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SLJ Reveiw by Karyn Slverman on Book 1 of “The American Fairy Trilogy” Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel

October 29, 2012

I thought I’d just copy and paste the link to Karyn’s review of Dust Girl.  No one can write a better response to this new historical fiction book…and what a concept?!…dust fairies? who’da thunk?


Dust Girl, Sarah Zettel
Random House, June 2012
Reviewed from ARC (Advanced Reader’s Copy)

Welcome to the Dust Bowl as you’ve never seen it before, peopled by lots more than, well, people, in a new series that covers some of the same territory as American Gods or The Flight of Michael McBride (sadly out of print, but a crossover treasure if you can find it). I don’t think anyone has done this sort of story in YA before, where the nearest readalike would probably be the not-actually-anything-like-this Far West trilogy by Patricia Wrede. Or possibly O Brother Where Art Thou, with its vague magic realism, and which I found myself thinking of as I read Dust Girl; it’s neither a book nor YA, but does seem to be familiar to lots of teen readers.

So we’re definitely talking original. Original in concept, original in execution, and (although it’s a funny word to use given the Dust Bowl setting) altogether fresh.

It’s also first in a trilogy, and if we know anything about series books, it’s that first books that make no bones about being first (as opposed to books that turn out to be first but weren’t apparently conceived, pitched, and/or branded as such) don’t tend to fare terribly well. Also, it’s (obviously) fantasy, which, statistically speaking, is another award black mark, although not a death knell.

But it’s pretty… awesome. Does it stand a chance?

 Let’s start with voice. Although actually there’s not a lot to say here, because Callie’s voice is seamless. There was no moment when I was taken out of the story by her voice; she narrates with dialect and attitude that are expressly hers…

click on the link to continue Karyn’s School Library Journal review of Dust Girl.

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