The Boy from the Mish

The Boy from the Mish by Gary Lonesborough, Can be read in a few days depending on your speed, Young Adult Fiction

Note: This book is published as Ready When You Are in the US. Honestly, the original title links so much better to the plot, but I get why it may not make as much sense in the States until after you read it.

(While I’m reading my AAPI Heritage Month books, here’s another Aussie April review!)

You know what’s better than coming of age stories? Coming of identity stories. (I don’t know if that’s an actual book category, but it should be!) And guess what? The Boy from the Mish is both! Set in the hot summer months between year 11 and year 12, The Boy from the Mish is a beautiful queer Indigenous YA story about a teenager finally accepting and exploring his sexual and romantic identity.

It’s Christmas break. The summer days are long and hot. And everyone is on break from school. All Jackson wants to do is hang out with his friends and party. But, like every Christmas, his Aunty visits with his little cousins. But this time, she brings Tom, a boy the same age as Jackson that is under her care. Jackson could easily be described as less than thrilled at having to share his room with this stranger.

But, as the days pass, Jackson and Tom begin a beautiful friendship. A friendship that allows them both to explore who they truly are, encourage each other’s creative passions, and learn about first love. Along the way, however, they also navigate racism and the legacies of colonialism, uncertainty about who they can trust, and the fear of being found out.

The Boy from the Mish is a heart-grasping #DebutNovel. You’ll laugh. You might tear up a bit. You’ll probably cringe at the awkward teenagerness of it all. And you’ll rage at the mistreatment the boys face. But you’ll also, hopefully, fall in love with Jackson, Tom, and their story.

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