Customer Reviews


41 Reviews
5 star:
 (11)
4 star:
 (16)
3 star:
 (11)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:
 (3)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fairy Good
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...
Published on September 16, 2008 by Little Willow

versus
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Fun Read, But Missing A Few Things..
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...
Published on February 25, 2009 by Moonal Shams


‹ Previous | 1 25 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Fun Read, But Missing A Few Things.., February 25, 2009
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.

Although the basic plot is pretty straightforward, there are quite a few interesting components that make this book stand out. The first one I noticed was the barrage of new lingo like "doos" for cool, "pulchritudinous" for hot/sexy, and "pox" for crap. Made me think of A Clockwork Orange, heh. Another interesting aspect was the fact that all the kids attend athletics-specific or arts-specific schools with very strict rules and tough regimens [unless they're so untalented they have to go to a "mixed" school]. Famous people originating from New Avalon are addressed as "Our ---", and any prospective Ours are given a lot of preferential treatment.

It was neat to read about a female protagonist who was not only extremely into sports, but just as good [or better] than her male counterparts. The coolest thing is that she's not the only one like that - all her friends are great at what they do as well [without coming off as a horde of "Mary Sue"s] and no one bats an eye over men's vs. women's teams - something that definitely isn't true in our world. She also mentions same sex couples with nary a thought because it's nothing outside of the norm. Seriously, no gender or sexual biases in this world - if that's not downright awesome, i dunno what is! :D

Stefan, her crush, points out how New Avaloners take their obsession with their own nation to extreme levels, how they don't exhibit any curiosity about other people and how they think that everything that comes from their country has to be the best. The steepest street in their town must be the steepest in the world, the most famous celebrity from New Avalon the most famous in the universe, and so on and so forth. This totally reminded me of my first few months in North America, where the level of ignorance about the rest of the world displayed by my peers and even teachers was nothing short of astounding. I think it's a wonderful point to be made in a YA book.

However, despite all the positive features of this story, I feel like a lot is left unfinished. We're told fairies haven't been around forever, but we don't find out anything about how they came into being. Most people have fairies but some don't, and a few don't even believe in fairies to begin with - but we don't find out if the non-believers or non-fairied folk are better/worse off than the rest of society. Some reference is made to the historical background of New Avalon, its settlers, ethnicity and the way characters look, but these points aren't fully clarified. One particular character is up to no good and uses Charlie, but we don't find out why her assistance was required. In the same vein, we're even shown how some fairies give you the ability to get away with really nefarious acts, but that's just mentioned in passing. Most importantly, the consequences of having a bad fairy or successfully ditching the one you have are never explored.

If Justine Larbalestier had further elaborated on all those points, i think we would've ended up with a really stellar story. The way it stands now, I'd say it's a book you should get from the library instead of actually purchasing.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fairy Good, September 16, 2008
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. She was so completely fourteen, alternately anxious and paranoid, overly aware of herself and others around her, and totally likable.

How to Ditch Your Fairy by is utterly delightful. You won't ditch this funny fantasy -- you'll stay up to finish reading it!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From Reading Keeps You Sane, January 18, 2009
By 
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

Summary:
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?

Review:
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. But I only didn't like a little bit though, because it was the whole point of the novel. I just wish there was a little bit more to it. But still, I really enjoyed the creativity and originality of the novel.

Larbalestier wrote an incredibly airy and light read that will keep a smile on one's face. Her writing really just is very entertaining and light and just has a fresh touch to it, that is enjoyable. The characters weren't strong characters, but they were fun. So, you know, as you can guess. I just really enjoyed this novel.

So, I recommend this novel for anybody who wants a light read for a snowy or rainy day.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Enough There and Sends an Insidious Message, December 17, 2013
By 
Eric J. Juneau (Minnesota, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: How to Ditch Your Fairy (Paperback)
It was a light and short book, but the title is misleading. I was looking forward to seeing the characters interact with little, clingy fairies like pet Tinkerbells. It turns out a "fairy" is more like an RPG ability. Like, you have an empty slot, and it gets filled with some perk, like being able to get out of trouble or find loose change. But you don't get to choose. Some of these abilities are useful, some are not. Some don't have fairies, and some try to get a new one, which is where the story comes from.

Apparently, this book was extended from a short story, and it feels like it. Not to mention, as far as being a YA for women, I did not like the message it sent -- trying to change something you are. I'm not sure what this says to teen girls, but I don't like it. A tiger can't change its stripes. You have to play the hand you're dealt. Attempting to change who you are results in the acceptability of plastic surgery and marrying for money.

