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Invisible Boys

4.54  ·  Rating details ·  240 ratings  ·  89 reviews
In a small town, everyone thinks they know you: Charlie is a hardcore rocker, who's not as tough as he looks. Hammer is a footy jock with big AFL dreams, and an even bigger ego. Zeke is a shy over-achiever, never macho enough for his family. But all three boys hide who they really are. When the truth is revealed, will it set them free or blow them apart?

Invisible Boys is a
Paperback, 1st, 344 pages
Published October 1st 2019 by Fremantle Press
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Average rating 4.54  · 
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Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was an incredible story which absolutely blew me away. It’s certainly not hard to understand why this book has been winning awards.

Aussie author Holden Sheppard has written an outstanding novel that touches on many issues, one of them is homosexuality. A powerful, raw and emotional story that will stay with me for a long time. Having seen this author promoting his book on social media I was curious as to what all the hype was about and was this book as good as everyone was saying it was.
Holden Sheppard
Oct 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I wrote this book which is how I know 100% that it is ALL KILLER NO FILLER. Buy ten for you and ten for your mates!
Brooke - One Woman's Brief Book Reviews

Invisible Boys by Holden Sheppard. (2019).

In a small town, everyone thinks they know you:
Charlie is a hardcore rocker who's not as tough as he looks. Hammer is a footy jock with big AFL dreams and an even bigger ego. Zeke is a shy over-achiever who is never macho enough for his family.
But all 3 boys hide who they really are and when the truth is revealed, will it set them free or blow them apart?

It's hard to write this review without
Oct 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Wonderful book, highly recommend . Thank you Kazza for bringing this to my attention. The story is told from three different POV- each MC is very different so seeing each the world through each other’s views worked well. Set in a very small Australian town, clearly everyone knows everything in a flash, people are closed minded, ignorant and thoughtless. Yet this felt very real, each MC struggles with their own family issues, personal insecurities, growing up and feeling out their way. I couldn’t ...more
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What an incredible book, I couldn’t put it down and now I’ve finished I want to sob my eyes out. A powerful novel about friendship and identity, and an important novel about the experience of gay teens in a small town full of small minded people. I hope lots of people read this and hear its message.
Laurie Steed
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Zeke, Charlie and Hammer are three high school boys growing up in a small country town. All hide who they really are by choice or by necessity.

Invisible Boys is one hell of a YA ride. It's also a deeply humanistic book, and unconditional in the best possible sense. In opening up his characters to the whole gamut of feelings from grief to joy to guilt and to pride, Holden encourages us as readers to feel what it's like to be them. In a space that's designed to produce conformity, that makes for
Kelly (Diva Booknerd)
In the small rural town of Geraldton in Western Australia, boys are raised on toxic masculinity with a stoic and emotional detachment. Whether you're the alluring and mysterious musician, the overachiever or attractive athlete, your worth is valued by your achievements and success. There is no room for tolerance within the draconian Catholic School community, boys are manipulated and forged by their faith, threatened by authority for daring to push societal boundaries.

Musician Charlie Roth has
Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Well, hasn't YA lit changed since my day? And for the far, far better. It's hard to add to the raves that keep getting heaped upon Invisible Boys so I'll have to settle with reiterating them. Yes, it's blisteringly good. Yes, it's fucking real. Yes, it repeatedly punches you in the guts. Yes, it's ALL THE FEELS AT ONCE. Oh, and most definitely yes, it's genuinely IMPORTANT. But most of all I adored it for the beautiful things it says about love, friendship, family, finding yourself and the ...more
Sep 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an era-defining, barrier-breaking, eye-opening, and very necessary book, coming at just the right time in our political climate. The characters are authentic, the dialogue real and snappy, the pace keeps you on your toes, the writing packs a punch with its rawness and honesty, and the ending is hopeful. I've never read a book like it before and Australia needs more like it. Recommended for everyone, straight or gay.
Cass Moriarty
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Invisible Boys (Fremantle Press 2019), the debut novel by Holden Sheppard, had already won three awards before it was even published. And from the opening pages, I understood why. This intensely personal work of fiction features four boys, or young men, who could not be more different from each other, and yet I cared so deeply about each of them, about their feelings, their behaviour and their fates. The characterisation in this novel is so well-crafted that I was immediately immersed in their ...more
Michael Trant
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An absolute gut punch of a book. Coming from a small town myself, and knowing Gero intimately, Invisible Boys hit me in a way I didn't expect. Holden's writing is crisp, raw and does not hold back, but it is not all doom and gloom. His local references, the banter between characters and dry observations on small town life had me chuckling in recognition.

