Invisible Boys by Holden Shepard to be a 10 Part Series

Book Brief | Sep 2023

Invisible Boys by Holden Shepard is being adapted into a 10-part drama, commissioned by Stan.


Listen to a podcast with Holden ShepardContent Warning – discusses mental health issues and suicide


Invisible Boys Holden ShepardIn a small town, everyone thinks they know you: Charlie is a hardcore rocker, who’s not as tough as he looks. Hammer is a footy jock with big AFL dreams, and an even bigger ego. Zeke is a shy over-achiever, never macho enough for his family. But all three boys hide who they really are. When the truth is revealed, will it set them free or blow them apart?

The novel was awarded the 2019 WA Premier’s Prize for an Emerging Writer, the 2019 Kathleen Mitchell Award, and the 2018 City of Fremantle TAG Hungerford Award.

Read an extract



It’s difficult growing up in a small town, where everyone knows everyone else. It’s hard to keep personal secrets in that environment. It’s particularly difficult if a person doesn’t fit within the parameters of social acceptability. Everyone knows that Charlie is a wanna-be punk rocker, who is a bit of a rebel.

Zeke is the class genius; a nerd of the first order. Hammer is the football jock, whose whole ambition in life is to be drafted into the AFL. No-one would ever pick that all three of these boys have the same deep, dark secret: they’re gay.

Being gay is not acceptable in a small country town. When Charlie’s secret is exposed, this has a huge impact on his friends, his schoolmates and the other two lads. Shock waves ripple through the town; a precursor to an emotional and social tidal wave.

This is a confronting and challenging story which describes the pain of growing up gay in a small, conservative small-town community. It doesn’t matter whether the reader is straight or gay; it gives an important insight in what it’s like to grow up ‘different’. There are some explicit sex scenes, which might shock some readers and which pushes the book into the much older teenage category.

However, the characters are believable and one can’t help being moved by their tragic circumstances. Sheppard has given us a brave book which deserves attention.

Reviewed by Wendy Noble
Age Guide 16+



​Holden Sheppard is an award-winning West Australian author. His debut novel Invisible Boys won multiple accolades. 

Holden’s second novel The Brink won the Young Adult Book of the Year Award at the 2023 Indie Book Awards. The Brink was also shortlisted for the 2023 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and the 2023 Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIAs).

When he’s not writing, Holden can be found working out at the gym, watching or playing footy (AFL), or working as a labourer. Originally from Geraldton in the Midwest, he now lives in Perth’s far north with his husband. 

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