100 books like Invisible Boys

By Holden Sheppard,

Here are 100 books that Invisible Boys fans have personally recommended if you like Invisible Boys. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of One Hundred Days

Amra Pajalić Author Of Sabiha's Dilemma

From my list on YA fiction that represent marginalised communities.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent my adolescence reading young adult novels that featured characters who were nothing like me, and yearned to read about characters who shared my struggle in mediating my community’s cultural expectations as a first-generation Australia. This is the inspiration for writing own voices stories as these are the books I wished I’d been able to read. I draw on my Bosnian-Muslim cultural heritage to write own voices stories for young people, who like me, are searching to mediate their identity and take pride in their diverse culture. Own voices books are an opportunity to learn and celebrate culture and diversity, and to show young people that they are not alone in the world.

Amra's book list on YA fiction that represent marginalised communities

Amra Pajalić Why did Amra love this book?

A fractured fairytale recreating the Rapunzel effect with 16 y.o. Karuna trapped in the tower, in this case a high-rise-commission flat, by her mother when she discovers her pregnancy.

This is beautifully written novel about the complicated relationships between mothers and daughters, and especially the fracture of being parented by migrant parents who hold to cultural expectations with their Australian-born offspring, a story that I could relate to on so many levels.

Reading this novel, I felt slightly claustrophobic and lost with Karuna’s mother being so well characterised; the things she was going were almost cruel, but you could feel the thick love just pouring from her, while Karuna’s struggle of independence and autonomy was so poignant and understandable.

This is a novel with so many layers and so much heart. 

By Alice Pung,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked One Hundred Days as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From one of Australia's most celebrated authors comes a mother-daughter drama exploring the faultlines between love and control.One hundred days. It's no time at all, she tells me. But she's not the one waiting.In a heady whirlwind of independence, lust and defiance, sixteen-year-old Karuna falls pregnant. Not on purpose, but not entirely by accident, either. Incensed, Karuna's mother, already over-protective, confines her to their fourteenth-storey housing-commission flat, to keep her safe from the outside world - and make sure she can't get into any more trouble.Stuck inside for endless hours, Karuna battles her mother and herself for a sense of…


Book cover of The Boy from the Mish

Tobias Madden Author Of Anything But Fine

From my list on growing up gay in Australia.

Why am I passionate about this?

As someone who grew up in Australia without any gay literary characters to relate to, I’m incredibly passionate about queer stories set in our beautiful country. We now have a wealth of brilliant books by LGBTQ+ authors, and I hope that by sharing my recommendations, our stories find even more of the readers they’re meant to find. I’ve focused on books featuring gay male protagonists, as that’s how I identify, and they’re the type of queer stories I relate to the most. Some of the books are fiction, others are memoir, some are written for teens and others are for adults, but all of them share an incredible level of authenticity.

Tobias' book list on growing up gay in Australia

Tobias Madden Why did Tobias love this book?

This is a heartwarming contemporary story about a gay Aboriginal teen exploring his sexuality and falling in love for the first time, set against the vivid backdrop of a fictional, rural Indigenous community. It’s evocative and heady and compelling. It’s one of those stories that makes you want to reach into the book and hug all the characters and tell them everything is going to be okay. Such an important story from a brilliant new voice in Australian YA.

By Gary Lonesborough,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Boy from the Mish as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED: 2022 CBCA Book of the Year, Older Readers

'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…


Book cover of Fourteen

Tobias Madden Author Of Anything But Fine

From my list on growing up gay in Australia.

Why am I passionate about this?

As someone who grew up in Australia without any gay literary characters to relate to, I’m incredibly passionate about queer stories set in our beautiful country. We now have a wealth of brilliant books by LGBTQ+ authors, and I hope that by sharing my recommendations, our stories find even more of the readers they’re meant to find. I’ve focused on books featuring gay male protagonists, as that’s how I identify, and they’re the type of queer stories I relate to the most. Some of the books are fiction, others are memoir, some are written for teens and others are for adults, but all of them share an incredible level of authenticity.

Tobias' book list on growing up gay in Australia

Tobias Madden Why did Tobias love this book?

This is a stunning and heart-wrenching memoir about growing up gay in an all-boys Catholic school. Written by an award-winning Aussie journalist, the story delves into the challenges of coming to terms with your sexuality as a fourteen-year-old boy, when you’re surrounded by rugby-obsessed schoolmates and rigid views of masculinity. It’s a heartbreaking book, but ultimately hopeful, and it’s one that every Australian (and non-Australian!) needs to read.

