Book Review: The Boy from the Mish by Gary Lonesborough

the mish gary lonesborough

Michael James finds The Boy from The Mish by Gary Lonesborough a powerful and touching story of self-discovery. This compelling book about two young Aboriginal gay men finding themselves is Gary’s debut YA novel.

Scroll down for Michael James’ video interview with Gary Lonesborough.

Life on ‘The Mish’ 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 ‘Juvie’. 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 our national narrative for queer and indigenous youth. 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 gay men finding themselves and ultimately each other.

The Boy from the Mish a story of self-discovery

Moment by moment the reader is carried along Jackson’s journey of self-discovery, something that makes this story even more touching and powerful. ‘Boy from The Mish’ is not a coming-out story nor is it a story that explores the fears and trepidation of a young person scared of coming out. This is a story of self-discovery, awareness and young love as Jackson begins to explore and understand who he is and where he belongs in the world.

Love, culture and family are the cornerstones of this story. They complement the beauty of Loneborough’s storytelling. Each character unknowingly plays their part in guiding Jackson towards his destination. Although lined with moments of darkness and Jackson’s night in a cell is harrowing, the story is ultimately one of hope. Life on ‘The Mish’ might be rough, but the people make it home.

Grab your copy from Gary Lonesborough’s website.

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