Preview of How To Ditch Your Fairy (with notes)

Today is the official publication day of How To Ditch Your Fairy in North America. To celebrate I am doing what I did for Magic’s Child: sharing the first sentence of each chapter of HTDYF.

As usual my concern is to protect you, the potential reader of the novel, from unnecessary spoilerage. Because there is nothing worse. NOTHING. Hence there is a small amount of redaction. Trust me, it is for your own good.

Without further ado, behold the How To Ditch Your Fairy first sentences:

1. My [redacted] looked funny in the [redacted], which is odd because my [redacted] are tiny.1

2. I had chocolate and strawberry in a crunchy nut and brioche cone and [Redacted]2 had lemon and lime in the vanilla cone.3

3. I have a parking fairy.4

4. It was such a long walk home that I almost wished I’d accepted the lift with [Redacted].

5. [Redacted: too spoilery]

6. “Just salad?” [Redacted] said, peering at my lunch.5

7. [Redacted] cornered me as I made my way to [redacted].

8. Dad was waiting outside the main gates, sitting on a fire hydrant, sketching.6

9. On Tuesday at first recess, [Redacted] and [Redacted] dragged me out onto the lawn over looking the outdoor [redacted].

10. While I love this school more than anything, there are aspects of it that are less than doos.

11. [Redacted] cemetery is the biggest and oldest in the city.7

12. By the time I got [redacted] the door to [Redacted’s] room was closed and no light seeped out.

13. [Redacted] was outside, sitting on my front steps, bouncing coins off the back of his hand as if they were jacks.8

14. [Redacted: too spoilery]

15. By Saturday I had racked up eleven (eleven!) additional [redacteds] , bringing my grand total to seventeen, or it would have except that my ten hours of [redacted] got me down to seven and kept me from getting any more game [redacteds].9

16. Walking through the city even at 8:30AM on a Sunday there were cars everywhere.10

17. [Redacted: too spoilery]

18. [Redacted: too spoilery]

19. [Redacted: too spoilery]

20. [Redacted: too spoilery]

21. [Redacted: too spoilery]

22. [Redacted: too spoilery]

23. [Redacted] came into the library during first recess.11

24. [Redacted: too spoilery]

25. “Well,” I said at last.

26. I put the heavy pile of [redacted] on the floor in front of me and turned the [redacted] [redacted] over, carefully placing it on the floor on top of the [redacted] [redacted].12

27. “Isn’t there a closer bathroom?”13

28. [Redacted: too spoilery]

29. [Redacted: too spoilery]

30. “You look bouncy,” [Redacted] observed.14

31. [Redacted: too spoilery]

32. [Redacted: too spoilery]

33. [Redacted: too spoilery]

34. [Redacted: too spoilery]

35. [Redacted: too spoilery]

36. [Redacted: too spoilery]

37. The [redacted] felt weird and uncomfortable and itchy.

38. [Redacted: too spoilery]

39. [Redacted: too spoilery]

40. It was my first [redacted].

41. [Redacted: too spoilery]

42. [Redacted: too spoilery]

43. [Redacted: too spoilery]

44. [Redacted: too spoilery]

45. The [redacted] [redacted] passed [redacted] like a [redacted], except that [redacted] [redacted] were [redacted], I [redacted] most of it, and my [redacted] were [redacted] to [redacted] [redacted] on.15

  1. You’ll have to read the book to find out what [redacteds] are. Although I worry that it is only too clear from context. []
  2. I don’t know about you but I hate finding out the names of characters ahead of time. So spoilery! []
  3. A Justine Larbalestier novel without food in it? I don’t think so! []
  4. I would have redacted this sentence except that it’s all over the back of the book, is quoted in most reviews, not to mention you being able to read this chapter right here on this website. Sadly, the matter of Charlie’s fairy is no longer a secret. For which you have my apologies. Honestly, if I could spare you from knowing anything about my book before you read it, I would. []
  5. I toyed with redacting this sentence entirely. It is a bit spoilery to know about characters’ eating habits before reading the book. But since this is not exactly a usual choice for her I decided it was okay. And in order to add to its non-spoileriness there are several lies in this footnote. Or are there? []
  6. Knowing that there is a character called “Dad” is only a tiny bit spoilery so I decided not to redact him. I was more worried about the fire hydrant. Pretend you didn’t read that. []
  7. It’s true that “cemetery” is a bit spoilery. If there’s a cemetery then there will be vampires and/or zombies. Or it means this is one of those YA problem novels about dealing with death and grief. But HTDYF isn’t any of those things. I mean I don’t even like zombies! I would never put them in a book. []
  8. You know, the word “redacted” is starting to look really strange. []
  9. Numbers are spoilery, too, aren’t they? I may possibly come back and redact this whole sentence. []
  10. Should probably redact the time and day, too. Pox! Why am I giving so much of my book away? What was I thinking? What’s the point in reading it now?! []
  11. I’m starting to love the word “redacted.” I think that’s going to be the title of my next novel: REDACTED by Redacted Redacted []
  12. “Heavy” is a spoiler, isn’t it? This is such a TRICKY game to play. I despair! []
  13. I figure most eveyone needs to go at some point, right? []
  14. I did debate redacting “bouncy” and “observed”. Those words carry SO MUCH MEANING. []
  15. A big risk I know including the first sentence of the last chapter. Here’s hoping my judicious redaction will keep you spoiler free anyways. []


