As usual this time of year, I'm once again a little behind on posting, so you'll get 2 books on this post. The first was Charles De Lint's Little (Grrl) Lost. This one was a disappointment. 14-year-old TJ has been forced to move from the farm, which she loved, to the city. She's having a hard time adjusting and making friends, until she discovers a Little, a six-inch-tall, 16-year-old girl named Elizabeth, living in the walls of the new house. They get to be friends, and set out on a mission to meet a local author, who may have information about other Littles. Along the way, Elizabeth gets lost, and TJ is determined to find her again. Once they are split up, the story alternates between, the 2 points of view. Annoyingly, for me anyway, the author chose to narrate in 3rd person initially, but once the girls are split up, alternate between TJ's 3rd person perspective and Elizabeth's 1st person perspective. In addition to some awkwardness in the writing style, I was also disappointed in the amount of action in this one. I thought it was pretty slow, and lacked a rewarding ending. Nothing objectionable in this one for middle-schoolers, but not much to recommend it either.
On to David Ward's Escape the Mask. This one is the first in the Grassland Trilogy. It's the story of a group of young people who were kidnapped as small children to become slaves to a group of people known to them as Spears. They don't all speak the same language and must communicate with hand signals that have developed over the years. Some have been there since they were so young that they have no recollection of home. Suddenly, the daily routine seems to be changing, and they sense danger coming. It's a simple story, told in a straightforward, but very compelling manner. I really enjoyed this one. Nothing objectionable for middle-schoolers, and might also be good for those who need something a little shorter, without difficult vocabulary. Enjoy!