By Shannon Molloy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fourteen as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Optioned for a major film, Fourteen is this generation’s Holding the Man – a moving coming-of-age memoir about a young man’s search for identity and acceptance in the most unforgiving and hostile of places: high school.

This is a story about my fourteenth year of life as a gay kid at an all-boys rugby-mad Catholic school in regional Queensland. It was a year in which I started to discover who I was, and deeply hated what was revealed. It was a year in which I had my first crush and first devastating heartbreak. It was a year of torment, bullying…


Book cover of Henry Hamlet's Heart

Tobias Madden Author Of Anything But Fine

From my list on growing up gay in Australia.

Why am I passionate about this?

As someone who grew up in Australia without any gay literary characters to relate to, I’m incredibly passionate about queer stories set in our beautiful country. We now have a wealth of brilliant books by LGBTQ+ authors, and I hope that by sharing my recommendations, our stories find even more of the readers they’re meant to find. I’ve focused on books featuring gay male protagonists, as that’s how I identify, and they’re the type of queer stories I relate to the most. Some of the books are fiction, others are memoir, some are written for teens and others are for adults, but all of them share an incredible level of authenticity.

Tobias' book list on growing up gay in Australia

Tobias Madden Why did Tobias love this book?

This book is beautiful from start to finish. The setting is so vivid (that Brisbane humidity and the purple jacarandas, I mean, I am right there!) and the writing is lyrical and gorgeous. The main characters are relatable and adorable and you find yourself cheering for them from the very first page. The story is full of awkward teen experiences, fun banter, tons of swoony scenes, and some truly touching moments.

By Rhiannon Wilde,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Henry Hamlet's Heart as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This smart and charming queer YA rom-com about falling for your best friend will win the hearts of fans of Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli.

Henry Hamlet doesn’t know what he wants after school ends. It’s his last semester of high school, and all he’s sure of is his uncanny ability to make situations awkward. Luckily, he can always hide behind his enigmatic best friend, Len. They’ve been friends since forever, but Len is mysterious and Henry is clumsy, and Len is a heartthrob and Henry is a neurotic mess. Somehow it’s always worked.
 
That is, until Henry falls in…


Book cover of Holding the Man

Tobias Madden Author Of Anything But Fine

From my list on growing up gay in Australia.

Why am I passionate about this?

As someone who grew up in Australia without any gay literary characters to relate to, I’m incredibly passionate about queer stories set in our beautiful country. We now have a wealth of brilliant books by LGBTQ+ authors, and I hope that by sharing my recommendations, our stories find even more of the readers they’re meant to find. I’ve focused on books featuring gay male protagonists, as that’s how I identify, and they’re the type of queer stories I relate to the most. Some of the books are fiction, others are memoir, some are written for teens and others are for adults, but all of them share an incredible level of authenticity.

Tobias' book list on growing up gay in Australia

Tobias Madden Why did Tobias love this book?

This is a classic of Australian literature, and for very good reason. Set during the AIDS epidemic in Australia in the late 1970s through to the early 90s, this memoir plunges us into the author’s life. We begin during his high school days—when he first notices his attraction to boys and starts sneaking out of the house to find ways to explore his sexuality—and follow him all the way through to his inevitably tragic death. It is a truly heartbreaking story, but incredibly life-affirming. An absolute must-read.

By Timothy Conigrave,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Holding the Man as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the land of Down Under comes this true story about a male high school drama student who falls in love with the captain of the football team. Winner of the United Nations Human Rights Award for Nonfiction, HOLDING THE MAN has been adapted into a play opening in America in September 2007. The playwright who adapted the book for stage refers to this a a memoir of striking and unapologetic honesty.


Book cover of The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf

Amra Pajalić Author Of Sabiha's Dilemma

From my list on YA fiction that represent marginalised communities.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent my adolescence reading young adult novels that featured characters who were nothing like me, and yearned to read about characters who shared my struggle in mediating my community’s cultural expectations as a first-generation Australia. This is the inspiration for writing own voices stories as these are the books I wished I’d been able to read. I draw on my Bosnian-Muslim cultural heritage to write own voices stories for young people, who like me, are searching to mediate their identity and take pride in their diverse culture. Own voices books are an opportunity to learn and celebrate culture and diversity, and to show young people that they are not alone in the world.

Amra's book list on YA fiction that represent marginalised communities

Amra Pajalić Why did Amra love this book?

