VOYA - SEPT. 2007
(Voice of Youth Advocates is a bimonthly journal addressing librarians, educators, and other professionals who work with young adults.)
Rated 4Q 5P This is close to the highest review rating they offer (Q=quality P=popularity)
Yet again de Lint demonstrates his talent for writing that appeals to and respects teen readers. As with The Blue Girl
(Viking, 2004/VOYA December 2004), this novel is about friendship—albeit a rather unusual one—as well as the
importance of independence and taking charge of life situations. T.J. Moore, almost fifteen, is unhappy with her parents'
decision to move from the country to the suburbs of Newford. She had to leave behind her horse and her best friend, and
no one cares about how miserable she feels. Then excitement literally crawls out of the woodwork in the form of a
six-inch-tall girl, Elizabeth, a "Little" who lives in the walls of T.J.'s house. Elizabeth, sixteen, cannot stand hiding
in the walls of the house day after day and longs for excitement. Moreover, she longs to fly. Little legend has it that
some Littles have learned how to do so. T.J. sets out to help Elizabeth find assistance, and when they are separated
accidentally, both have to take independent action. Along the way, both girls learn a lot about themselves and their capabilities.
T.J. and Elizabeth are appealing, genuine characters. They start out at opposite ends of the spectrum, with T.J. shy
and insecure and Elizabeth overly self-assured, but they learn from and grow toward each other. The story progresses
smoothly, and de Lint's narrative is rich, vivid, and descriptive. Those unfamiliar with de Lint's work will love this
gateway to Newford, and fans will be in line already. Buy two.
BOOKLIST - Aug. 2007
Imagine Mary Norton's quirky Borrowers as twenty-first-century Goth teens bent on discovering their true genealogy. De Lint
has crafted a delightfully edgy fantasy that will lead teens to his popular adult series of Newford books, where magic
and fantasy thrive in a seemingly ordinary community. Fourteen-year-old T.J.'s family has been forced to move to a
suburb, leaving behind their famly farm and T. J.'s beloved horse. Shy and awkward, T.J. has trouble finding a niche
in her new school, and she misses her old friends desperately. Enter Elizabeth Wood, a 16-year-old "Little" who is six
inches tall and all punky attitude (four-letter words abound). T.J. and Elizabeth are both fascinated and sometimes
disgusted by each other, and they form a tight, complicated friendship that sees them through a slew of adventures
in both the quotidian and magical worlds. As in The Blue Girl (2001), de Lint mixes marvelous fantastical
creatures and realities as he taps into young women's need to feel unique, understood, and valued.
PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY - SEPT. 2007
"Oh, crap, don't swat me." Those are the first words spoken by Elizabeth, a six-inch-tall, sarcastic "Little,"
upon meeting 14-year-old T.J., a soft-spoken goody-two-shoes. T.J. feels depressed because she has to give up her
beloved horse when her family moves to the suburbs of de Lint's (The Blue Girl) mythical town of
Newford. Elizabeth has family troubles of her own-she has run away, and shortly after she meets T.J., her parents
and siblings disappear. Together, the girls set out to speak with Sheri Piper, a local children's book author
who has written about Littles (and who previously appeared in De Lint's short story collection,
Triskell Tales 2). But their plan is interrupted when a gang of bullies steals T.J.'s backpack with
Elizabeth inside. The narrative alternates between the girls' perspectives, as Elizabeth uncovers information
about her family history and T.J. attempts to connect with Sheri Piper. Although the two protagonists could not
be more different in terms of temperament (not to mention size), by book's end they've both matured into winsome
heroines. A sprinkling of pop culture references can feel jarring, as though the book were trying strenuously to
be contemporary. However, on the whole, de Lint's latest-which he based on a short story that appeared in last
year's Firebirds Rising anthology-adeptly braids the fantastic and the everyday. Ages 12-up.
