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How to Ditch Your Fairy Hardcover – September 16, 2008

3.6 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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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: #3,034,503 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Paperback

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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I guess every YA book I read from now on will be compared to Harry Potter, and most will fall far short. Which is not fair to this book, but I was expecting something more than I got. It's cute, and I enjoyed reading it, but that's about it. If you want a quick, fun YA read, this is as good a book as any.
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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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