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Invisible Boys by Holden Sheppard - Book Reveiw

Updated: Jun 4, 2022

Set in Western Australia, Invisible Boys is about an unlikely alliance between three teenage boys who seem to have nothing in common, apart from the growing realisation that they prefer boys to girls. And in a town that will accept nothing less than exclusive heterosexuality, this can be a dangerous preference.

The story features footy hero, Hammer, nerdy over-achiever, Zeke, and aspiring rock star, Charlie. They all have a lot to offer with their unique talents and dreams for the future but fearing all this will be negated if they reveal their true selves, they hide from the world and become invisible boys.

Every day, in their homes, their Catholic school and the small town they live in, the boys must tread a difficult path. Ignorant barbs disguised as humour, ostracism and outright physical violence are all the dangers they must navigate as they grow into men. And whether they choose to seek the safety of the shadows or publicly make a stand, there is always a price to be paid.

In telling the story of these vulnerable young men, Holden Sheppard delivers humour, anguish, and some unexpected and confronting insights into human nature. I listened to the Audible recording, often laughing out loud at the brilliant and funny characterisations, wonderfully narrated by Nic English.

I have learned a lot from reading Invisible Boys, about how difficult it is for anyone in our society who doesn’t fit the heterosexual mould. But most of all I learned our community will be poorer until we learn to accept people for who they are and not who we expect them to be.

The invisible boys are going to stay with me for a long time after hearing their story, and I look forward to reading more from this incisive and captivating author.

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