T.J. is still trying to get her mind around the move from the farm and her beloved horse to the suburbs outside
de Lint's Newford, when she discovers a really sharp and stylish teen runaway named Elizabeth inside her new house. She
is only six inches tall, one of the Littles, and almost-15-year-old T.J. can't get her mind around that reality,
either. Once again, de Lint makes contemporary urban fantasy with very real teens, as T.J.'s backpack is stolen with
Elizabth in it. What follows are parallel and occasionally tandem adventures in finding stuff out: Elizabeth in what
other ways Littles can live with scrounging and hiding; T.J. in the world of gnomes, Littles, elves and other folk who
inhabit spaces hidden in her own world and ours. There are interesting boys and scary ones; ways of using fairy lore
and common sense; and a satisfying dénouement involving a very clever use of a PDA. Oddly, there is no mention of
earlier books about Littles, even though there's a character in the story who has written about this particular
batch. Expanded from an earlier short story, this will appeal to those unwilling to leave the Borrowers behind. (Fantasy. 12-14)
Two very different young women—each unhappy with their family—bump into each other and share their
stories. Gradually a friendship develops and is tested through a series of urban adventures. Sound like the usual YA
read? Not really. One of these teens is a Little. It starts with a sound—'SCRITCH,SCRITCH, SCRITCH'—from behind
Fourteen-year-old T.J. Moore is unhappy that her family (Mom, Dad, herself and elder brother Derek) has been forced by
stock-market crashes to move from their farm to a new subdivision, and that she has had to give up her beloved horse
Red. She knows no-one and misses her friends. Sixteen-year-old blue-haired Elizabeth Wood (Tetty to her family)
gives T.J. the shock of her life when she walks out of a door in the baseboard and says, 'Oh, crap ... Don't swat me.' Elizabeth
is tired of living in hiding and of all the rules and regs her strict parents insist upon to keep the Littles' existence a
secret. Elizabeth has attitude in spades and calls her new Big friend a Goody Two-shoes.
The next day, Elizabeth is gone and T.J. worries about her safety outdoors (at risk from cats, owls, hawks and dogs,
amongst other predators). When they meet again, T.J. persuades Elizabeth to stay with her (the other Woods have moved
out) until they can find her family or other Littles. T.J.'s Internet research has come up with an author, Sheri Piper,
who's written books about Littles. They arrange to go to a booksigning (with Elizabeth hidden in a backpack, but are
parted after T.J. is swarmed and her belongings stolen. This leads to separate adventures, in which T.J. shows plenty
of backbone, and Elizabeth discovers a whole new fey world and the possibility of wings.
Little (Grrl) Lost is magical YA urban fantasy. In it, T.J. learns that new places also come with new
possibilities—a close friend and a boyfriend—and that she can stand up for herself and what she wants,
while Elizabeth comes of age and discovers what she really wants from life.
GREEN MAN REVIEW
Little (Grrl) Lost is Charles de Lint's latest Newford novel. Aimed a young adult audience, Little (Grrl) Lost
features T.J., who's recently transplanted to Newford from the country because of family circumstances. As a result, T.J.'s
lost her best friend, and, just as importantly, her horse. She's finding it hard to adjust to life in the suburbs, and makes
no bones about it. Her life takes a sudden turn for the surreal when Elizabeth tumbles into her life . . . from her baseboards.
Elizabeth is a "Little," a six inch tall person, and a very independent one by comparison to T.J. She's determined to
leave her family (who lives in the walls of T.J.'s house) behind and strike out on her own, with no help from anyone. Well,
we all know about best laid plans, and T.J. and Elizabeth eventually end up teamed together, since the latter's family
has fled, fearing discovery, and making your own way in the world when you're half a foot tall isn't the easiest thing
to do. As luck would have it, a local author who's written about Littles—T.J.'s read her books—is scheduled
for a reading at a local book store. So the girls plan to attend the reading and maybe talk to the author, and see if what
she wrote of Littles is true: they were once birds, and could return to being birds once again.
Unfortunately, things don't go smoothly, and the girls get separated, leading to a number of tense and sometimes exciting,
sometimes perilous hours for both as they make their way to the author by very different routes. T.J. encounters two very
different guys around her age, who have rather mixed reactions to her confession about the existence of Littles—though
she does get both a kiss and a new friend out of the whole adventure (and discovers her annoying big brother's actually
kind of cool). Elizabeth gains some startling insights into her family's past, and a potential career—or at least
an interesting job for the foreseeable future. Both girls are definitely far less naïve by the book's end, which is
definitely a case of all's well that ends well for both.
