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Kit's Wilderness

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  1,885 ratings  ·  265 reviews
The Printz Award–winning classic gets a new look.

The Watson family moves to Stoneygate, an old coal-mining town, to care for Kit’s recently widowed grandfather. When Kit meets John Askew, another boy whose family has both worked and died in the mines, Askew invites Kit to join him in playing a game called Death. As Kit’s grandfather tells him stories of the mine’s past and...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published September 11th 2001 by Laurel Leaf (first published May 20th 1999)
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Printz Award Winners and Honor Books
47th out of 72 books — 838 voters
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Hidden Gems: YA-Fantasy Novels
170th out of 1,127 books — 2,837 voters

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Community Reviews

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This book is amazing; the story is creative very dark and dappled with light throughout and moved towards a wonderful creative ending. The story is original and wonderfully crafted together, showing the brilliance of David Almond writing skills. After reading Skellig I thought how could David Almond ever match this book, but he proved me wrong; he not only matched it he may have just surpassed it. As the story progresses Kit (the main character in the book) starts to write a story that links int...more

Kit’s Wilderness I wonder how many times I’ve seen this title and assumed it was an American Girl book. Truly a shame… This has been out for 15 years… 15 years that I could have carried Kit and his story with me.

It almost eluded me once again, when I noticed the author, David Almond, I knew that name. A sudden surge, like a warm fuzzie or a premenopausal hot flash overcame me. Skellig.
Yes. Now, I remember.

David Almond has this incredible talent. His voice. He rambles, he doesn’t use paragraphs...more
Lisa is Busy Nerding
in a sentence: A story based journey with Kit Watson through the semi-dream/semi-reality experience in his family's hometown during his Grandfather's final times.

The story begins simply enough, with the coming home again to support a Grandfather during the loss of his Grandmother. We journey with Kit as he starts a new school, meets new people, and uncovers a plethora of family history within this small town that goes back hundreds of years. There is a genuine goodness in Kit, and a strong desir...more
Afton Nelson
Somehow David Almond is able to craft stories that are both dark and meaningful, deep and beautiful. I can't imagine a kid falling in love with this story right away. Rather, it seems like a story that lends itself to examination, lots of thought and discussion.
Sarah Brutsch
With a title that sounds misleadingly like an American Girl story, I had pretty low expectations for the book and no idea what it was about. My mistake. This book was WONDERFUL! Kit Watson has a gift for seeing ghosts and for storytelling, and these gifts enable him to befriend a boy deeply jaded and hurt by experiences in life. I did wonder sometimes if the themes were specific for a YA audience, since it wasn't your typical misunderstood teen/sexuality/identity exploration I think we too often...more
Oct 04, 2011 Kirby rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 420
I grew up in an old coal-mining town in Kentucky. I never played death, probably because the miners still work there. However, the connection to the past and the land really resonated with me. The Askews and the Watsons are like the Steeles and the Cobbs, where I'm from. When people see me, they see my grandfather. He died when my mom was only six, but I know him. Sometimes it's like how Kit found his name on the monument, I feel like my ancestors live through me. I hear stories, see pictures, a...more
This Printz award winner is a fine piece of literature, one of those YA books that any adult should like, too.

Kit's family returns to the coal mining town where his ancestors have been for generations and Kit gets engaged in game-playing, story-telling, a girl, a tough boy, and connecting with his aging grandfather. But that's not all the book is about. It's about death, and life, and ghosts, and deep time (plate tectonics, the coal), and inheritances, and decency and commitment and imagination....more
The best phrase I can think of to describe this story is somewhat paradoxical: "darkly sublime." It's so rich throughout, I don't think my words can come close to doing it justice here. My sister recommended that I read it after quoting a writing expert who said this book is a "master class" on how to create tone. I wholeheartedly agree.

