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

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Dust Girl: The American Fairy Trilogy Book 1 + Golden Girl: The American Fairy Trilogy Book 2 + Bad Luck Girl: The American Fairy Trilogy Book 3
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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 (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,162,952 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

He was unpredictable and at times a little annoying for my taste.
Dark Faerie Tales
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
That said I still enjoyed the book plenty and read right through it.

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 K. 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 Madigan McGillicuddy on July 17, 2013
Format: Paperback
I was highly skeptical when I heard about this faery-inspired alternate history that takes place in the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression. I had trouble imagining how heartless foreboding faeries (which I always picture as woodland dwellers) would fit into the dry and dusty climate of 1935 Kansas. It turns out Zettel did an amazing job - the malevolent otherworldly creatures are masters of illusions, and are fond of extracting promises which they honor to the letter if not the spirit.

Callie LeRoux is growing desperate as her mother has disappeared and money and supplies at their bed and breakfast are running perilously low. Naturally, no new business is forthcoming, as the remote village of Slow Run is quickly becoming a ghost town. People are abandoning their lives, picking up and moving away in the night, in hopes of finding any kind of relief from the crushing poverty they face in Kansas.

Callie's certain the sudden arrival of the haughty and demanding Hopper family, clearly well-to-do, is just the stroke of luck that will help her pull things together. Unfortunately, she couldn't be more wrong. She and hobo runaway Jack end up fleeing for their lives, as Callie struggles to hide her biracial heritage from both humans and fae. I loved the imagery of the evil fae as locusts over the land. Much of the book feels lonely as Callie flees across the empty Midwest towards California. You know that dream you have where you're being chased and you're running and running, but just can't seem to get away? It feels like that. This book was a lot scarier and less romantic than I had thought. I'd recommend this for mature middle-grade and teen readers who enjoy a bit of a scare along with their history.
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