Little (Grrl) Lost -- Charles de Lint

When T.J.'s parents announce that they're moving the family for financial reasons, T.J. isn't just unhappy -- she's downright angry.  But she's fourteen.  So, regardless of how angry she is, she really doesn't have much say in the matter.

For her, a move to the Newford suburbs means leaving her best friend.  It means leaving the country, the farm, and her horse behind.  It means changing schools and getting mocked for her accent.  For fans of de Lint (even new ones like me), it means something entirely different:  it means an opportunity to discover another, more magical world.

Little (Grrl) LostT.J.'s issues with her parents are mostly forgotten when she finds out that there's another family secretly living in her new house:

She raised her fist to bang on the wall, then froze.

Because the impossible happened.

A small section of the baseboard opened as though it was a tiny door, spilling out a square of light.  A girl appeared in the doorway, looking back inside.  She held a duffel bag in one hand and was wearing a jean jacket over a T-shirt, a short red-and-black plaid skirt, and black clunky shoes.  Her hair was neon blue.  She looked to be about sixteen or seventeen.

And stood about six inches high.

Enter Elizabeth, who, due to her own parental issues, is determined to make her own way in the world.

How much do you love the cover?  I love it.  Especially the safety pin, for some reason.  And, wow.  Those are very impressive handmade boots.  I want a pair.

It was a bit of a jolt for me to go from de Lint's adult books to this one -- while he isn't condescending in any way, it's clearly written for a younger audience.  Storyline and vocabulary, pacing -- all different.  This story is about friendship and trust and responsibility and figuring out who you are -- classic teen novel stuff.  The pay-attention-to-your-surroundings-you-never-know-what-you'll-see theme* is still there, though.   

I liked it.  A whole lot.  I zipped right through, I became attached to the characters quickly, even the minor ones, and some of them -- the boys, specifically -- surprised me.  I do think that his books for adults feel richer (or, at least, the one's I've read have), but this could act as a Newford gateway drug.  I can imagine young teens taking to Little (Grrl) Lost and wanting more.  More of the characters and of the world.

The one odd thing I noticed:  When T.J. searches for "Littles" on the internet, she comes across The Borrowers and Gulliver's Travels, she comes across the Little People of America website, she comes across archaeological information and some other things, but she never comes across John Peterson's Littles.  V. minor, but it did seem like an odd thing to miss.  (I read a galley copy, though, so that could change.)

*I've found that I've been reading while walking less since getting into de Lint's books -- not because I'm expecting to see fairies, but because it occurred to me that maybe I should be spending a leetle bit more time in the real world.  Then again, now that I've discovered him, all I want to do is read his books, so that real world thing might not be working out so well...