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FAIRY DUST by Jane Denitz Smith

FAIRY DUST

By Jane Denitz Smith

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-06-029279-2
Publisher: HarperCollins

Ruthie and her father need someone to help out around the house while Ruthie’s mother is away studying Aztec-wedding rituals in Mexico, but they seem to get more than they bargained for with the arrival of Alice. After a broken hip sends the first sitter away and the second one has an addiction to daytime talk shows, Ruthie and her father have just about given up finding someone to help out—until they spot the advertisement for a “Fun, fantastic sixteen-year-old” who “loves children.” Alice seems so magical. With unusual clothes, a mysterious past, and elaborate tales of fairies, the moody teenager manages to hypnotize Ruthie into abandoning herself and her values. At first, Alice’s stories are benign, but she begins to weave an intoxicating spell around Ruthie that convinces her to lie and steal to protect the illusion. The lies begin to unravel when Ruthie begins to find subtle inconsistencies in Alice’s stories, but it is not until she finds that Alice has stolen her gold locket, that Ruthie realizes the magnitude of her betrayal. This is a disturbing tale about the loss of innocence and the lengths to which one person can influence another to turn against everything in which she believes. A powerful story, beguilingly told. (Fiction. 8-12)