Dust Girl: The American Fairy Trilogy Book 1 Sarah Zettel
Callie has always known she was half-black. That's why her mother made sure to keep her out the sun, so she could pass as white--something crucial for survival in their small Kansas town in the 1920s and 30s. Callie's mother holds out hope that Callie's father will return, but some things are weird.
Why doesn't her father return and why is her mother so certain he will? Her father was a pianist and his piano is still there, why won't Callie's mother let her play it?
And then... Callie does play it. And the biggest dust storm yet comes and takes her mother away. And that's when the fairies find Callie, because Callie's not just half-black, she's half-fairy, and her father's refusal to marry a princess of the Seelie court in honor of Callie's mother makes Callie (a) a princess of the Unseelie court and heir to the throne (b) a target (c) a pawn in a political game that she doesn't understand at all.
I picked this up because of Leila's review at Kirkus. She doesn't oversell it. It's a great read and a great adventure. I loved the distinctly Modern American takes of the Seelie and Unseelie courts and the role race plays. The setting is wonderful and I love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love the role that music, especially Dust Bowl era folk and blues, plays in this story. Not sure I'll EVER hear "Midnight Special" the same way again (and that's a good thing.)
Zettel is an adult author and this is her first book for teens. It doesn't show. It doesn't fall into the usual traps of dumbing down/didactic/talking down to the reader that many books written by adult authors who want to jump on the YA bandwagon tend to fall into.
I'm very excited about Golden Girl, the second book which comes out in June. I AM NOT EXCITED BY THAT COVER. I don't 100% agree with Leila's take about the whitewash on the cover of Dust Girl (except the hair). But Golden Girl looks like a whitewash to me.
Book Provided by... my local library
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