Nyx Book Reviews

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Review: Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel

Title: Dust Girl
Author: Sarah Zettel
Series: The American Fairy Trilogy #1
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

304 pages
Published June 26th 2012 by Random House Books for Young Readers
ARC received through Netgalley

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I’m not sure what it is with fae lore that makes me love it so, so much. I don’t feel the same when reading about vampires or angels or zombies. It’s like the fae have some supernatural pull on me. The illusions, the bitter sweet stories, the otherworldliness… Fae lore has everything to make a wonderful book.

Set in the time of the great Dust Bowl, one day Callie plays the piano in the foyer. A massive duster buries the house, and swallows her mother whole. A mysterious stranger helps her on the way to find her mom, and maybe find out the truth about her father.

Being European, I had actually never heard about anything like the Dust Bowl. It’s not something that’s taught in history classes here, unlike the Great Depression. This setting gave Dust Girl just that bit extra that made if from a “good” read to an “amazing” read. It was fascinating for me, and Ms Zettel included more than enough little details to make it more interesting than when the story had been contemporary.

This book is written for a slightly younger audience than I’m used to, since the main character is thirteen. But I thought Callie was quite realistic, and I appreciated that although this is written for younger teens, the language and themes in Dust Girl haven’t been dumbed down. There is no patronizing voice that explains every single thing, which is a quality that usually turns me away from younger fiction. I loved that although there is a tinge of romance, it is all innocent and cute, just like it should be at thirteen. No heavy make out sessions, but a queasy feeling and stolen glances. It also fit the time period very well, and it all felt quite natural.

If you’re not that interested in the fae or the historical aspect of the book, Dust Girl might not be for you. Purely as an action novel it doesn’t have to offer more than other books do – even though I loved the action scenes, there aren’t that many of them. A great deal of the novel is Callie and her friend Jack running from the fae and trying to find Callie’s parents.

I would recommend Dust Girl for everyone that doesn’t mind young characters, and loves fae lore or early 20th century historicals. I’m very much looking forward to see how the American Fairy Trilogy continues.


This new trilogy will capture the hearts of readers who adore Libba Bray’s “Gemma Doyle” series. 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.

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