  1. robin on #

    Congratulations! To celebrate this auspicious day, I think perhaps I will read it again.

  2. the dragonfly on #


    I don’t know that footnotes have ever in my life made me laugh so much.. 😛

  3. Jez on #

    Hahaha, that’s great Justine, I love the footnotes.

    I’ve actually had the book for about a week now (preordered on borders, they sent it early) and I’m loving it. I’m glad it’s out in stores now so that my friends can all go buy it & we can discuss it 🙂

    As for spoilers, you might want to edit the fairy list. I was looking through it last night & the Burnham-Stone one spoiled me a teensy bit.

  4. Diana Peterfreund on #

    J, how’s the weather over there off the deep end?

  5. Cecilieaux on #

    Here’s a new parlor game: Fill in Justine’s “redacted”!

    Me first: My [centaur] looked funny in the [bus station], which is odd because my [capacities for mythologizing] are tiny.

  6. Cecilieaux on #

    One more … I had chocolate and strawberry in a crunchy nut and brioche cone and [Richard Milhouse Nixon] had lemon and lime in the vanilla cone.

  7. Cecilieaux on #

    The [rock-band] [entourage] passed [Ohio] like a [comet], except that [setup] [people] were [drunk], I [photographed] most of it, and my [pix] were [only useful] to [egg] [them] on.

  8. Electric Landlady on #

    Personally, I find pronouns VERY spoilery. I’m going to pretend I haven’t read the first sentence of Chapter 13 now. *shakes fist*

    Also, YAY HTDYF Day! I have it on hold at the library but I may have to go and buy a copy because they are VERY SLOW with new books unless said new books are by J.K. Rowling. And I’m not sure I can wait for months and months to read this.

  9. alisa on #

    you are hilarious, justine! this just makes those of us who haven’t read it more eager to do so, you tricksy minx!

    also, i was doing the same thing cecilieaux did, and i had some fun:

    1. My [eyeballs] looked funny in the [glass jar], which is odd because my [pupils] are tiny.

    26. I put the heavy pile of [comics] on the floor in front of me and turned the [first issue of] [shi] over, carefully placing it on the floor on top of the [usagi] [yojimbo graphic novel].

    um, yeah, i should go write my novel instead of rewriting yours. heh.

  10. sammi on #

    Hahaha. i loved your footnotes. i cant wait to read it! course, i have way too many books to read….(grumbles at inability to read books fast enough)

  11. shanella on #

    I went out and bought this book today! 🙂 yay!! looking forward to finishing it soon.

  12. Kim on #

    You were totally right, Justine. You have given far too much away, and now I can only wait for the sequel and hope that you don’t choose to do something similar with it! ; )

    BTW, how has the tour food been?

  13. Little Willow on #

    Happy release day!

    Your next book could be Mad Libs. 🙂

  14. Laura-la on #

    I wish my school up in Iowa is cool enough for you to come, but it isn’t.

    I will have to live just reading your awesome books. – and Scott’s too 🙂

  15. Hillary! on #

    If I hadn’t read HTDYF already this would make me want to really badly.

  16. Chris Lawson on #

    Justine, I am impressed that you redacted words from your opening sentence! Wouldn’t want to give anything away, eh? 🙂

  17. Tap on #

    I just to the page after 280, and it’s 249 again, followed by everything up through 280 again (the last page). This is going a little too far with the “no spoilers” policy!

  18. Justine on #

    Tap: Oh no! That’s awful. The book’s only 300 pages long! Take it back to the bookshop—they’ll replace it with a non-defective copy.

  19. Tap on #

    It was actually a library copy, but I let them know when I returned it (today). Hopefully they’ll take care of it.

    I just realized my first comment is missing a word. How embarrassing!

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