In his appended author's note, David Almond writes "I think that stories are living things--among the most important things in the world." He certainly practices...more
Cynthia Egbert
I do not even know where to begin with how much I love this book. Mr. Almond really speaks to my heart. Small England coal mining town, ancestors, major supernatural elements, family and relationships, and all of this woven with beautiful skill into a wonderful story. This is written for youth but it does have elements of real darkness that may affect some more than others. This book felt like reading something by Bradbury mixed with Susan Cooper with a dash of Hans Christian Anderson for good m...more
Ofa Fotu
THAT was a really good book. It was SOOOO creepy, but just for the fact that I was able to have that much of an emotional response speaks volumes for the effectiveness of the writing. It has alot of themes of death and motifs of re-birth. It would seem like a ghost story at first, but isn't so much a story about death as much as it is a story about life. It turns out to be a very uplifting read (read it in one day - -I split the read in two and the first night I was freaked out so much I couldn'...more
Alyssa Morres
Award Winner

The book "Kit’s Wilderness" is a story about gaining friendships and reaching for your dreams it takes place in a small England town that is known for its coal mining. Kit the main character gets pulled into the past by Askew, a neighborhood kid, who plays the game of death in an old mining cave. In the end Kit and Askew become great friends and learn from each other about life and each of their pasts. Since this book took place in England it was hard to grasp the langua...more
I'm not sure I could give you a synopsis of what this story was about... because there's not exactly a plot line. This was one of the most interesting books I have ever read, and I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it. I would have to read it a second time to really grasp what the meaning of everything is, and what the point of the story is. I will try my best to mention a few things that I thought were particularly thought-provoking.

I noticed a big theme of darkness, and how darkness is ass...more
there was something about this book,I bought this novel twice..TWICE, cos of totally different editions, and buying lots of books cos you only liked the sound of it without really knowing the story or read for the author before, so with this one I ended getting with two copies cos I have the same way of thinking even with more than a year gap.

Do I regret it?! NOP this one WAS made to find me, the story is deep, with lovely metaphor, and complicated simpleness, it is like reading Lord of the Flie...more
Leah Blair
I'm not really sure what to think about this one. I enjoyed the prose and the way it was written, but the plot is kind of a head-scratcher to me. There's a lot going on, and in my mind none of the subplots really connected in a way that made sense.

(I guess I should say SPOILERS now)

I applaud Almond for writing such a strange and deeply-layered "children's book". Here are my problems with it, though. I never understood the world of Stoneygate. At first, without instruction from the author, I assu...more
Aug 02, 2007 Wags rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: bestof
Kit moves to an English village that used to center around coal-mining. He enters a world where life and death and ancestry become intertwined within the harsh internal and external landscape.
David Almond amazed me with this book. I did not expect to like such a dark read, but I loved it. The story is intriguing on its own, and yet transcends. It is eerie and sophisticated. Mystical, mythical, imaginative, and believable.
A story that starts out deceptively simple, and then quickly whirls you into something far more intense. It keeps you on its toes, playing like it'll dive off the deep end at any time. Some parts are downright supernaturally disturbing, and just when you think the author will go for the jugular, he pulls back just enough to keep your heart racing but not in full panic.

Since the cover is already muted in shades of grey, I didn't even know that this was categorized with the similarly colored "horr...more
The heartbreakingly real world of coal mining is fused with magic, ghosts, and the power of friendship, family, and memory. YA
Andrew Backs

Kit is a young man in transition. He and his family have moved to a remote mining village in England to take care of his ailing Grandfather who moves in and out of moments of reality and dreams. Kit loves the stories of the village's past. They are tales of suspense and adventure of former souls who roamed the surrounding wilderness. Viewed as an outcast in his new school, Kit makes friends with the eccentric Allie Keenan and draws the attention of the mysterious Askew.

The stories of hi...more
If you like strange, eery and slightly confusing novels, Kit’s Wilderness is a must read. However, if that kind of book is not your cup of tea, then Kit’s Wilderness is one book that you can skip reading without any remorse. The plot of this book seemed to go absolutely nowhere. The story was a little intriguing with the idea of ghosts and the figures that Kit and Askew could see, but the relation of the ghostly figures to the actual plot never really seemed to connect. It did not seem like a lo...more
Themes: light/darkness, change, death, peer pressure, supernatural elements, redemption

I can't say enough good about this book. It was amazing. Christopher Watson, a boy who loves to write stories, is the quiet, new kid in the mining town of Stoneygate in northern England, where most of his ancestors also lived. Shortly after he arrives, he learns that he shares a name with a boy who died in the mine 100+ years before, and because of this distinguishing characteristic, he is invited to play a h...more
I loved David Almond's CLAY. A haunting story with peerless writing that broke out of the normal confines of YA.

So, with high expectations and eagerness, I dive into Kit's Wilderness.

Well, that's what I said five days ago and now -- five days and five stars later, I finish Kit's Wilderness and am once again amazed by David Almond.