Plus there's some disturbing stuff in here. Well, it doesn't seem disturbing until you look closer. The main character has a fairy that lets her get good parking spaces. She doesn't use cars or buses for two month's time to make her fairy get bored and go away. Until she's literally kidnapped by the big, dumb, senior jock character, nullifying all her work.

This is basically rape. Being assaulted and taken against your will because of who you are? It's not literally rape, but the subtext is there. But the main character does nothing about it, doesn't tell anyone. She doesn't even react. I would be crying in my pillow if that was me. And I'm a guy.

But she doesn't even go through feelings of guilt. She does nothing because the jock is supposedly 'untouchable', but shouldn't the story be about that? She tells no one. She does nothing about it. She doesn't even appear to care, she just goes on trying to get rid of her fairy in ridiculous ways. In the end, the jock guy is implied to get come-uppance, but that's hardly important by that point.

And this comes from an author who writes all the time about equality on her blog. I can hardly believe she didn't take this into consideration when she was writing it. This is a pretty scary message to be sending out. I wouldn't want my daughter to read this. Justine Larbaleister, what were you thinking?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars 300 Pages and Nobody Said Anything..., October 19, 2013
By 
Sadie Rewton (California LA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: How to Ditch Your Fairy (Paperback)
*SPOILERS AHEAD*

I went into high hopes for this book. The title interested me the most, because I was reminded of Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time's own fairy, Navi. A book about an annoying fairy? Heck yeah, I wanna read that!

But the payoff. Not so good.

First things first: I don't like the main character. She seems too whiny, she doesn't make smart descisions, and I think she would've found that fairy helpful when she became an adult.

Which brings me another thing that I don't like. I HATE the antagonist in this book. I don't care if this is a different universe from our world. I wanted to see that character in prison. Or at least the main character to bash in his teeth! She has enough guts to get into a near-death situation, why can't she fight against this guy?! And he kidnaps her and nobody cares. I don't think I've hated an antagonist in a fantasy novel quite like this. You can't just handwave away a kidnapper. Make him pay for his actions, for crying out loud!

Another thing that just really irritated me was the ending. It was one of the biggest deus ex machina endings I've ever read. Basically, the main character gets a new fairy that - oh, how lucky! - helps her in basketball. Oh, isn't that convient.

I wouldn't have minded so much if I liked the character. She's too whiny, she gets into a freaking near-death experience to get rid of something that'll help her later in life, and she hates one of the other characters simply because she's rich and has a strange name. And she only likes her later when it turns out this girl's mother knows a lot about fairies.

I literally felt cheated when I finished this novel. It felt as though I slogged through a 300 page book and got no payoff. The main character didn't work for her goal, the antagonist gets handwaved away - argh, that's just... UGH - and there's a deus ex machina ending.

If you like this book, that's fine, but I'm definatly not reading it again.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Characters You'll Want to Root for., December 23, 2011
Charlie Steele can't drive. In fact, she hates cars. But she has a parking fairy, and on account of this, she has spent most of her life in cars helping people get good parking spaces. Charlie's friend Rochelle has a clothes-shopping fairy, and her arch nemesis Fiorenze has an all-the-boys-like-you fairy which helps her steal Charlie's crush. Charlie would settle for a loose change fairy just to get rid of hers, so she embarks on a mission. When Plan A fails, Charlie is ready to try the unthinkable - she goes to Fiorenze's house to follow up on a rumor that Fio's parents have studies on fairy-ditching. Plan B, however, throws Charlie in over her head and it's not long before she has teamed up with Fio to solve this fairy problem once and for all.

How to Ditch Your Fairy is a truly clever book - Larbalestier has built her world with the sort of care that allows the reader to settle in for a nice, long stay. Her characters are truly teenage, with all the bumbling and insecurity that comes along with being fourteen. They even have their own lexicon of slang, which Larbalestier manages to blend in rather well, though it is sometimes quite nice that she has a glossary in the back of the book. These characters are easy to fall in love with and to root for. I would not be surprised if this isn't the last we hear from Charlie et. al, nor would I be opposed to reading another of their stories.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HTDYF is so doos, November 7, 2009
This review is from: How to Ditch Your Fairy (Paperback)
How to Ditch Your Fairy was definitely doos.

This was such a fun fairy book, and a bit different from the norm. New Avalon is like a mix of Australia and America, and the slang was fun (and there's a glossary!). Doos is my new favorite word.

Charlie hates her parking fairy (and why wouldn't she? She can't even drive! Although I would personally love that fairy...) and would do anything to get rid of it. And boy, does she do a lot. When Charlie teams up with Fiorenze, things get interesting. Charlie comes off as a sweet, smart, athletic girl. Stefan was a fun character to throw into the mix (and his fairy rocks). At the end, she learns more than just fairy business. This book was entirely cute and awesome. Especially a certain chapter toward the end...*luge*....

