Robin's Reviews > How to Ditch Your Fairy

How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier
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Oct 06, 13

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bookshelves: funny, young-adult, fantasy, love-and-dating
Read in August, 2009

Cute and funny. Middle school girls will love this story of a world in which many (most) people have an invisible fairy who confers one kind of good luck. The main character has a "parking fairy," which enables her to easily find a parking space wherever she goes. Since she is an athlete who prefers to bicycle or skateboard everywhere, is too young to drive, and hates the smell of gasoline, she also hates her fairy. Plus, she keeps getting sidelined by people who want her to ride along so they don't have to spend time looking for parking.

Initially, I thought this would be a good transitional upper-elementary book for girls who love fantasy and fairy stories,but the main thrust really is crushes and young dating. Sixth, seventh, and eighth graders will eat this up. There's the added advantage of lots of new slang terms that I confess I had not heard before. Are they Australian? Did the author make them up?

Readers may puzzle over this world in which students are heavily tracked by middle school, going to exclusively sports or arts schools. The main character's school is especially authoritarian, with demerits accrued for crying or being a little messy, and expulsions looming for seemingly minor infractions. Children have nearly no contact with caring adults in this world, but it is not an issue for any of the characters. It's just a background fact of the culture.

Interestingly, after I finished the book, I read about the author. She is married to Scott Westerfeld, author of the Uglies series. The books are very different, but there is a similarity in mood, and in the prevalence of the characters' acceptance of "benign" totalitarianism.
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