How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier | Paperback | Barnes & Noble
How to Ditch Your Fairy

How to Ditch Your Fairy

3.9 69
by Justine Larbalestier

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Everyone in New Avalon has a fairy. Though invisible, a personal fairy is vital to success. It might determine whether you pass a math class or find the perfect outfit. But all fourteen-year-old Charlie can do is find parking spaces—and she doesn't even drive. At first, teaming up with Fiorenza (who has an all-the-boys-like-you fairy) seems like a great idea.


Everyone in New Avalon has a fairy. Though invisible, a personal fairy is vital to success. It might determine whether you pass a math class or find the perfect outfit. But all fourteen-year-old Charlie can do is find parking spaces—and she doesn't even drive. At first, teaming up with Fiorenza (who has an all-the-boys-like-you fairy) seems like a great idea. But when Charlie unexpectedly gets her heart's desire, she'll have to resort to extraordinary measures to ditch her fairy.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Set in a futuristic fantasy city, this book puts a fun spin on fairy tales: fairies exist, but you may wish they did not. Charlie has a parking fairy, which means any driver Charlie is with can always find a choice spot (which in turn means that every time the brutish star jock at school gets behind a wheel he nabs Charlie). Charlie walks everywhere, hoping to ditch her fairy and the jock-but then she racks up tardiness demerits at her strict sports school. When Fiorenze, whose all-boys-will-like you fairy has captured Charlie's crush, also wants to get rid of her fairy, they team up to steal secret research compiled by Fiorenze's mother, an expert on fairies. It takes Larbalestier (the Magic or Madness trilogy) a long time to reach this point, but from here the pace quickens. The girls switch fairies, creating more trouble and pushing the girls to some serious (and seriously funny) extremes. Suggesting rather than exploiting the fictional possibilities of Charlie's city, which has as many rules as it has fairies, this vividly imagined story will charm readers. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)

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Children's Literature - Quinby Frank
Charlie is desperate to rid herself of her parking fairy. She is constantly pestered by friends and family to ride in their cars so they can always find a spot to park. Her best friend, Rochelle, has a shopping fairy, so Rochelle is always assured of the most "doos"—or cool—wardrobe at bargain prices. Most of all, Charlie resents her arch rival, Fiorenze's all-boys-will-like-you fairy, especially when the "pulchritudinous" new boy, Steffi, follows Fiorenze around everywhere, practically drooling over her. The setting for this unusual novel is a sort of alternative Australian/U.S. universe called New Avalon, where most people have personal fairies. Charlie goes to the Sports High School, where the ultra-strict curriculum consists entirely of sports. Fiorenze's mother turns out to be an academic expert on fairies, and when Charlie discovers that Fiorenze actually hates her fairy, they join forces to discover how to switch their fairies and, then, ultimately get rid of them altogether. One method for removing fairies is through a near death experience that will scare the fairies away, which they try with hilarious results. The book is laced with Australian slang, but context and a helpful glossary provide guidance. Charlie is an appealingly self-deprecatory narrator, and her friendships are funny and realistic. Fans of Louise Rennison's books will like this entertaining offering that highlights the old adage "be careful what you wish for." Reviewer: Quinby Frank
VOYA - Isabel Crevasse
After reading one of Larbalestier's previous novels, I expected to dislike How to Ditch Your Fairy. I was surprised to discover it was both accessible and delightful. Although the predictability of the romantic plot line was disappointing, I found the rest to be an accurate, funny account of a teenage girl's life. It is a great read for most teen girls, relatable, light, and charming if not completely memorable. Reviewer: Isabel Crevasse, Teen Reviewer
VOYA - Lauri J. Vaughan
Athletic and driven, fourteen-year-old Charlie is on a mission to get rid of her parking fairy-the invisible entity that causes her the endless annoyance of getting dragged along on everyone's errands. In hopes of discouraging the unwanted sprite, Charlie has been walking for two months-a plan that is wreaking havoc with her busy schedule and racking up demerits at New Avalon Sports High. She would much rather have her friend Rochelle's clothes fairy, or better yet, Fiorenze's every-boy-will-like-you fairy who is currently throwing into disorder Charlie's budding relationship with the new guy, Steffi. Larbalestier's inhabitation of Charlie's voice is crisp, funny and wholly believable. Pacing is solid, and the story moves along at a satisfying clip without gaps or stalls. Elements Larbalestier begins but does not finish are disappointing. The setting has hints of socio-critical speculative fiction, such as the self-obsessed nature of New Avaloners, which the author sets up but ignores. The promising backstory involving Dander Anders, Fiorenze, and her fairy-expert mother along with Charlie's discovery of her proto fairy is unaddressed. The athletic theme-other than grueling practice schedules and demerit-happy coaches-ought to have included some positive aspects. Charlie's passion for sport is evident, and the reader is itching to see her in action. Despite the shallow spots, the voice and personality of Larbalestier's well-drawn protagonist will easily carry teens captivated by the hysterical first page through to the finish. Reviewer: Lauri J. Vaughan
School Library Journal

Gr 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

Kirkus Reviews
Charlie attends a magnet school for gifted athletes in a world where people are guided by unseen fairies with such special powers as styling good hair and finding loose change. Charlie is frustrated by hers, a parking fairy who guarantees that whatever car she's riding in will find a premium parking spot waiting at every destination. At 14, she'd rather have a clothes-shopping fairy or an every-boy-will-like-you fairy. Her efforts to rid herself of her fairy lead to a series of escalating mishaps involving the new boy at school, her archrival and multiple demerits. Things go awry when Charlie gets what she thinks she wants, and she must face some uncomfortable truths in order to solve the problems she's created. Larbalestier's repetitive use of creative slang will be familiar to those who enjoyed Louise Rennison's Confessions of Georgia Nicolson (2000, etc.). Fans of Larbalestier's award-winning Magic or Madness trilogy (2005, etc.) might be put off initially by the glib tone, but this comic coming-of-age novel will entertain teen readers. (demerits and suspensions, "List of Known Fairies Justine Thinks You Should Know," glossary) (Fantasy. 11-14)

Product Details

Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Justine Larbalestier is the author of Liar and the acclaimed Magic or Madness trilogy. She was born and raised in Sydney, Australia, and now divides her time between Sydney and New York City. She is married to author Scott Westerfeld.

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