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Posted August 21, 2012
Every now and then, a book comes along that gives a reviewer pa
Every now and then, a book comes along that gives a reviewer pause and
the reasons can be complicated, perhaps even hard to explain. Such is
the case with Dust Girl and what I think of it. First, the downside.
Callie, star of the show, is biracial, being the daughter of a white
mother and a black father. Once again, the publishing industry has
failed to capitalize on this fairly uncommon element and has put a
slightly dark white girl on the cover. The most telling discrepancy is
the hair—in the book, Callie talks about what her mother would do to try
to hide the texture and curl of her hair, primarily by keeping it
tightly braided. The hair on the cover is clearly not as described in
the book. The skin also gives a false impression, certainly not “cream
colored …with not too many freckles”—there is not a freckle in sight.
The cover decisions are not the author’s fault as an author rarely has
any say about cover art with major publishing houses but I’m not alone
among readers when I wonder why these publishers won’t gladly depict a
person of color as just that. Do they really think such a cover would
deter sales? Perhaps they do think that and perhaps they would lose a
few buyers but I guarantee they’d gain others who are actively looking
for more diversity. (By the way, they did get Callie’s eyes right, a
“stormy blue-gray…that…turned steel gray”.) The only other negative
I’ll mention is that I thought the story was a bit too slow in the
beginning but that is truly a minor quibble and soon forgotten as things
pick up speed. I know about the Dust Bowl, of course, but this book
does more to make the reader feel and understand what it was really like
since John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. Ms. Zettel handily evokes
the era with its music and its railroad hobo communities and her spare
prose brings the despair and heartache of the time and place to the
forefront of the reader’s attention, all the while weaving a faery theme
into the reality we know. By crafting this as a tale of adversarial
faery factions, Ms. Zettel has found a way to explore the racial and
economic tensions of the 1930′s in an unusual and entertaining manner.
The end of Callie LeRoux’s old life comes on April 14, 1935, when one of
the worst dust storms recorded hits Slow Run, Kansas, her mother
disappears, and Callie learns she isn’t really human. It’s then that
very peculiar things begin to happen and she meets a hobo boy named Jack
Holland, a boy who will prove to be the companion she needs on the
journey that’s about to begin. Sarah Zettel is a very accomplished
writer and one who can be depended upon to tell a good tale. Being a fan
of dark fantasy and of young adult fiction, I was hoping to find this an
entertaining story that would hold my attention. Dust Girl did not let
me down and I’ll be looking forward eagerly to Book Two in the American
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Posted July 26, 2012
Yes, there is a new fantasy trilogy to hit the shelves in 2012 a
Yes, there is a new fantasy trilogy to hit the shelves in 2012 and this one is...unique! That is an extremely hard word to use in this day and age, but this is not about the ‘fanged ones’ or the ‘barking wolf’ ones at all.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Callie LeRoux and her mom live in a town called Slow Run, Kansas. Right now they are living through one of the most horrific dust storms that hammered the Dust Bowl in the 1930’s and chased many home owners into other states, because they could not live (and a lot of them didn’t) through these particular storms. Homes were ruined, crops dried up and nothing the poor people tried to do made it any better.
Running a small hotel in town, Callie and her mom are still there when Callie is taken seriously ill by the dust that constantly flies through their home. She wants out, but her mom is still waiting for Callie’s father to return and will not leave until he arrives. However, when a particularly fierce dust storm hits the town, Callie’s mom runs away and no one can find her.
Suddenly a mysterious man called Baya turns up and tells Callie a story about what her future life holds; he also unveils the secret that Callie is both half mortal and half fairy. Callie is told that she must follow the path to ‘the golden hills of the west’ in order to find her parents and get a new life for herself.
On her journey she meets Jack, a young boy who has been riding the rails in order to get out of the area, and he decides to go with her to California. In their travels they run into some very odd folks (good and bad) which keep the story going. Among these beings are people who are desperate to kidnap Callie because she is, in fact, quite a ‘star’ in the fairy world. With Callie doing her best to evade the kidnappers who are trying to capture her in order to claim her powers for themselves, this adventure keeps right on going until the last page is turned.
The writing in this novel is very good and unlike any fairy stories on the market today. Not to mention, Callie and her friends will leave a very solid, fun imprint on the imagination.
Quill Says: After reading the first in this series, readers will most definitely look forward to seeing what happens next!