Charles de Lint is one of my favorite authors, ever, and he’s practically the only name anymore on the ‘auto-buy’ list. Every few years he writes a YA fantasy novel, and Little (Grrl) Lost is the latest submission. This book is based on a short story he wrote, by the same name, originally published in the Firebirds Rising anthology. The story forms the first chapter of the book.

T.J. and her family just moved into a suburban, all-houses-alike subdivision near Newford (de Lint’s imaginary but very large city), somewhat before her fifteenth birthday. They used to live on a farm, but economic times being what they were, they were forced to sell; her mother took a job at a hospital in town. To make matters worse for T.J., they also sold her horse, Red. Now, she’s stuck at a high school with people she doesn’t know, who talk about things she doesn’t care about, and she doesn’t even have a horse. Her brother, Derek, is doing just fine, of course.

One night, T.J. hears a lot of strange scratchings from inside the walls of her bedroom. She’s even more surprised when she leans closer to the wall and hears – voices? A few minutes later, a punky, sixteen-year-old girl walks out of a door in her wall, carrying a duffel bag and yelling that she’s running away. That’s odd enough, but the punky girl is six inches tall. (more…)