You guys, I’m not sure I can review this book without loosing my cool, so I’m just going to come out with my problem. This cover is white-washed and it seriously disappoints me. Callie LeRoux, the main character, the girl on the cover, our protagonist, is half white, half fairy. The fairy half is dark-skinned. Bluntly, she’s half black. She is described has having dark, kinky hair that her mother has difficulty taming (My hair was another story. My black hair was my mother’s worst enemy. “So coarse,” she’d mutter while she combed the tangles out.) and she has been made to dress in long-sleeves, hats, and scarves all her life to keep her skin light. Throughout the story, which is set in the 1930s dust bowl era, she worries about people finding out her secret.
You see, her race is a major plot point. And she is white washed on the cover. The issues she deals with? Callie even deals with them on the cover of HER OWN BOOK. Random House, I am disappointed in you. You didn’t even put it in the description of the book!
This new trilogy will capture the hearts of readers who adore Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle series. Callie LeRoux lives in Slow Run, Kansas, helping her mother run their small hotel and trying not to think about the father she’s never met. Lately all of her energy is spent battling the constant storms plaguing the Dust Bowl and their effects on her health. Callie is left alone, when her mother goes missing in a dust storm. Her only hope comes from a mysterious man offering a few clues about her destiny and the path she must take to find her parents in “the golden hills of the west” (California). Along the way she meets Jack a young hobo boy who is happy to keep her company—there are dangerous, desperate people at every turn. And there’s also an otherworldly threat to Callie. Warring fae factions, attached to the creative communities of American society, are very aware of the role this half-mortal, half-fae teenage girl plays in their fate.
I am a 34-year-old white woman, living in the 21st century. I’m Southern. I’m married. I have kids. I AM WHITE. I am not half anything, not even fairy. And I had no problems identifying with Callie. Her struggle to find her place in this world is universal. Everyone: man, woman, child, teen, adult, black, white; we all go through it. However, blacks have and continue to go through it more. And we all have so much to learn from stories like this. So give us readers some credit, give a race its due, give a great story some credit, and come down off your high horse. Fix the cover.
At first, I wasn’t going to point this out quite so vehemently, but the more I think about it and the more I talk about it with others, the more upset I get. Then the fantastic Leila Roy (from Bookshelves of Doom) reviewed it for Kirkus and she said something that really resonated with me:
I’m going to bring up The Crappy Thing first, though, because if we don’t continue pointing this stuff out, nothing’s ever going to change. Heck, even when we do keep harping, it keeps on keepin’ on anyway.
So, here I am. Harping. Fix the cover. And readers, in the meantime, don’t judge this book by its cover.
Also? This is really not much like Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle series. Gemma was more like a witch than a fairy. It was set in a British private school. And she’s very white. Go figure.