A haunting story of real depth and mystery and music. It succeeds where so many stories fall short. Where other stories adopt a near poetic voice that comes across...more
Kit’s Wilderness by David Almond is “pretty good.” This was not very easy for me to say however. After reading Almonds self-written introductory page “About the Author” I was disgusted with his pomposity and self-indulgent sticky self-approbation. It went something like this: “I’ve published lots of fiction for adults, and I’ve won a lot of prizes. I’m a great writer, and I even write my novels in a dilapidated old mansion, I rock!” Despite my genuine and immediate dislike for the author, I read...more
Shelbi Bluemel
Kit's Wilderness is about a boy named Kit who moves into a mining town with his mother and dying grandfather, and comes with the natural curiosity inside all of us that can sometimes lead us to things we should avoid. He gets ensnared in a group that is playing "death" games. His curiosity keeps him there, while his good, bubbly friend Allie keeps telling him he is too good to be caught up in the group. The leader is named John Askew and he is thought the whole time to be a trouble-maker and a b...more
Sara Turner
This book is about a boy who moves to a small, former mining town. As the new kid in town he faces the challenge of fitting in and making new friends. Eventually he gets involved with a group of friends that are interested in things that involve the supernatural. This causes some tension in the town because of the history that is there in relation to the mine. Kit's grandfather was a key part in the history of the town and the book goes through his journey to understanding it.

Personally, I reall...more
Libby Chester
Awesome book about a 13 year old living in a coal mining town. Kit and his parents moved there to live with his grandfather after the death of Kit's grandmother. The meat of the story takes place in the wintertime, the setting and the town become important characters, lending great atmosphere to the plot. 13 year old, 'Kit,' Christopher Watson plays a game called 'death,' with some children in town; these children are from the 'old' families that have lived there for generations and lost many lo...more
The story is a little odd, but I liked it. I really liked the writing. I kept getting distracted because I wanted to see what the author was doing to create his effects, but the story was compelling enough that I didn't want to analyze while I was reading it. A few hours after I finished this book, I started The Glamour of Grammar and realized that some of what created the tone was the simple sentence structures, often with subject/verb starts, and the setting set up with fragments, like this on...more
"Kit's Wilderness" is a book that will make you feel uneasy and a little frightened; it speaks to those fears of getting in with the wrong group and doing things that we are too smart to do. Teenagers will relate to the group pressure of fitting in and appearing cool and unafraid and also to that base emotion of enjoying fear.

When Kit's grandmother dies, Kit and his family move to Stoneygate an old coal-mining town that Kit’s family has a history in to take care of his grandfather.

Being the new...more
This book was not at ALL what I expected! I thought it was going to fall under the category of "bleak" literature, but it actually had a really hopeful and sweet ending. Pretty typical of Young Adult literature to not be completely terrible and tragic, but still, I was a little nervous for a while. I thought that at the beginning, it had a bit of a "Blair Witch Project"-esq feel with these kids gathering in the woods to be creepy and play dead and stuff (Ok, admittedly I have never seen that mov...more
It’s been a long time since I have read a book as unique in plot and style as Kit’s Wilderness by David Almond. The story is set in an old mining town, where many stories abound about those who were trapped during cave-ins and other disasters. The theme revolves around memories, those which Kit is told by his grandfather, and those which help Kit’s grandfather hold onto the present in his old age. Kit’s Wilderness is a beautifully-woven tale which deservedly won the Michael Printz award for lite...more
Jessica Leatham
This story is about death—recognizing, accepting, and learning from death. Kit, a thirteen-year old boy, moves with his family to Stoneygate to live with his ailing grandfather. As his relationship with his grandfather and a boy named John Askew grows, Kit begins to ask questions about death. John Askew’s family is suffering, and his questions and obsession with death lead Kit to search for his own answers. The ending of the story is somewhat surprising. Although some have called this novel dar...more
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David Almond is a British children's writer who has penned several novels, each one to critical acclaim. He was born and raised in Felling and Newcastle in post-industrial North East England and educated at the University of East Anglia. When he was young, he found his love of writing when some short stories of his were published in a local magazine. He started out as an author of adult fiction be...more
More about David Almond...
Skellig (Skellig, #1) My Name is Mina (Skellig, Prequel) Click: One Novel, Ten Authors Heaven Eyes Clay

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“There's light and joy, but there's also darkness all around and we can be lost in it.” 20 likes
“Everybody's got the seam of goodness in them, Kit," said Grandpa. "Just a matter of whether it can be found and brought out into the light.” 12 likes
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