Thursday, March 5, 2009

What I Wouldn't Give for a Never-Put-On-Weight Fairy

Justine Larbalestier claims she has a procrastination fairy, but I know better; what she really has is a doos book-writing fairy. (Doos = cool, ace, brilliant--you know you're reached a certain age when you find yourself consulting the glossary in a book of teen fiction). How to Ditch Your Fairy is a fun, fast, playful read with lots of verve and a very determined main character, Charlie, who is at serious odds with her fairy.

Yes, that's right, her fairy. In Larbalestier's world, everyone is born with their own personal fairy. No one can see them (although you can sometimes see their auras in a mirror) but you know that they are with you based on your own special brand of luck. Charlie's best friend has a shopping fairy, so whenever she goes shopping she finds fabulous clothing at ridiculously low prices (that fit her perfectly, natch). Charlie's mother has a knowing-what-your-children-are-up-to-fairy, so when Charlie gets into trouble she has absolutely zero hope of hiding it from her Mom. Charlie herself has a parking fairy. Which means that whenever she is in a car, no matter where she is going, she always finds a free parking spot right in front of her destination.

Now Charlie is only fourteen and can't even drive yet, but she is tired of being made to accompany parents, relatives, neighbours, and the school bully every time they want to drive somewhere. The only way Charlie can win back her life is to change her fairy. When starving her parking fairy by walking everywhere fails to work, she and her classmate Fiorenze decide to switch fairies. Fiorenze has an all-the-boys-will-like-you fairy she can't wait to get rid of. (Literally. All the boys. Even the gay ones. They only like her when she's around, mind you, but that's enough to make her wildly unpopular with the girls).

Well, the fairy swap brings new problems, and the story goes on from there. Happy ending, of course. But the story's turns are never absolutely predictable. (Well, except for the fact that Charlie will want to escape the the all-the-boys-will-like-you fairy. Saw that one coming a mile away). Part of the fun of the book is seeing the types of fairies that crop up. Fiorenze's family is so posh and wealthy thanks to her grandmother's stealing fairy. And Charlie's crush Steffi has a never-get-in-trouble fairy--how useful is that!

Hmmmm...wouldn't mind a chocolate fairy either...

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