Invisible Boys

by Holden Sheppard

Paperback, 2019



Call number



Fremantle Press (2019), Edition: None, 344 pages


On the surface, nerd Zeke, punk Charlie and footy wannabe Hammer look like they have nothing in common. But scratch that surface and you'd find three boys in the throes of coming to terms with their homosexuality in a town where it is invisible. Invisible Boys is a raw, confronting YA novel that explores the complexities and trauma of rural gay identity with painful honesty, devastating consequences and, ultimately, hope.

User reviews

LibraryThing member jwhenderson
A moving account of small town life and the lives of four young men who are each dealing in their own way with the recognition of their homosexuality. The characterization of each of the young men and their families, the description of small town life, and the accurate portrayal of the difficulties
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of being a teenager are all so perfectly written that this is one of the best books about maturing that I have read. For this reader, evidence of the eloquence of the novel was sealed by my tears as I read the final chapter.
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LibraryThing member brakketh
Lived up to the hype, beautiful, tragic and feels ever so real.
LibraryThing member Figgles
This is not the sort of book that I normally would've picked up and read, but I'm so glad I did. A couple of weeks ago, whilst walking the family dog, I came across a film unit filming in a suburban house in the southern suburbs of Perth, I asked a crew member what they were working on and he said
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"Invisible Boys, for Stan", so I thought I'd take a look and borrowed the eBook from the library. Sheppard's writing is terrific, and he brought to life his teenage protagonists in a way that thoroughly engaged me (I'm pretty much the antithesis of all the characters). The book is told in alternating chapters each in the viewpoint of one of the "invisible boys", young men coming to terms (or not) with being outed as gay and the personal cost that this brings with family, friends and society who are not sympathetic (at best) and often outright homophobic. The setting of Geraldton (regional town in Western Australia) is beautifully evoked. It made me wonder how many of my contemporaries at high school must have been closeted (there was no option to come out back in the 1970s) and what they must've been going through. The ending is both shocking and right. There's a fair bit of graphic sex (which I initially found rather confronting) but it's necessary to the story. If you're a young gay man you may find yourself in this book, if you're not you will gain empathetic insight into a world you may know little about. This book has won a number of well deserved awards and I recommend it highly. The story is being adapted into a 10 episode drama coming to Stan in 2025.
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The Readings Prize (Shortlist — Young Adult — 2020)
The Indie Book Award (Longlist — 2020)
Victorian Premier's Literary Award (Shortlist — Young Adults — 2020)
Western Australian Premier's Book Awards (Winner — Emerging Writer — 2019)


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

7.5 inches


1925815560 / 9781925815566
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