This is a great dystopian young adult novel with red herrings and revelations that kept me reading to the end.

Kwaymullina draws on her Aboriginal heritage to create a world in which people have lost touch with nature and digital technology is forbidden because it led to disconnection of society.

Citizens with special abilities are called Illegals and are assessed and locked up because government officials view them as a threat, with the treatment of Illegals symbolising the mistreatment of Indigenous people by the Australian government.

It reads like a prophecy about our possible future with themes of environmental destruction due to climate change even as it stands as a testament to the scars left by Colonisation. This is a perfect dystopian novel with all the tropes that readers love: the young female inspirational leader, a heartfelt romance, and found family.

By Ambelin Kwaymullina,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

In a post-apocalyptic world, Ashala Wolf must lead her Tribe in their fight for freedom and justice. But first she must survive an interrogation at the hands of the authorities who are determined to destroy her and everything she stands for.

The world has ended, and the society which emerged from the ruins of environmental catastrophe is obsessed with maintaining "the Balance": preserving harmony between humans and nature. But there is one problem. Anyone born with an ability is deemed an Illegal, a threat to the Balance. They are feared, controlled and detained. Ashala Wolf has run away to escape…


Book cover of The Cat I Never Named: A True Story of Love, War, and Survival

Amra Pajalić Author Of Sabiha's Dilemma

From my list on YA fiction that represent marginalised communities.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent my adolescence reading young adult novels that featured characters who were nothing like me, and yearned to read about characters who shared my struggle in mediating my community’s cultural expectations as a first-generation Australia. This is the inspiration for writing own voices stories as these are the books I wished I’d been able to read. I draw on my Bosnian-Muslim cultural heritage to write own voices stories for young people, who like me, are searching to mediate their identity and take pride in their diverse culture. Own voices books are an opportunity to learn and celebrate culture and diversity, and to show young people that they are not alone in the world.

Amra's book list on YA fiction that represent marginalised communities

Amra Pajalić Why did Amra love this book?

As I am of Bosnian heritage, I always love reading books about my culture.

The name Amra is very common in Bosnia and yet is very uncommon everywhere else, so it was a particular thrill for me to read a book by another Amra. This memoir is about Amra's experiences living under siege in Bihac during the Balkan War of 1992-1995 which gives an amazing insight into the hardship and heartbreak of war.

Maci, the cat that Amra and her family adopted who arrived at their town as a refugee, was such a beautiful soul and helped give Amra hope and fight for life, when it seemed that none was to be found.

The writing was beautiful and evocative. I keep seeing Maci in my mind's eye. I also have to say that the cover was absolutely stunning, and I loved the use of the image in the novel to…

By Amra Sabic-El-Rayess, Laura L. Sullivan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Cat I Never Named as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

It is 1992 and Bihac, Amra's hometown, is a multicultural city with Muslims, Croats, and Serbs. But when tensions escalate, the Serbs turn on their Bosnian neighbors. The Serbs control the army, and now they have peaceful Bihac surrounded. Soon Amra and her family are dealing with starvation and the threat of brutal violence; school, friendships, and the attentions from a new boy have to take a back seat to finding food and the tragic fallout from rising bigotry and ethnic hatred. Through it all, a stray cat, Maci, serves as a guardian spirit to the entire family.


Book cover of Living on Hope Street

Amra Pajalić Author Of Sabiha's Dilemma

From my list on YA fiction that represent marginalised communities.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent my adolescence reading young adult novels that featured characters who were nothing like me, and yearned to read about characters who shared my struggle in mediating my community’s cultural expectations as a first-generation Australia. This is the inspiration for writing own voices stories as these are the books I wished I’d been able to read. I draw on my Bosnian-Muslim cultural heritage to write own voices stories for young people, who like me, are searching to mediate their identity and take pride in their diverse culture. Own voices books are an opportunity to learn and celebrate culture and diversity, and to show young people that they are not alone in the world.

Amra's book list on YA fiction that represent marginalised communities

Amra Pajalić Why did Amra love this book?

A stunning novel that represents the true beating heart of Australia I grew up with cultures that represent all the different waves of migration in Australia.

Divaroren has created such distinct voices for each of her characters which is a feat as each perspective is written in first person, from seven-year-old Sam who is terrorised by his father, to 70-year-old Mr. Bailey who is a Vietnam vet and struggling with the changing face of Australia.

