Dust Girl (American Fairy Trilogy, book 1)
By Sarah Zettel
Expected publication June 26, 2012 by Random House Children's Books
Callie lives in small-town Kansas with her mother, running a small hotel and waiting for her long-gone father to return to them. But the Dust Bowl is taking a toll on Callie and she isn't sure how much longer she can wait. When a mysterious man shows up promising answers about her heritage and encouraging her to find them in California, it isn't long before Callie finds herself on an incredible and dangerous journey.
As I've said a time or two before, I'm a big fan of historical fiction and I find the Dust Bowl particularly fascinating. Combine that with a little magic and it was a no-brainer for me to snag this ARC at Midwinter. This book hooked me almost immediately and I easily fell into Callie's world. Zettel does a wonderful job of evoking the desperation and hope all muddled together by the inhabitants who are slowly being swallowed by dust and forgotten. She also gives a strong voice to Callie, a girl of mixed heritage in more ways than one. I found her a very compelling character - conflicted, full of dreams, loyal, strong. I desperately wanted to help Callie find the answers to her questions about her true identity - and I completely understood her longing for family. She has a realistic voice and I definitely enjoyed taking the journey with her. Zettel has done a wonderful job creating the atmosphere for her story - it's a bit mystical and uncertain, hardscrabble and defiant. Like I said, I became completely immersed while reading. At times, I became a bit bored with Callie's uncertainty over who to trust - she seemed to change her mind every few pages. But overall, I found this an enchanting story, one that I think will appeal to many readers. I like Zettel's version of fairy lore and will be interested to see how she continues to flesh it out in the remaining books of the trilogy. I very much look forward to reading the next installment.
Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy.