Then again, now that I've read about all the problems poor Charlie goes through over the course of this story, I wouldn't want a parking fairy either.

Charlie herself comes off as a sweet and smart girl, with the same desires as any other teenager. She wants to do well in school, would like her friendship with the new boy Stefan to develop further, and doesn't want any more demerits than she already has because who wants to get in trouble with teachers? Let's also not forget the main premise behind the tale, which is to get rid of her lame parking fairy and find a better replacement. As she tries a wide assortment of techniques, [some with more disastrous results than others], she makes the unlikeliest ally, and gains better understanding of society and herself.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Little Willow on September 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover
In a fun world where many people have fairies that grant them unusual bits of luck, Charlotte (Charlie) feels cursed by her gift: the ability to always get a good parking spot. She's not even old enough to drive yet, so others - such as her mum and a dim bully at her school - drag her into their cars to play passenger. Fed up, Charlie teams up with Fiorenze, a popular girl who has an all-the-boys-like-you fairy, and the two attempt to switch their fairies. Comedic chaos ensues.

As a lifelong fan of fairies, I was drawn to this book by its premise. I love a good dystopic novel, and this one's great. In a story that's part fantasy, part comedy, Justine Larbalestier has created a world that's part America, part Australia, mixing jargon and social aspects from both nations. High school woes such as the eternal desire to fit in and the utter need for a cute outfit are mixed in with unseen fairies, unique abilities (Charlie's best friend has a clothes shopping fairy, so she always finds brilliant clothes at amazing prices), and games galore. The characters are healthy and athletic, and their sporty school, New Avalon Sports High, is very cool.

I was also drawn to this book because of its byline. Larbalestier's Magic or Madness books were more serious, traditional fantasy novels, so I was interested to see how she'd handle comedy. She handled it quite well. In fact, this book earns one of my favorite adjectives: quirky. Charlie's antics truly cracked me up. Even the intros to the chapters, with tallies of Charlie's demerits, conversations with her crush Steffi, and number of public service hours, made me giggle.

I would love to read more books set in this world, especially if they revolve around the irrepressible Charlie.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michelle on January 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Title: How To Ditch Your Fairy
Author: Justine Larbalestier
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: September 2008
Pages: 320

Rating: B+
Plot - 18/20
Characters - 17/20
Writing - 17/20
Originality - 20/20
Entertainment - 9/10
Recommendation - 8/10
Total: 89/100

Welcome to New Avalon, where everyone has a personal fairy. Though invisible to the naked eye, a personal fairy, like a specialized good luck charm, is vital to success. And in the case of the students at New Avalon Sports High, it might just determine whether you make the team, pass a class, or find that perfect outfit. But for 14-year-old Charlie, having a Parking Fairy is worse than having nothing at all--especially when the school bully carts her around like his own personal parking pass. Enter: The Plan. At first, teaming up with arch-enemy Fiorenza (who has an All-The-Boys-Like-You Fairy) seems like a great idea. But when Charlie unexpectedly gets her heart's desire, it isn't at all what she thought it would be like, and she'll have resort to extraordinary measures to ditch her fairy. The question is: will Charlie herself survive the fairy ditching experiment?

Okay, so I think this is generally one of the coolest novels I have read. There was a meaning behind it: be thankful for what you have, and I think this novel was just so . . . neat and interesting. I literally fell in love with Charlie's world. I loved the thought of fairies, and separate schools for arts and sports and just every thing about the novel was so original and creative and addictive.

I think the only thing that really I didn't like was the fact that Charlie was SO determined to get rid of her fairy.
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