And that's pretty much all I can remember about it, unfortunately. There was, I'm fairly certain, a human protagonist, and s/he stumbles upon a group of faeries/elves/something similar masquerading as homeless human teens in a large city--I believe they were living together (squatting) in a brick building, and they had some way to access an alternate, magical world. Possibly something terrible was happening in the magical world which required the humans' help.

I read it as a kid, so it was probably published in the 1980s.

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    Sounds vaguely like Charles DeLint, but I haven't read enough of his work to give a title. Did the people all have silly names? Apr 19, 2012 at 19:15
  • I have a Charles DeLint book and I'm pretty sure he's not the author I'm looking for. This book was one of those small YA paperbacks, not much longer than, say, The Black Cauldron.
    – sheepeeh
    Apr 19, 2012 at 19:36

3 Answers 3


This sounds like the Mercedes Lackey Serrated Edge series.

The first book "Born to Run" has dark-side elves kidnapping teenage street prostitutes to make occult themed snuff films. In this one all of the help goes from the good elves and a human mage to the kids.

In later books in the series, kids do help the elves.

Each book in the series stands alone, but shares some characters.

The one you are thinking of might be "Elvendude."

From a comment below I now think "Mad Maudlin" is a better fit for your story description.

  • I think I'd remember if it were Lackey (I've read most of her books), but maybe not! I have both books on order and will re-comment when I know if either answer was correct.
    – sheepeeh
    Apr 23, 2012 at 16:10
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    Alas, definitely not Elvendude!
    – sheepeeh
    Apr 29, 2012 at 15:44
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    Mad Maudlin was a later book in the series which specifically had an elf slumming with homeless children (as it turns out, he's unseleighe and is essentially rebelling against having to be evil).
    – FuzzyBoots
    Mar 17, 2014 at 18:28

Could it be Elsewhere or it's sequel Nevernever?

adventures of teenager Ron and his friends--other human runaways, elves, and those of mixed blood. Known as ``Wolfboy'' since the lovely elf Leda put a spell on him, Ron is trying to adjust to his new shape and to find love (or sex) in the ever-shifting power struggles on the border between the World and Faerie.

  • Elsewhere and Nevernever appear to be short stories from the Borderlands collections. This was definitely a novel, though the description of Borderlands itself sounds fairly similar.
    – sheepeeh
    Apr 19, 2012 at 19:43
  • It looks like it might be from that series but these were two YA books not short stories. amazon.com/Elsewhere-Will-Shetterly/dp/0152052097/… Apr 19, 2012 at 20:50
  • None of the cover art I could find seemed familiar (I think it was primarily red and brown toned), but it looks like an interesting read regardless.
    – sheepeeh
    Apr 19, 2012 at 22:48

Is it the Weetzie Bat series by Francesca Lia Block maybe?

Once upon a time in the city of Shangri-L.A., someone left a baby on a doorstep. She had wild, dark hair and purple eyes and looked at the world in a special way.

The family that took her in called her Witch Baby and raised her as their own. But even though she tried to fit in, Witch Baby never felt as though she truly belonged.

So one day she packed her bat-shaped backpack, put her black cowboy-boot roller skates, and went out into the real world to find out who she really was....

"Witch Baby" is referred to as "elf-like" in the text, and ultimately becomes homeless for a time.

  • 2
    Welcome to Stack Exchange! Please can you edit this answer to give some more detail about this series and why you think it matches what the OP is asking about?
    – Rand al'Thor
    Apr 7, 2016 at 20:45

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