3Q 4P; Audience: M/J/S
Wouldn't it be great to have your own personal fairy? Just imagine, you could have a clothes-shopping fairy that always finds you the most fabulous outfits at bargain prices. Or you could have a loose change fairy and never have to beg parents or friends for a couple of dollars when you want a bottle of soda or a slice of pizza. Or you could have an every-boy-will-like-you-fairy, like Stupid-Name (aka Fiorenze). Now that would be a fairy worth having. Then Charlie wouldn't have to wonder if gorgeous new boy Steffi likes her or not. But no. ::sigh:: Charlie doesn't have a cool fairy like those. She has ::huge sigh:: a parking fairy. What good is a parking fairy when you're fourteen years old and can't drive? No good, that's how good. Sure, other people think your fairy is great. What does that get you? It gets you dragged to your parents' meetings and concerts so they can snag a great parking spot. Whee. Charlie is sick of her fairy, and she going to get rid of it if it's the last thing she does.
How do you get rid of a fairy? Well, one theory is that you sort of starve them to death - you simply refuse to do whatever it is that they do for you. So Charlie figures that if she never gets into a car, her fairy will never be able to do her parking thing. She'll get so bored that sooner or later, she'll give up and just go away. That's why Charlie is walking everywhere she goes. And that's why Charlie is always late these days. And that's why she is in such trouble. Charlie attends New Avalon Sports High, a school for teens seriously into sports. Sports are all about rules. Therefore, so is New Avalon High. One of those rules is you are never, ever to be late for class. Being late gets you demerits, demerits get you barred from playing on your team, and too many missed games gets you kicked out of school. Charlie needs to get rid of this parking fairy soon. And everything is going according to plan. Until...
Musings and whatnot
This is, simply put, a quick, light-hearted read. As Charlie might say, it's doss. You can't help but like Charlie and the rest of the characters. I think I might have had a crush on Steffi myself if I'd met him at fifteen. And I liked the fact that Stupid Name was something more than she appeared to be, and that Charlie could admit that. Heck, even the bad guy was fun to read about. I enjoyed the book a bit more knowing that Larbalestier was also poking a bit of fun at things she's discovered living a bi-continental life (she has homes in Australia and NYC). I also wonder if people ever eavesdrop on Larbalestier-Westerfeld conversations and think they're listening to a foreign language or something, since both husband and wife clearly delight in inventing new slang for their books! Anyhow, I'm going to enjoy recommending this book to teens who want to kick back with a book that'll make them smile.
It's kind of fun to think of what kind of fairy I'd like, if I lived in New Avalon and could have a fairy. Our Zora Ann used to have a never-get-lost fairy, and I sure could use one of those. But now that I have a GPS, I'm sort of covered there. So a fairy that could keep me organized or (bliss!) a fairy that would make my meals for me would be just fine by me. Check out Justine Larbalestier's blog for some fun reading about fairies others would choose.
(Bonus read: Extra chapters!)