Saturday, November 22, 2008
How To Ditch Your Fairy, by Justine Larbalestier
In a parallel world in a the near future, Charlie is a student at an elite sports high school in New Avalon. New Avalon is the best of the best and sports rule this world, making Charlie's place in the school a major honor. But in the world, fairies also hold sway and, while not everyone believes in their powers, Charlie sure struggles with hers. The fairies grant their hosts particular powers and her fairy give her the ability to find the perfect parking place -- a fairly worthless talent for a 14 year-old who hates cars and a dangerous liability when an upperclassman takes to kidnapping her to help him find parking places downtown. If only Charlie could get rid of her fairy and maybe gain a replacement -- like one that would win over all the boys or give her perfect hair....
A strange, quirky, and original setting for a story that combines sport novel with romance with supernatural magic, but never quite does any of these genres all the way. That may be charming, but I actually found it a bit maddening. Add to it all the surreal workload that Charlie and her fellow students allegedly endure and a sadistic system of demerits and I just started to get creeped out. What should have been a funny and entertaining story just got dark. New Avalon just seemed like a dystopia and a depressing place. So, in the end, I was confused about what I was supposed to get from the book. There were little elements of all sorts of things, but in the end, it seemed like a happy fairy tale ending (!) was supposed to wipe away any substantive conclusion. I didn't get much out of this book, despite its originality. Your results may vary.