I loved Justine Larbalestier's fairy twist in this book. A personal fairy? Umm, cool! But I probably would have something lame like Never-being-late fairy. Yeah, lame.

Highlights: Justine's writing kept me entertained on all levels (fun, romance, fights). Her novel was fun, fresh,bubbly, and totally doos. Plus, the glossary in the back is definitely a major help when it comes to the words she invented.

Lowlights: I hate the word pulchy. I'm sorry, I just do. Pulchy does not give me a "hot/sexy" vibe...Plus, at times Charlie really annoyed me, but then I realized that she's still a kid, only fourteen, and I was probably annoying at times too when I was that young, so I can't really hold it against her. ;)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fairy Fun, October 22, 2008
How to ditch your fairy is a fun tale of how encumbersome fairies can be when growing up. The last thing Charlie wants is to drive a car, or even sit in one. She is starving her fairy who makes sure any car she is in always gets good parking lots.

She doen't want that kind of fairy, and who needs the all the extra hassle of fighting with your fairy when homework looms and new boys are starting school?

A very entertaining book with some exotic flair as Larbalestier uses her australian background to make an eerily familar, yet strange place where other peoples fairies are always better than yours. Wittingly written and with some cool teen savvy characters, this book was a very good surprise to me. I will have no problem recomending this book to just about anybody who are now growing up, or at leat distantly remembers just how much of a hassle growing up can be at times.

It made me laugh out loud a couple of times, but mostly i kept smiling to myself all the way through the book
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very fairy funny, September 20, 2008
By 
This book was a true giggle, set in a country that's not really Australia and not really the United States but sure seems similar to both. At New Avalon, kids work hard and go to very specialized schools, the center of this book being New Avalon Sports High, where they spend 10 hour days being monitored for everything (including calorie and protein intake, etc) and training in all manner of sports (well, mostly summer sports since it doesn't ever snow in NA) and taking classes like statistics (such as figuring batting averages) and PR (how to spin it when your client tests positive for drugs after wining a big bike race), etc. Most of them, however, are helped out by their fairies (not everyone has them, but most do). But not Charlie--her fairy is a parking fairy, and since she's 14 so therefore doesn't drive and actually hates cars, this fairy is useless to her but results in her getting drug along by all and sundry who want to get a parking space when they go places. Not her idea of a good time. She wants a fairy like her best friend's (a shopping fairy, making she finds the best outfits for pennies) or the new kid around the block who has a "never get into trouble" fairy. She's been trying to starve her fairy (60 days walking everywhere when the book opens), but it just isn't working fast enough for her. Her desperation has her turning to some unexpected people and suffering some very wild consequences--all very funny.

I like the fact that the kids in this book are all tremendous achievers who are very dedicated to the lives they have chosen. I did struggle with some of the made up vocabulary in the book because I didn't discover the glossary until I finished the book (though I was happy to discover I wasn't as old and out of the slang loops as I thought--I had harbored deep suspicions that all teenagers used these words and just didn't know it. lol) I also found it interesting trivia that Larbalestier is Scott Westerfeld's (author of the hugely popular Uglies series for young adults) wife. I've never read him, so I have no idea how their writing styles compare, but talk about your successful households!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too, September 17, 2008
In New Avalon, just about everyone has a fairy -- an invisible presence that gives the host an extra bit of luck. Some fairies are awesome: a clothes-shopping fairy means you always find clothes that look gorgeous on you on sale; a charisma fairy means people can't help but like you.

Unfortunately, other fairies aren't much fun at all.

Charlie's parking fairy has never been much use to her -- she hates cars and isn't even old enough to drive -- and it's meant everyone from her parents to her schoolmates wants to borrow her so they can find that perfect parking spot. It's a completely malodorous situation.

What Charlie wants is a "doos" fairy like the one her archenemy, Fiorenze, has, which makes every boy fall for her, including the new guy Charlie was just getting friendly with. But getting rid of her own fairy is harder than Charlie had hoped, and she's about to find out that fairies that look good from the outside aren't as much fun when they're yours.

HOW TO DITCH YOUR FAIRY is fun, light-hearted, and hard to put down. The twists and turns that make Charlie's situation increasingly tense will have readers on the edge of their seats, though they'll be giggling at the same time. Charlie makes for a likable, relatable narrator as she starts to question the narrow assumptions she had about her world and the people around her, and to decide what's really important to her. Her friends and family don't get as much fleshing out, but they're still enjoyable company.

Recommended for all fans of humorous fantasy!

Reviewed by: Lynn Crow
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 25 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

How to Ditch Your Fairy
How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier (Paperback - September 29, 2009)
$8.99 $6.60
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.