I want a fairy!

How to Ditch Your Fairy
Justine Larbelestier
298 pages; published 2008

Rochelle gets a clothes-shopping fairy and is always well attired; I get a parking fairy and always smell faintly of petrol. How fair is that? […] why couldn’t I have, I don’t know, a good-hair fairy? Or, not even that doos, a loose-change-finding fairy. Lots of people have that fairy. Rochelle’s dad, Sandra’s cousin, Mum’s best friend’s sister. I’ll wholly settle for a loose-change fairy. (14)

Okay, I’ll fess up, I’m not so much a sucker for book covers but for quirky titles. So when I saw this one reviewed on a blog a while ago it immediately caught my attention. And when it was offered up for review, I quickly put my name down.

Fourteen year old Charlie lives in New Avalon, the best place in the entire world (at least according to its inhabitants). New Avaloners are just more interesting that everyone else… mostly due to their possession of fairies.

There are fairies for every one and every thing. Charlie’s friend Rochelle has a ‘clothes-finding fairy’, star of the water-polo team Danders Anders has a ‘grip fairy’, and Fiorenze, the most hated girl in school (at least by the other girls) has a fairy which makes every boy her age fall in love with her.

And what kind of fairy does Charlie have? A parking fairy. How ‘undoos’ (uncool) is that? For Charlie, it’s the worst thing imaginable. She’s constantly being begged, borrowed, or outright kidnapped by so-called friends and family to find good parking spots. So Charlie decides to save her sanity, and in the process gain a better fairy, by boycotting all transport. Surely lack of use will bore her fairy into leaving. She soon starts to learn, however, that it isn’t quite as easy as all that.

I really liked the idea behind this book, with people’s inherent talents and fortunes – both good and bad – translated into fairies. However, I’ve got to say that I had some issues with the book. I feel it had the potential to go a lot further than it did. Author Justine Larbelestier started to touch on several themes only to leave them hanging or gloss them over.

What was written was reasonably well done – with one exception. Larbelestier seems to have gone to great lengths to incorporate the slang and phrases of her teenage characters but, rather than using current vernacular, has made up a language unique to New Avalon. While I can appreciate the attempt, I found it very jarring, and having to refer to the glossary simply to translate words for ‘cool’, ‘hideous’, and ‘beautiful’ was intrusive to the novel.

Overall, it was a nice light read, but not necessarily one I’d go out of my way to recommend. 3/5

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kaye said...

I want a fairy too
and I want to read this book
nice review

Anonymous said...

What a unique plot! I read your plot synopsis and I thought it was very fun and unique, something that I cling to. Thought you saying you don't recommend it makes me think twice. Thanks for your review!

Rebecca said...

kaye: let me know what kind of fairy you get - me, I'm holding out for a 'does all your class work so you can spend more time reading' fairy.

Jessica Leigh: Don't get me wrong, it was an interesting book and if you like the sound of it then go for it. I just feel like it didn't live up to it's potential, that it could have been better if aspect had been more developed.

Ladytink_534 said...

The premise of this book really intrigued me but I've heard from others too that its not that great of a read. :( Really sad because it had great potential!

Anonymous said...

You may find this interesting (or not, of course), but 'doos' is a Dutch word meaning 'box'. Coincidentally, it's also slang for a ditzy/stupid person. At least it was when I was in secondary school.

I like the premise of this book, but am sad to hear the writing doesn't quite live up to it. *sad noise* I might leaf through a copy for the glossary now, if I ever see a copy, but I think I'll pass on the book itself. (I just dropped two first person novels. I'm sorry to say I'm not ready to pick up another unless it comes with a very high recommendation from a lot of people.)

Literary Feline said...

This sounds like a fun book. I want a fairy too! I admit that I am drawn to catchy titles too. Thanks for the great review!

Rebecca said...

Ladytink: that was exactly what disappointed me about it, it DID have such potential.

libritouches: that is interesting!

Literary Feline: I always like a good fun title :)