This is a powerful piece of work, well deserved of the awards it has already won and those I've no doubt it will in the future.
Josh Radwell
Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"Invisible Boys" by Holden Sheppard. [Publishing October, 2019 from @fremantlepress]

Thank you again Fremantle Press for this advanced copy! I am so grateful. And what a wonderful, heartbreaking read it was.
Sheppard explores ideas of masculinity, sexuality, identity, belonging, feeling like an outcast, feeling that you'll lose the things you dreamt of, mental health, and suicide, with a genuine voice and a compelling cast of characters. This was a raw, powerful story; it was crude and
Michael Earp
I'm struggling to find the words to describe this book. It's raw, unflinching and difficult. Because that is life for these characters and many of the IRL queers that grow up in similar small towns. It presents a warts (and bruises, and broken noses, and homophobia and misogyny) and all view of the trauma inflicted upon some people by their community, their family, their friends... sometimes everyone around them including themselves.

I'd highly recommend this with self-care provisos.
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, lgbtqia
Charlie, Zeke, Hammer and Matt are four lads in Geraldton, Western Australia. We hear from them what being gay means in a small town populated by small minds. Sheppard's writing is raw, unflinching and visceral. He explores the embodiment of masculinity, the struggles of homosexuality and the heinous lack of support and trust. It's a confronting read as the lads' vulnerabilities are gut wrenching. I wanted to pull Charlie to safety so many times.

There are letterbombs in the novel, anonymous
Lisa Walker
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a very emotional read for me. It's a gritty and authentic story of teenage boys dealing with masculinity, homophobia and coming-of-age. I haven't read a book before that deals so honestly with these issues. I think this is an important book for young adults (in the older range), but also for adults, especially those who have teenagers, or are working with them. Not to mention that it is a page-turner!
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I like that this book is explicitly set in the present with social media and mobile phones. It could have easily been set in the '90s and the town's general reaction to gay students would fit in nicely, but having it in the present helps illustrate that homophobia and ignorance continues to this day even in countries like Australia. Not that it should surprise anyone with the government's attempt at introducing the aptly "Religious Discrimination Bill", which would allow homophobia under the ...more
Monique Mulligan
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What can I say about this book that hasn’t already been said? Four boys confront the truth of their sexuality head on in a Western Australian country town, leading each one to contemplate life-changing choices and the impact of inevitable shock waves. Invisible Boys has a raw and tumultuous energy that leaps off the page. I’ve had teenage sons, I know how their energy can fill a space. Here it was, condensed, compacted … and wow.

The writing is assured, with all four voices coming across
Sean Kennedy
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book destroyed me in so many ways, sending me down a wormhole of my own teenage memories and escapades. It is raw and honest, and a prime example of why ‘own voices’ novels are so important and necessary.
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Every once in a while i find "that" book. It's the book that has the harsh and truthful dialogue, the frustrating and real character actions and reactions and raw portrayal of headstrong beliefs clashing with societal realities. "That" book is the one that effects me so much that I want to throw it across the room. It's the book that makes me want to jump into the pages and fight off the bullies that are being inexcusably naive and cruel to our protagonists. There is nothing I didn't love about ...more
Sal Gallaher
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I need more than five stars for this book!!!

