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Catherine’s Thoughts: This young adult fantasy debut is a suspenseful, grim thriller perfect for reading during cool, spooky fall nights. It is a coming of age story featuring Newt, who since the age of four has been imprisoned in the dark trenches of a coal mine. Along with others, Newt is subject to harsh slave labor & wretched conditions. Hyder pulls the reader into this harrowing, violent world in a unique way as the story is narrated by Newt’s phonetic spelling of the ongoings. When a new character, Devlin, befriends Newt & urges a revolt against the brutal leaders of the mine, tension escalates & challenges unfold as the longtime inhabitants meet with uncertainty & the hope of freedom.

Life in Bearmouth is one of hard labor and isolation, the sunlit world far above the mine a distant memory. Newt has lived in the mine since the age of four, and accepts everything from the harsh working conditions to the brutality of the mine’s leaders—until the mysterious Devlin arrives and dares to ask the question, “Why?” As tensions rise, Newt is soon looking at Bearmouth with a fresh perspective—challenging the system and setting in motion a change of events that could destroy their entire world.

An utterly distinctive voice, propulsive and page-turning storytelling, high stakes, heart-stopping twists, and a sense of moral purpose make Bearmouth an unforgettable and unparalleled debut.

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