Monday, June 25, 2012

Review of Dust Girl

Goodreads Summary: "Callie LeRoux lives in Slow Run, Kansas, helping her mother run their small hotel and trying not to think about the father she’s never met. Lately all of her energy is spent battling the constant storms plaguing the Dust Bowl and their effects on her health. Callie is left alone, when her mother goes missing in a dust storm. Her only hope comes from a mysterious man offering a few clues about her destiny and the path she must take to find her parents in "the golden hills of the west" (California).

Along the way she meets Jack a young hobo boy who is happy to keep her company—there are dangerous, desperate people at every turn. And there’s also an otherworldly threat to Callie. Warring fae factions, attached to the creative communities of American society, are very aware of the role this half-mortal, half-fae teenage girl plays in their fate.

Dust Girl sucked me into its historical realm within the first page. I felt like I was in the Dust Bowl. I felt dried out by the overwhelming heat, the gritty dust over my skin and clogging my throat; her descriptions were spot on and really helped me slip into Callie's shoes. I was amazed by the detail of the time period that Sarah Zettel presented her reader's with, it was total immersion which is my favorite kind of historical fiction; the kind where you are no longer thinking that its historical fiction, puzzling out details from previous classes, you're just lost in the story that is being told to you.

Callie was an interesting heroine. She wasn't perfect by a long shot. She made mistakes. She could be a mean person. She could be a hateful one. But so could anyone. She was human. Or was she? I enjoyed reading about Callie because she wasn't selfless all the time, she didn't always go for the greater good, sometimes she just did what would be best for her. She got frustrated easily. But at the root of her was a wish for family. A real, true family. Which I thought was pretty redeeming.

I could picture that grin of Jack's so easily, that sort of grin that lures you into doing things you wouldn't have dreamed of before. The kind of grin that sweet-talks you into doing whatever it he wants you to do. I have a best friend who has this grin mastered and he knows how to use it to his advantage, just like Jack.

Something that really stood out to me in this novel was that Sarah Zettel took full advantage of the mythology that she had available to her. As someone who has taken a Native American Literature course in college [most amazing elective EVER aside from my Adolescent Literature course] and attended to Native American Storytelling events I have to admit I got excited when my favorite reoccuring troublemaker made an appearance. And of course I'm talking about Coyote. She even mentioned a couple of my favorite Coyote stories in reference to him! I recognized him pretty much as soon as he arrived on scene and he instantly lended credibility to Zettel's story.

Music played an equally powerful role in this story. It was looked on as its own sort of magic, its own power, its own wish. Being a music lover myself, and coming from a long line of musicians, I found myself captivated by this idea. I don't know how many times I heard my Dad play the guitar, drums, even on occasion sounding things out on a keyboard but it always sounded like magic to me. The way it captivates you, draws you in, invokes such powerful emotions, such strong images. There's a magic to music and I think the author captured that well with her words.

I think I've found a new favorite fey series and I'm looking forward to the rest of this trilogy being published, I can only hope they're as good as Dust Girl but I have a feeling that each one is going to be better than the last.

Rating: 5/5

This E-ARC was provided by Netgalley and Random House Children's Publishing in exchange for a fair and honest review.


  1. Great review! I wish I knew more about Native American mythology.

  2. Thank you! I wish I knew more. The one class was nice but only an overview really, I'd like the chance to go more in depth. The legends and myths are so fascinating.