Friday, December 27, 2013

How to Ditch Your Fairy

By Justine Larbalestier

From Goodreads:
Welcome to New Avalon, where everyone has a personal fairy. Though invisible to the naked eye, a personal fairy, like a specialized good luck charm, is vital to success. And in the case of the students at New Avalon Sports High, it might just determine whether you make the team, pass a class, or find that perfect outfit.

For 14-year-old Charlie, having a Parking Fairy is worse than having nothing at all—especially when the school bully carts her around like his own personal parking pass. Enter: The Plan. At first, teaming up with arch-enemy Fiorenza (who has an All-The-Boys-Like-You Fairy) seems like a great idea. But when Charlie unexpectedly gets her heart’s desire, it isn’t at all what she thought it would be like, and she’ll have resort to extraordinary measures to ditch her fairy. The question is: will Charlie herself survive the fairy ditching experiment?

From the author of the acclaimed Magic or Madness trilogy, this is a delightful story of fairies, friendships, and figuring out how to make your own magic.

Review:
Is the grass really greener on the other side? In How to Ditch Your Fairy, Larbalestier shows readers that although what others have may seem perfect, once you take a walk in their shoes, things aren’t always as they appear.

For 14 year-old Charlotte “Charlie” Steele, having a parking fairy isn’t all that great—especially when people want to borrow (or kidnap) you just so they can have great parking spots.  What Charlie really wants is Fiorenze Burnham-Stone’s “all the boys like you fairy.” When Charlie finds out that Fiorenze wants to swap fairies, she jumps at the chance, after all, what could be worse than a parking fairy?! Both girls soon learn that the other’s fairy also has a downside. Now Charlie and Fiorenze want to get rid of both fairies.

Since Larbalestier’s world is set in a fantasy world that mixes US and Australian culture and vocabulary, readers will need to quickly adapt to the blend of dialogue. Thankfully Larbalestier adds a mini dictionary at the back of the book to define common words such as spoffs, doos, torpid, etc. Too bad I found it after I finished the story.  You can easily use the context clues to figure out their meanings though.

Because Charlie’s school is strict about demerits, she is constantly racking them up.  She gets so many that she must do public service work in order to receive merits to cancel out the demerits. Larbalestier keeps a tally at the beginning of each chapter listing demerits, public service hours worked, and other important info for readers.  This really helps to keep up with the action in the book and clues readers in when the author skips forward in time.

Larbalestier does a decent job thinking through her fairy world and tackles the issue of characters who do not believe in fairies. She also thoroughly thinks through ways to ditch/switch/or get rid of a fairy—as expected seeing as that’s the name of the book.  She also does a god job explaining New Avalon Sports High’s schedule, beliefs and demerit system.  I’m glad I don’t have to go to school there!

For readers who enjoy easy, fun reads without having to analyze the plot, then I would recommend How to Ditch Your Fairy to you.  It’s teen, paranormal, chicklit that’s perfect to read at the beach, mountains, or you favorite chair!

About author Justine Larbalestier:
Justine Larbalestier is an Australian young-adult fiction author. She is best known for the Magic or Madness trilogy: Magic or Madness, Magic Lessons and the newly released Magic's Child. She also wrote one adult non-fiction book, the Hugo-nominated The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction (Best Related Book, 2003), and edited another, Daughters of Earth: Feminist Science Fiction in the Twentieth Century.

Her surname has been pronounced in several different ways, but the FAQ on her website says that Lar-bal-est-ee-air is correct:

Q: How do you pronounce your surname? A: Lar-bal-est-ee-air. It can also be pronounced Lar-bal-est-ee-ay or Lar-bal-est-ee-er. Those are all fine by me. Friends at school used to pronounce it: Lavaworm. I have to...more Justine Larbalestier is an Australian young-adult fiction author. She is best known for the Magic or Madness trilogy: Magic or Madness, Magic Lessons and the newly released Magic's Child. She also wrote one adult non-fiction book, the Hugo-nominated The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction (Best Related Book, 2003), and edited another, Daughters of Earth: Feminist Science Fiction in the Twentieth Century.

Her surname has been pronounced in several different ways, but the FAQ on her website says that Lar-bal-est-ee-air is correct:

Q: How do you pronounce your surname? A: Lar-bal-est-ee-air. It can also be pronounced Lar-bal-est-ee-ay or Lar-bal-est-ee-er. Those are all fine by me. Friends at school used to pronounce it: Lavaworm. I have to really like you to let you get away with that one, but.

Larbalestier was born and raised in Sydney, Australia. She now alternates living between Sydney and New York City.

In 2001, Justine married fellow author Scott Westerfeld