I cried when I finished this story. I cried for the characters in the story and for all the challenges they faced in their young lives. I wanted to just hug them all.

This story is about finding and accepting your true self. It's about three young men struggling with their sexuality in a country town where homosexuality is frowned upon.

The voices of each character is distinct and have you connected instantly from the first few chapters. The dialogue
Kali Napier
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow. The quintessential 'coming-of-age' novel. Sheppard weaves the stories and perspectives of several teen boys coming to terms with their identities and sexual orientation in the MidWest town of Geraldton. Each of them yearns to get away, but they are trapped by the restrictions of family expectation, small-town gossipy minds, strictures of religion, and lack of role models (and prospective partners, too, I guess). The townscape is evoked so viscerally, I was yearning to go home to Gero. This ...more
Kevin Rainford
Oct 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Holden has created 4 characters that became a part of my life whilst I was in this world. I will miss them. The truth in this novel is searing and so much of it resonated with my teenage self. Great debut.
Lily Malone
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Really good! Deserving of its awards and all the hype. I finished Invisible Boys in two days, reading late last night and tonight, and in the car while I waited for my boy to finish basketball training.
I was lucky enough to buy this book at one of the author's talks in Busselton, and have followed his blog and facebook posts over the last two or three years, so I felt like I had a reasonable sense of what Invisible Boys would be about.
I wasn't prepared for how much I'd like the main characters,
Kerran Olson
Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
This was one of my most anticipated reads of the year, because it has received so many accolades already (and of course I love to support local authors) so I had pretty high expectations- and Invisible Boys didn't disappoint. I could not put this book down, I picked it up this morning and just kept reading until I finished it. I absolutely loved so many things about this book. I love Charlie and Zeke and Hammer and how they're so different but at the same time not really that different at all. I ...more
Intense, insightful and important.

Tough to read, yeah, but worth it for those glorious triumphant last couple of pages.
Karleah Olson
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Now that I've finished crying enough to write this review, this was one of the best books I've read this year. This was one of my most anticipated reads, and it is worth all the praise and accolades awarded to it. This novel is raw, intensely personal and packed with emotion.
Sheppard has perfectly captured a stifling, prejudiced small-town atmosphere and the weight of loneliness and fear put upon people who are raised and taught to be ashamed of who they are and what they feel. This book is a
Benjamin Farr
Nov 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, lgbtqi
4 *

This feisty Australian novel charges head first into issues surrounding mental health, sex, relationships, acceptance and rejection.
Jul 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow, packs a massive punch!
An emotional rollercoaster of issues faced by the key characters exploring their nascent sexuality & first homosexual experiences.
This novel is wonderful, exuberant and terrible all at once as these young men full of promise, navigate their feelings & identity in Australian society today.
Mature & explicit content.
Alyssa Shapland
Aug 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When I turned the last page on this book, I think I finally breathed out the air I'd been holding in the whole time. This is gritty, raw and confronting. It's everything that challenging literature should be. Growing up in a country town in Western Australia, this really hit home for me. It echoed the experiences of people I knew and it's so important that these stories are told.
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm feeling extremely emotional as I'm writing this review, I've just finished Invisible Boys and what an incredible novel it was. From the beginning Charlie, Zeke and Hammer grabbed hold of my heart and wouldn't let go. I read 70% of this novel in one sitting; I was up until 1.30am and the only reason I put it down was because I literally couldn't keep my eyes open. I picked it straight up again 5 hours later and was mightily upset that I had to go to work without finishing it. It stayed in my ...more
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Holden Sheppard is an award-winning author raised in Geraldton, Western Australia and now based in Perth. His debut YA novel INVISIBLE BOYS was published by Fremantle Press in October 2019. INVISIBLE BOYS won the 2018 City of Fremantle T.A.G. Hungerford Award, the 2019 Kathleen Mitchell Award and the 2017 Ray Koppe Residency Award.

Holden’s novella POSTER BOY won the 2018 Novella Project
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