The American Fairy Tale Trilogy #1
Published June 26, 2012 by Random House Children's
YA urban fantasy
Review copy from NetGalley
Dust Girl stood out from the YA crowd by virtue of its unusual setting and interesting characters. Several of the fairies were truly creepy, and there's plenty to keep this story going.
I think this might be the first book I've read that was set in the Dust Bowl. I can't really speak to the book's historical accuracy, since what I know about the period is pretty much "lots of dust, no rain, and no money," but it seemed like it could be accurate. I appreciated the very strong influence the setting had on the story as well – sometimes it seems like many books could really take place anywhere and be more or less the same, but that definitely wasn't the case in Callie's story.
The story begins in the tiny and shrinking town of Slow Run, Kansas, where Callie lives with her mother. Callie would love to leave the doomed town and move to somewhere she wouldn't choke on dust and struggle to find food, but her mother insists that they must wait there for Callie's father – who vanished before she was born. When Callie's mother disappears in a dust storm, several mysterious visitors convince Callie to leave the town to find her mother, along with Jack, a boy she met during the storm. Along the way, Callie learns about her heritage and her family.
Dust Girl was a fairly short, quick read, with decent characters and a good pace. Callie is a likable main character, though nothing about her stands out particularly. The story itself was the best part, with some interesting takes on fairies and several well-written, suspenseful scenes.
One aspect of the book that I particularly appreciated was the lack of the angsty romance that's such a YA staple. While the potential for romance clearly exists, it definitely took a backseat in this book. It may actually have been locked in the trunk. It was a nice change from one of the things I frequently dislike about YA books.
Overall, Dust Girl was a good start and definitely made me want to read the next book in the series.