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Dust Girl: The American Fairy Trilogy Book 1 Hardcover – June 26, 2012

32 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the American Fairy Series

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Editorial Reviews


Kirkus Reviews Best of Teen's Books 2012

About the Author

SARAH ZETTEL is an award-winning science fiction and fantasy author. She has written eighteen novels and multiple short stories over the past seventeen years in addition to practicing tai chi, learning to fiddle, marrying a rocket scientist and raising a rapidly growing son. This is her first novel for teens. You can visit her at

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 700L (What's this?)
  • Series: The American Fairy Trilogy (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (June 26, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375869387
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375869389
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,552,227 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Erin Satie VINE VOICE on June 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover
DUST GIRL impressively combines historical and fantasy elements. It's set in Kansas during the Dust Bowl, five years into the drought that's killed crops and forced established families to abandon their homes and seek better fortune elsewhere. Slow Run, where our heroine Callie was born and raised, has slowly turned from an agricultural center into a ghost town.

That's not all, of course. Callie's mother is a little crazy. Callie herself is dying of dust pneumonia, her lungs filling up with dirt that's slowly suffocating her. And she's a mixed-race child, with a white mother and a black father, during Segregation.

If you read the book blurb, you know this is a fairy story. That Callie's absent father is a fairy prince, making Callie a fairy princess. You might think that the fantasy elements would offer an escape from the grim, dry reality of the Kansas Dust Bowl. This is a middle-grade paranormal, after all - surely there will be iridescent wings and silk gowns and marble fountains somewhere along the line? But, no, Sarah Zettel defies expectations.

There's magic aplenty in DUST GIRL, but all of it is themed. Zettel takes up fairy lore that we all know (the Seelie/Unseelie court, the deadly potency of iron, etc.) and wraps it up with issues like race relations and poverty. For example: the "Unseelie" fairies are dark-skinned, making Callie appear to be mixed race, and one of the court's primary sources of magic is jazz music. DUST GIRL is, bizarrely, a fairy story that refuses to indulge even the smallest escapist tendency. All of the fantastical elements lead the reader deeper into the history.

My biggest problem with the book was Callie. I had no idea how old she was.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Karissa Eckert on June 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I got an eGalley of this book to review through NetGalley(dot)com. I was really excited to read this book, I love fairy tales and was curious to read about a fairy tale in a 1930's American setting. The book ended up being very underwhelming; the story was simple, not all that engaging, and just overall mediocre.

Callie lives with her mother in Kansas and spends most of the time fighting against the continuous drought and frequent dust-storms that have made her sick. When her mother disappears in a sandstorm Callie is left to fend for herself and discovers that she is not exactly human. She will have to journey to California with a hobo boy named Jack if she is ever going to save her mother.

I will be blunt...I didn't like this book much...I didn't hate it, but I wasn't all that engaged in it either. I thought everything about it was a bit washed out (like the cover). The landscape and setting were kind of blah, Callie and Jack were kind of boring, and the journey they take was similar. That being said is wasn't poorly written, I just didn't find it to be an exciting read.

Callie kind of goes with the flow for most of the book; she accepts the fact that she's half fairy pretty readily. She has occasional moments of strength, but for the most part she was like every other YA heroine you've ever read about. She fancies Jack and is determined to find her mom. She makes many of the same mistakes (trusting strangers who say they know her) over and over again.

Jack was okay too, but nothing special. He is kind of your bad boy thief type and goes along with the adventure to get a good story. He also makes a lot of mistakes and never comes off as a real strong or noble hero.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Misty Baker VINE VOICE on June 30, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
** A 2.8 Review as posted on KindleObsessed blog **

When I was a child my fascination with books was driven by the belief that ANYTHING could happen. My imagination wasn’t stunted by mature (AKA: adult) sensibilities. And because of this my mind was more open to the fantastical. I did not go into a book with the thought, “Oh, this is a fairy book, nothing in this is going to be real, but it should be fun to read” but instead jumped in with arms and mind wide open. Accepting of everything that was scrolled across the page. I wasn’t jaded by reality. I was awed by the lack of it. Being so much older now, I wish there were times I could go back to that place. I’m not implying I don’t get lost inside stories, but when I stated reading Sarah Zettel’s first book in her American Fairy Trilogy, “Dust Girl” I found I couldn’t turn my “sensible switch” off and it made a book I’m sure I would have found utterly enthralling at 12, down right cacophonous at 33.

"Callie LeRoux is choking on dust. Just as the biggest dust storm in history sweeps through the Midwest, Callie discovers her mother’s long-kept secret. Callie’s not just mixed race—she’s half fairy, too. Now, Callie’s fairy kin have found where she’s been hidden, and they’re coming for her.

While dust engulfs the prairie, magic unfolds around Callie. Buildings flicker from lush to shabby, and people aren’t what they seem. The only person Callie can trust may be Jack, the charming ex-bootlegger she helped break out of jail.

From the despair of the Dust Bowl to the hot jazz of Kansas City and the dangerous beauties of the fairy realm, Sarah Zettel creates a world rooted equally in American history and in magic, where two fairy clans war over a girl marked by prophecy.
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