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Staff Picks: A Fantastical Take on the Dust Bowl of the 1930s

Dust Girl is quite the fantastic journey. It centers around Callie who has grown up with an overprotective and somewhat mentally disabled mother. They run the only bed in breakfast in a small Kansas town that has been plagued by the dust storms of the 1930′s. During the worst storm, Callie’s mother disappears and out of the dust emerges a being who tells Callie she’s not quite human.
With no mother and no money, Callie embarks on a journey to try and find her father or at least, her father’s “people”. Along the way, she meets a young boy named Jack who is also on the run. Together, they encounter monsters and fairies(though it is sometimes hard to tell the difference). Callie realizes nothing is ever quite what it seems and she must use  her own fairy powers to recognize the truth, though it is way more complicated than she ever thought.

I generally go for more straightforward fantasy than Dust Girl, but I enjoyed the book enough that I finished it in a couple of days. Since it is the first in a series,  I realize that the author will do more character development in later books. However, my disappointment in this book was that most of the characters were either too confusing or too short lived for me to really invest in them emotionally. On the other hand, I really liked Callie and Jack’s dynamic and I look forward to their character development. I also really enjoyed the backdrop of Dust Bowl Kansas. Even though the story is a fantasy, it has the aspect of historical fiction as well and the details of that time period make the book intriguing as well as entertaining. Overall, I definitely recommend Dust Girl!

 

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