I fell in love with the characters and loved that there was so much reality and heart, but most importantly hope in this beautiful novel that celebrates multiculturalism and belonging. 

By Demet Divaroren,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Living on Hope Street as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

'Living on Hope Street is a big-hearted, compassionate work. Divaroren is a ferociously good storyteller and every character breathes life, every character convinces. This book is an absolute joy to read.' CHRISTOS TSIOLKAS" We all love someone. We all fear something. Sometimes they live right next door - or even closer. Kane will do everything he can to save his mother and his little brother Sam from the violence of his father, even if it means becoming a monster himself. Mrs Aslan will protect the boys no matter what - even though her own family is in pieces. Ada wants…


Book cover of The Music of What Happens

Heather DiAngelis Author Of Speech and Debacles

From my list on queer YA exploring mental health.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve struggled with mental health for most of my life, as have family members and friends I love. It’s extremely important to me that we normalize discussions of mental health so that we can find the best solutions. Anxiety and depression have been major themes in all of the young adult novels I’ve written; it’s my little way of furthering these conversations with the people who need them. I hope you’ll find these suggestions relatable, enjoyable, and question-inducing!

Heather's book list on queer YA exploring mental health

Heather DiAngelis Why did Heather love this book?

Author Bill Konigsberg has always pulled me in with his entertaining, well-written, and deep stories. In The Music of What Happens, Max and Jordan bond over their effort to save a 1980s-era food truck to help Jordan’s family stay afloat. Jordan’s secret, though, is that his mom’s mental health is spiraling out of control, and he carries the burden of being the only person able to hold everything together—financially and emotionally. I fell hard for Max and Jordan’s chemistry as well as for Jordan’s struggle of helping his mother through her mental health struggles. 

By Bill Konigsberg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Music of What Happens as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

From the award-winning author of Openly Straight, a story about two teens falling in love over a summer that throws everything possible to keep them apart.

* "Konigsberg demonstrates once again why he is one of the major voices in LGBTQ literature." -- Booklist, starred reviewMax: Chill. Sports. Video games. Gay and not a big deal, not to him, not to his mom, not to his buddies. And a secret: An encounter with an older kid that makes it hard to breathe, one that he doesn't want to think about, ever.Jordan: The opposite of chill. Poetry. His "wives" and the…


Book cover of We Contain Multitudes

Michael Cart Author Of Young Adult Literature: From Romance to Realism

From my list on beautifully capturing gay teens’ lives and loves.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a full-time writer since 1994 and have so far published twenty-seven books, three of them with gay themes: My Father’s Scar, a gay coming-of-age novel and two about LGBTQ+ issues: Top 250 LGTBQ Books for Teens and The Heart Has Its Reasons, a history of queer literature. I’ve been interested in this literature since I was a gay teen myself, because there were no YA books with queer characters then. I missed seeing my face in the pages of a good book and so I promised myself that when I became an adult. I would make sure there was an ample assortment for today’s queer kids. And, guess what? I’ve kept my promise!

Michael's book list on beautifully capturing gay teens’ lives and loves

Michael Cart Why did Michael love this book?

Here’s another book that I love because it’s a story about love, the love of two boys who are unlikely companions: one is a former football player, taciturn and withdrawn; the other is openly gay, a short, slender, fine-boned boy who idolizes the poet Walt Whitman, whose words become a leitmotif of this remarkable novel. Told in the form of. letters that the two boys exchange, it follows their emerging friendship as it gradually turns into a love that’s as poetic as Whitman’s well-chosen words. The relationship of the boys – who are characters to die for – is riveting and their story, unforgettable. Another terrific addition to gay literature for teens.   

By Sarah Henstra,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked We Contain Multitudes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

Jonathan Hopkirk and Adam 'Kurl' Kurlansky are partnered in English class, writing letters to one another in a weekly pen pal assignment. With each letter, the two begin to develop a friendship that grows into love. But with homophobia, bullying, and familial abuse, Jonathan and Kurl must struggle to overcome their conflicts and hold onto their relationship, and each other.We Contain Multitudes is the sort of novel that has readers falling in love with their characters, becoming so invested in their stories and conflicts that it's impossible to put the book down. The literary languages and references throughout (particularly to…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in gay teenagers, secrets, and homophobia?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about gay teenagers, secrets, and homophobia.

Gay Teenagers Explore 37 books about gay teenagers
Secrets Explore 258 books about secrets
Homophobia Explore 34 books about homophobia