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Dust Girl: The American Fairy Trilogy Book 1 Hardcover

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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: 8.3 x 5.6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #653,775 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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 SarahZettel.com.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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It also fit the time period very well, and it all felt quite natural.
Highly recommended for Zettel fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of the Dust Bowl, fairy magic, and a touch of romance.
Arthur W. Jordin
Jack, though, had a lot of endearing qualities, I didn't think he was fully developed as much as Callie was.
Dark Faerie Tales

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 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 Arthur W. Jordin on May 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Dust Girl (2012) is the first Fantasy novel in the American Fairy Trilogy. It is set in Kansas about five years after the dust started covering the farmlands. Now the dust storms are wild and heavy enough to blow away sheds and cover buildings up to the second floor.

In this novel, Calliope LeRoux is a teenager living in a hotel within Slow Run, Kansas. Her mother owns the hotel, but they haven't had any paying guests in a while. The other families in Slow Run are leaving, but her mother insists on waiting for her father Daniel LeRoux. Callie is beginning to hear voices in her head.

Baya is an old Indian man. Sometimes he seems to have a tail.

Jacob Hollander is a teenage hobo. Jack comes from a bootlegging family. He is fleeing feelings of guilt over the death of his sister Hannah.

Samuel Morgan is a railroad detective. Bull clears out hobos and bums in the train yards within Constantine, Kansas.

Shiraz is a half-breed of the Midnight People. Shimmy is staying in Constantine.

Shake is a full-blooded Midnighter. He is staying with Shimmy in Constantine.

In this story, Callie and her mother are having breakfast when the town doctor comes to say goodbye. He also checks the dust pneumonia in her lungs. Callie pleads for him to take her with his family, but the car is already full.

Her mother isn't in the kitchen when she returns from her futile attempt to flee. Callie finds her in the Moonlight Room begging for her man to return. Callie thinks that it has been thirteen years, so he should have returned by now. Then Mama gets Callie to help remove the dust covers from the piano and tells her to play.

Callie has never played the piano before, but her hands know what to do.
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