Ideas for Learners Promoting Literacy, Inquiry, and Meaningful Learning Experiences

How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier


Book Summary

Charlie attends an elite high school for athletes in fictional New Avalon, where she enjoys classes like basketball, cricket, tennis, and fencing, but she loathes subjects like statistics and public relations. Some students enjoy their fairies, like good hair fairies, shopping fairies, or even loose-change-finding fairies.  Charlie's fairy finds good parking spots whenever Charlie is in a car, and Charlie is determined to get rid of her useless fairy and find a better one.

How to Ditch Your Fairy book cover
How to Ditch Your Fairy

Book Review

This is a fun book with an interesting premise.  It might be better classified as science fiction with its dystopian setting, but its focus is self-discovery. It may have some empty calories, but the pacing is quick and it feeds delightful fantasies about being able to make high school a little easier. Each chapter begins with a statistical run-down similar to that of Bridget Jones, but Charlie records things like how many demerits she collects in a day.  The book also uses some invented language to further create the illusion of a society that is slightly futuristic.

The book touches on some richer themes, like the self-absorption of cities full of famous people, or forgiving the ethical slips of promising athletes. Instead, it focuses on Charlie's crush on the new boy in town, and how she continues to get in trouble at school as she tries various things to get rid of her fairy. The author has created an interesting world with characters full of potential, but the plot does not stray much beyond Charlie's immediate concerns. While it may not be as deep as it could have been, the book is entertaining and many readers will relate to Charlie's struggles. Charlie's sister attends a similar school for artistic students, leaving an open opportunity for an interesting sequel.

Left quotation mark

If my little sister couldn't understand the joy of your body in motion, of making a cricket ball do exactly what you wanted it to, of going under someone's guard and bending the point of your foil into their chest, of hearing the swish of a basket that is all net, then there was nothing I could say to explain it to her. "     p. 79

Topics and Themes for this book:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Is luck real?
  • Competition
  • Whether Grass is Greener on the Other Side; Perspectives

Discussion Questions for this book:

The best discussion questions, of course, are generated by and contemplated by readers. These questions are designed to avoid major spoilers about the book, and to provide a starting point for teachers, parents, and student reading groups.

**Questions coming soon**

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