cover image Dust City

Dust City

Robert Paul Weston, Razorbill, $16.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-59514-296-2

In his second novel for young readers (and his first for teens), Weston (Zorgamazoo) includes a few familiar fairytale names, like a Jack who nabs a bag of magic beans and "Detective Inspector White" (an audacious, modern Snow White). But this noirish page-turner is no bedtime story. Once, there were fairies whose dust brought health and happiness to Dust City, but 16-year-old Henry Whelp—a talking, walking wolf—is locked in a world where the fairies have disappeared and a pale form of fairydust is an addictive catchall drug made by powerful corporations. When he escapes juvenile detention to see his imprisoned father, who believes fairies are still around but captured by the corporations, Henry finds a hopeful romance with a wolf named Fiona and becomes dangerously entangled with ruthless mobsters. Clever use of iconic characters and fairytale symbols against a hardboiled backdrop contribute to Weston's distinctive and highly imaginative mise en scène. Though Henry knows that not all fairytales have happy endings, his scrappy determination to restore good should have readers avidly following him through the grimy streets of his brutal world. Ages 12–up. (Nov.)