What book is this ? Help please?

Here's what the cover looks like;

It's a greenish colour, and there is a girl standing there in a simple grey dress I believe. She has her hair in a side braid I think and she is holding a green stone?

Basically what it's about is a little town this girl and her father go to visit. Her father lived there as a child I believe, and surrounding the town are these evil, magical things. One of them attacks one day I think, and so the father builds these huuuuuuuuge walls around the town to keep the things out. And there is one rule - Don't go out of the barriers. But the young girl does one day, and she meets (I think he's a dwarf..?) and when she gets the magical green stone it let's her speak to animals ?

Anybody know? D: it's a rather small book. I read it a few years ago! Thank you!!

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  • 8 years ago
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    The Dark Hills Divide (first book of the Elyon series)

    "The following chapter turns to an event that happened before Warvolds death. Alexa and her father, James Daley, are on the road to Bridewell from their hometown of Lathbury. During the ride, Alexa insists that the story of the walls that surround Bridewell and the cities around it be told to her. The story is of an orphan named Thomas Warvold who wandered off from his hometown on his thirteenth birthday. For years no one knew or cared where he'd gone. After twenty years he eventually persuaded others to join him in a place most everyone believed was haunted, dark and dangerous. But, after time, more people became convinced that the place was safe to live in. The valley where Warvold settled, which is now called Lunenberg, filled up to capacity and provided no room for growth. One end of the valley was the already established town of Ainsworth. Because of the problem, Warvold decided to expand. He would build a walled road out into the unknown, and at the end of it he would build a new town. Only, who would build the wall? People of Lunenburg were afraid of the dangers outside. So Warvold decided to borrow convicts from Ainsworth, branded with a C for criminal, to do the hard labour. There was but one condition: After ten years, Warvold could return the convicts to Ainsworth, no questions asked. In three years, the convicts built the wall to what is now Bridewell and two more walled roads were started. Over the next several years the walled roads to Turlock and Lathbury were finished, completing the kingdom. In the middle of the story, Alexa and her father have a race with a mailman named Silas Hardy whom they meet on the road."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dark_Hills_Divide

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