Thursday, June 12, 2008

How to ditch the boring book you're reading and pick up this one instead

If you feelin' like a jock, girl, go and brush your fairy off
Walk everywhere girl, go and brush your fairy off
Fairies is crazy, baby, don't forget Fiorenze told you
Get that fairy off your shoulder

(With apologies to Jay-Z)

Today's book: How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier, coming in October 2008 from Bloomsbury.

The plot: In a slightly alternate world, many people have fairies. These fairies allow their humans to have one special power. Some fairies make their humans adept at finding loose change. Charlie's (short for Charlotte) mother has one that allows her to always know where her children are. Charlie's best friend Rochelle has a clothing fairy, meaning everything looks great on her and is always on sale. And Charlie? Well, her fairy is useless as far as she's concerned. She's got a parking fairy. If she's in a car, that car is guaranteed to get an amazing parking space. Quite useful if you've got a driver's license or you live in Bergen County. Useless to Charlie, who can't even drive. Charlie's fairy has become the bane of her existence, so she hatches a plan to get rid of it by walking everywhere and therefore starving the fairy of having anything to do. It works until a school bully kidnaps her and forces her to ride around with him so he can get great parking spaces. Now Charlie's fairy is back to full strength. In order to ditch her fairy, she hatches a plan with her sworn enemy, the popular-but-only-with-boys-thanks-to-her-fairy Fiorenze. Charlie and Fiorenze find what they believe is the perfect solution to ditching their fairies and getting new ones.

But we all know the old saying: Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.

Why you'll love it: First, it's funny. There is never enough humor in YA, and HTDYF is not only funny, but it's a smart, sarcastic kind of funny. Charlie is a prickly yet completely endearing character and Justine makes you feel sorry for her fairy plight. She is loyal to her friends but even more so to her personal cause of fairy-ditching, making her a great self-centric teen. (This is a compliment, I swear!) The world Justine has created is fascinating, too: It's a mix of different world slangs and educational system. Charlie attends a sports-centric high school and loves being an athlete, and there's a whole hierarchy of different kinds of high schools and how cool you are depending on which one you attend. I can see wide appeal in this book. It's for those who love humor, for those who love romance, for those who love (or hate!) urban fantasy, and for those who really like to see the bad guy go down in the end. This is definitely a book to keep an eye out for.

(My personal fairy is a never-forgetting-the-books-I-read fairy, which I find to be fairly useful in my line of work. My youngest sister has a parking fairy, but as far as I know she's never tried to ditch it.)

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