The Boy From the Mish


The Boy From the Mish is a compelling, honest and moving coming of age novel, set on a mission estate in Australian.  For the indigenous Australians who live there, life is tough and a struggle.  For the young people, there is little prospect of a fruitful future; petty crime and gang violence is commonplace.

Jackson faces another summer of boredom, hanging with his mates and family duties.  When his Auntie arrives to stay for the summer, she brings with her Tomas, who has a mysterious and troubled past.  He has just been released from juvenile detention.

A tentative friendship begins and Jackson begins to question everything about his life that has gone before.  The relationship with his family, friends and community changes.  Most significant of all he must face his darkest secret, one he had thought he had stored away forever.

This is a tough, but moving and compelling novel.  It is suitable only for older YA readers, because of its content.

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The Boy From the Mish

Gary Lonesborough

(Allen & Unwin)

Life on ‘The Mish’ in outback Australia is relatively simple for Jackson.  Juggling a social life, his girlfriend, and the decision on whether to finish year twelve seem his greatest struggles.  Until he meets Tomas. Then, he is faced with a future he never previously imagined.
As the annual influx of white tourists begins to infiltrate their sleepy beach town, Aunty Pam arrives. She has her son Henry and a mysterious stranger in tow. Tomas is fresh from juvenile detention. Although quiet and reserved, his presence unsettles Jackson. There’s something about him that uncovers an itch. It continues to grow under his skin as the summer days roll on by. In a matter of weeks, Tomas becomes a part of daily life. Tomas and Jackson bond. Their unexpected closeness challenges everything Jackson thought he knew.
Their story is simple but infinitely beautiful in its simplicity and vitally important.  In his debut novel, Gary Lonesborough gives voice to a community that resides with deafening silence in the young adult fiction market as he tells the story of two young Aboriginal men finding themselves, their sexuality and ultimately, each other.
Parental advisory note:  This YA novel is certainly pitched at the ‘adult’ end of the YA spectrum. It deals with issues of youth alienation and sexuality in a frank and honest way.
This is one of several novels by Australian authors available in the Bookwagon on-line store.  Please also check out Crow Country.


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