If the ending seems a bit pat, the most engaging part of the novel is when it flips to Elizabeth's point of view about
halfway through, and readers are treated to a trip through a fantastical underground market populated by creatures
of all sorts. It's here that de Lint's writing shines—the market and its denizens fairly leap off the page, and
make it a site one hopes he revisits in a future Newford novel. By comparison, though, T.J.'s point of view—and
suburban Newford—is a bit dull and mundane, especially when we've come to enjoy and crave the magical side of
Newford. Still, Little (Grrl) Lost is a fun read, and perhaps a good introduction to de Lint's work for younger readers.
It's not easy for most of us to empathize with a fairy-tale character who's a princess seeking a prince or a fool in search
of a kingdom. Most of us have little in common with protagonists who slay dragons, throw dice with wizards or unravel ancient
dwarven mysteries to find a fortune.
But what if the story was about a couple of teenagers who'd gone astray and felt disconnected with the world around
them? That, I think, is a tale that touches all of us—even if one of the teens is a few inches short of a foot tall.
In Little (Grrl) Lost, author Charles de Lint revisits the Littles, a race of diminutive people who carry a mystical
bloodline in common with birds. But, while de Lint delved into the magical elements of this race in past short fiction, the Little
at the heart of this young-adult novel is 16, newly parted from her family and, purely by accident, discovered and befriended
by a Big. Bigs, of course, are us, or in this case is a 14-year-old girl also separated from the life and friends she knew
when her family moved from the country to the suburbs of Newford, de Lint's unusual and highly developed setting for urban fantasy.
T.J., the Big, and Elizabeth, the Little, are bound together in friendship after an accidental discovery; Elizabeth's family
was living secretly in the walls of T.J.'s house, but even a hint of Big awareness sent them scurrying for a safer home. All
except Elizabeth, who wanted to strike out on her own but wasn't sure, um, how.
But their efforts to meet an author who has written about Littles in the past go awry, and the girls are separated, beginning
their separate adventures to reunite and find the answers they need. There are lessons learned about friendship, first
impressions, helping those in need and not being too quick to take assistance from the wrong quarters—or to overlook
it from an unexpected source. Of course, being a de Lint story, there are also gnomes, goblins and other fey beings, not
to mention a muttering bag lady who pokes beneath cars with a big stick.
Charles de Lint has a gift for adding a sense of wonder to the mundane. Although written for young adults,
Little (Grrl) Lost will also appeal to older readers who enjoy de Lint's Newford tales. Framed by magic and mystery
in a thoroughly modern world, the story at its heart is entirely human.
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE October 28, 2007
How much novelty can be found in another story about a bunch of tiny people living behind the wainscoting? Charles de
Lint's Little (Grrl) Lost (Viking; 271 pages; $13.00, 12-up) continues the fantasy tradition popularized in
Mary Norton's "The Borrowers" and adds his own signature touches.
Fourteen-year-old T.J. regrets moving away from the family farm and leaving her beloved horse behind. As she copes with her
anger and loneliness in suburbia, she befriends the most unlikely of acquaintances: Elizabeth, a blue-haired, 6-inch-tall
teenager who lives in the walls of T.J.'s house. With attitude to spare, Elizabeth plans to leave her parents and venture
alone into the world of the Bigs, but she underestimates its dangers. When the two girls are roughly separated during an
excursion to the mall, both must learn new survival skills if they have any hope of being reunited.
De Lint, author of Moonheart and The Blue Girl, is one of the modern masters of urban fantasy, and his
new book demonstrates his facility in mixing ancient folklore with the mundane world of cell phones, computers and
shopping malls. He never allows Little (Grrl) Lost to become cutesy, but gives equal weight to T.J.'s and
Elizabeth's predicaments, demonstrating the resourcefulness and courage of both young women. Set in Norfolk, de Lint's
magical analogue of Ottawa, Little (Grrl) Lost benefits from a deep sense of place, with hints that some of the
supporting cast exist beyond this narrative and await rediscovery elsewhere in the author's large body of work.