Into the Mouth of the Wolf

Erin Gough

Into the Mouth of the Wolf
Hardie Grant Children's Publishing
1 May 2024

Into the Mouth of the Wolf

Erin Gough

Dear Iris,

If all goes well I will be in touch by this evening. If you hear nothing, contact Glassy Bay International Travellers’ Hostel and ask after me. Use our real names.

Your Mama xxx

Iris lives on the run with her mother, Rohan. They’re travelling to escape the earthquakes, though of course that’s impossible. And they’re being followed. One day, Rohan insists Iris repeat the phrase in bocca al lupo: into the mouth of the wolf. The next day, Rohan's vanished, leaving no clues about where she’s gone besides a contact in an unknown town. Entirely alone and fearing the worst, Iris reaches out to a stranger for help.

When Lena gets Iris's message, she's busy panic-studying for year 12 and helping run her family’s hostel. She’s intrigued by Iris, and can’t deny there’s a spark between them – but she’s also worried. A dead body has just washed up at the beach in Glassy Bay. And Lena’s old best friend – who's just returned after an unexplained absence – seems to know something about it.

Missing people. Mysterious deaths. A growing attraction between two girls caught up in the search for the truth. Somehow, they’re all connected. But in order to find out how – and in order to even meet each other – Iris and Lena will have to go into the mouth of the wolf …

​​​​​​​With shades of We Were Liars and Station Eleven, this extraordinary new YA novel explores love and grief in an uncertain climate from one of Australia's most talented writers.


Amelia Westlake was a stand-out title when it was published in 2018, winning The Readings Young Adult Prize. It’s been a long wait for Erin Gough’s next novel, but the delay has been worth it. Into the Mouth of the Wolf is radically different and pitched slightly younger, but it is no less impressive.

Iris and her mum are permanently on the run in an alternate future where earthquakes destroy towns regularly and many people have been displaced. Someone is hunting them, but Iris’s mother won’t tell her who or why. When her mother suddenly disappears, Iris has little to go on bar the Spanish phrase ‘in bocca al lupo’ (into the mouth of the wolf), which her mother made her memorise, plus the name of a hotel in a town called Glassy Bay.

In search of answers, Iris connects online with Lena, whose family runs the Glassy Bay International Travellers’ Hostel, and the two develop a growing attraction. Meanwhile, in Glassy Bay, some very suspicious things are happening, not least the washing up of a woman’s body on the shore. There are numerous plots converging within this murder mystery, not least that Glassy Bay can only be reached from Iris’s world by a secret underwater portal.

Peopled with a large cast of unique, wholly realistic characters, Gough’s third novel has elements of dystopia, eco-thriller and romance, all bound together in a fast-paced, exciting mystery. I highly recommend this fascinating Australian novel for readers aged 11+.

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