How To Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier

Posted by Cobalt | Posted in , | Posted on 8:28 AM

Rating: 3.75 / 5 stars

Charlotte, aka Charlie, is not particularly happy when we meet her. It's more than the stretchy top currently mangling her 'spoffs' -- it's her entire life situation. She's fourteen, a sports maniac (like everyone else at New Avalon Sports High) who just wants to get on the basketball team and maybe link with the new hot boy, Steffie -- but her stupid parking fairy keeps ruining her life.

Yes, a parking fairy. While her friend Rochelle gets a clothes fairy that makes everything look perfect on her (not to mention discounted 75%), and her mortal enemy Fiorenze has an 'every boy fancies me' fairy that turns all eligible males into drooling love zombies, Charlie has been saddled with the 'charm' of always being able to find a parking spot. Except that she doesn't have a car, and can't drive. Instead, she's constantly getting 'borrowed' by friends and family who are eager to make the newest concert or have a hassle-free supermarket run -- absolutely zero fun for Charlie herself.

So she's trying to ditch her fairy, any way she can. There's a number of theories as to how, ranging from the unsanitary (never bathing) to the unhealthy (fasting, odd diets). Charlie has been trying the slow-but-steady approach by walking everywhere and therefore starving her fairy of the chance to work its mojo. Of course, this makes her late to everything, which earns her constant demerits, which gets her kicked off sports teams, which makes her parents upset, which threatens her social life and therefore her growing relationship with Steffie...

If only her stupid fairy would leave, this would all be solved!

Larbalestier gets major points for originality. She has not only created a nifty world where invisible (and some say, nonexistent) fairies fiddle with the course of everyday life, but she's also set the novel in a city where fame is paramount and schools are specialized to the point of regimentation. At Charlie's school, failure to intake the proper amount and proportion of calories earns demerits, since proper nutrition is essential to one's sports performance. Classes are all sports-oriented, from the PR assignments about managing bad press after a drug enhancement scandal to the Statistics sessions calculating batting averages. There's a fine line between passion and obsession, and while Charlie seems happy with her life, Larbalestier explores some of the tensions of this performance-oriented society in interesting ways.

Within this vibrant world, there's lots of catchy slang terms to enjoy, and Charlie's voice is fresh and engaging throughout. A fun, light read, told in diary format a la Bridget Jones, but with far more substance and style than the typical 'chick lit for teens.'

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