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The Boy from the Mish

Gary Lonesborough

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Allen & Unwin
01 February 2021
'I don't paint so much anymore,' I say, looking to my feet.

'Oh. Well, I got a boy who needs to do some art. You can help him out,' Aunty Pam says, like I have no say in the matter, like she didn't hear what I just said about not painting so much anymore. 'Jackson, this is Tomas. He's living with me for a little while.' It's a hot summer, and life's going all right for Jackson and his family on the Mish. It's almost Christmas, school's out, and he's hanging with his mates, teasing the visiting tourists, avoiding the racist boys in town. Just like every year, Jackson's Aunty and annoying little cousins visit from the city - but this time a mysterious boy with a troubled past comes with them... As their friendship evolves, Jackson must confront the changing shapes of his relationships with his friends, family and community. And he must face his darkest secret - a secret he thought he'd locked away for good.

Compelling, honest and beautifully written, The Boy from the Mish is about first love, identity, and the superpower of self-belief.

'The Boy from the Mish is an extraordinary debut novel, and I loved this tender, beautiful story with all my heart. Jackson and Tomas stole my heart, and I'll be thinking about them for a long time.' NINA KENWOOD 'A lightning bolt to the soul. The Boy from the Mish announces a bold, necessary new talent.' WILL KOSTAKIS 'How I wish I had this big-hearted book when I was a teenager. It would've changed my life. Let it change yours.' BENJAMIN LAW 'It is, honestly, a book I've been searching for over my whole career as an editor, as well as all my years as a (queer) reader. I'm not ashamed to say that it made me cry (repeatedly) and awed me with the power of its storytelling.' DAVID LEVITHAN, Scholastic US Editorial Director 'A deftly woven tale that is both a raw, unflinching look at the experience of growing up gay and Aboriginal, and a sweet, truly endearing love story you just can't turn away from. This is Own Voices storytelling at its best.' HOLDEN SHEPPARD 'Honest. Funny. Beautiful. This book is all the things.' GABBIE STROUD 'What an amazing work Gary Lonesborough has launched into the world. It's bound to launch him into the stratosphere. This story will lighten and enrich the life of many.' JARED THOMAS
By:   Gary Lonesborough
Imprint:   Allen & Unwin
Country of Publication:   Australia
Dimensions:   Height: 198mm,  Width: 128mm, 
Weight:   252g
ISBN:   9781760525880
ISBN 10:   176052588X
Pages:   288
Publication Date:   01 February 2021
Recommended Age:   From 14 to 18 years
Audience:   Young adult ,  Preschool (0-5)
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Gary Lonesborough is a Yuin man, who grew up on the Far South Coast of NSW as part of a large and proud Aboriginal family. Growing up a massive Kylie Minogue and North Queensland Cowboys fan, Gary was always writing as a child, and continued his creative journey when he moved to Sydney to study at film school. Gary has experience working in Aboriginal health, the disability sector (including experience working in the Youth Justice System), and the film industry. He was Bega Valley Shire Council Young Citizen of the Year, won the Patrick White Young Indigenous Writers' Award, and has received a Copyright Agency First Nations Fellowship. The Boy from the Mish is Gary's debut YA novel.

Reviews for The Boy from the Mish

'I loved it! Oh my god, I loved it so much. What a tender, romantic, beautiful, hopeful, wonderful novel! Never before have I read a book where two First Nations teenage boys are given the chance to fall in love, cry, think of each other as beautiful and explore their feelings and their bodies in such an authentic and moving way. The Boy from the Mish is an extraordinary debut novel. Jackson and Tomas stole my heart, and I'll be thinking about them for a long time.' NINA KENWOOD 'A lightning bolt to the soul. The Boy from the Mish announces a bold, necessary new talent.' WILL KOSTAKIS 'How I wish I had this big-hearted book when I was a teenager. It would've changed my life. Let it change yours.' BENJAMIN LAW 'It is, honestly, a book I've been searching for over my whole career as an editor, as well as all my years as a (queer) reader. I'm not ashamed to say that it made me cry (repeatedly) and awed me with the power of its storytelling and the way it articulated so well what it's like to be struck inarticulate by some facets of your identity, while other facets are pronouncing themselves all too clearly.' DAVID LEVITHAN, Scholastic US Editorial Director 'The Boy from the Mish is a powerful and searingly honest coming-of-age novel positively brimming with heart. Gary Lonesborough has deftly woven a tale that is both a raw, unflinching look at the experience of growing up gay and Aboriginal, and a sweet, truly endearing love story you just can't turn away from. This is Own Voices storytelling at its best.' HOLDEN SHEPPARD 'Honest. Funny. Beautiful. This book is all the things.' GABBIE STROUD 'What an amazing work Gary Lonesborough has launched into the world. It's bound to launch him into the stratosphere. This story will lighten and enrich the life of many.' JARED THOMAS 'Gary Lonesborough handles the characters...with an honesty that brings them to life, telling the story with...sweetness and charm...unexpected and delightful...This heartwarming debut novel will appeal to fans of David Levithan and Becky Albertalli.' Tehani Croft, Books+Publishing


  • Short-listed for Griffith University Children's Book Award - Queensland Literary Awards 2021 (Australia)
  • Short-listed for Griffith University Young Adult Book Award - Queensland Literary Awards 2021 (Australia)
  • Short-listed for Readings Young Adult Book Prize 2021 (Australia)

See Also