Bad Luck Girl: The American Fairy Trilogy, Book 3

Common Sense Media says

Rousing finish to historical fairy-fantasy trilogy.





What parents need to know

Educational value

Bad Luck Girl is set in Chicago during the 1930s, and it presents a realistic portrait of the place (with the addition of some supernatural elements, of course). An appendix provides a playlist of blues tunes from the era.

Positive messages

With so many characters who can do magic and bend other people to their will, Bad Luck Girl emphasizes that manipulating anyone, even a stranger on the street, is wrong and frequently dangerous. Individuals possess their own free will, and to tamper with that arrangement causes grief.

Positive role models

By the time of Bad Luck Girl, Callie LeRoux has reached her 15th birthday and matured emotionally as well as physically. She recognizes the burdens that come with being a fairy princess and the dangers of using her powers to manipulate others. Her mother and father and her friend Jack are her first priorities, but Callie has the strength and bravery to face her enemies directly and to fight for what's right.


The violence in Bad Luck Girl usually involves magic and is not presented in graphic detail. Callie and Jack fight otherworldly poodles, crows, and bears but escape any serious injury.


Callie begins to realize that she feels something more than platonic friendship for Jack and is confused by those feelings. She and Jack kiss, but their displays of affection go no further.


"Ass" is used once.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Callie and her family visit a "Hooverville" (a shantytown of shacks for the unemployed) where homeless drunks live.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Sarah Zettel's Bad Luck Girl, the final volume in the American Fairy Trilogyis an engaging historical fantasy that uses Depression-era Chicago as a well-realized setting for a tale of fairy magic. There's some violence and many magical battles, but the threat of physical violence is more prevalent than is actual bloodshed.The language is quite mild, with a single use of "ass." Sexual content is limited to a few kisses between the two lead characters.

What's the story?

Exiled fairy princess Callie LeRoux is in Hollywood and reunited with the three people who mean the most to her: her long-lost Papa, her devoted Mama, and her longtime friend Jack. But because the magical armies of Faerie are after them, they all must catch a train to New York. Unfortunately, the cold iron in the tracks makes Papa gravely ill, and so they end up stranded halfway across the country, in Chicago. There they find the remnants of Jack's family, as well as a strange, unpredictable community of human/fairy hybrids. As Callie struggles to find a happy ending for everyone, she puts her own life on the line again and again.

Is it any good?


BAD LUCK GIRL brings The American Fairy Trilogy to a rousing and satisfying close, and readers who have followed Callie and Jack from the Dust Bowl to Hollywood and on to Chicago will not be disappointed. This volume is a bit less steeped in historical and mythological lore than are the previous two, but readers familiar with folklore will enjoy identifying some of the obscured supporting characters.

All in all, author Sarah Zettel has done a fine job in creating a series that celebrates both American history and ancient folklore, with a well-realized and nuanced heroine at its center.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the ways in which mythology and folklore shape popular culture. Can you think of any examples of folklore in music, TV, or movies? 

  • Why is it wrong to manipulate people into doing what you want? What are better ways to express your wishes and meet your needs?

  • Why is the blues such an important style of American music? What subjects and emotions are addressed in that musical form?

Book details

Author:Sarah Zettel
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Princesses and fairies, Fairy tales, Misfits and underdogs, Trains
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Random House Books for Young Readers
Publication date:May 27, 2014
Number of pages:368
Publisher's recommended age(s):12 - 17
Available on:Hardback, iBooks, Kindle, Nook

This review of Bad Luck Girl: The American Fairy Trilogy, Book 3 was written by

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