Different for Boys

By Patrick Ness

Illustrated by Tea Bendix

A poignant and moving LGBTQ+ story that explores sexuality and masculinity with a touch of humour, by twice Carnegie Medal-winner and bestselling author Patrick Ness.

Ant Stevenson has many questions, like when did he stop being a virgin? Are there degrees of virginity? And is it different for boys? Especially for boys who like boys? Ant tries to figure out the answers to his questions as he balances his relationships with three very different boys: Charlie, who is both virulently homophobic and yet close friends with Ant; Jack, whose camp behaviour makes him the target of Charlie's rage; and finally Freddie, who just wants Ant to try out for the rugby team. From the bestselling author of the Chaos Walking trilogy comes a timely and important story about inclusivity, prejudice and friendship.

Categories: Fiction

For readers aged: 14+

  • Publication details:
  • Format: Hardback
  • ISBN: 9781529509496
  • Published: 02 Mar 2023
  • Price: £12.99
  • Size: 208 x 162 mm
  • Pages: 104

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Customer reviews


'Different For Boys by Patrick Ness explores teen sexuality, friendship, and romance in this frank and humorous LGBTQ+ story about Ant who is finding all his relationships increasing complicated.' Books of 2023, BBC Entertainment & Arts

'Hormones crackle in this coming-out story… Broken rules and pushed boundaries abound in this punchy postmodern satire… Not content with merely writing a moving coming-out story, he has also constructed a postmodern satire of the limitations of the young adult novel…The hormones are crackling and the dynamics within the group twist and turn as they explore their sexuality. The denouement, while not unexpected, is written with freshness and feeling. Ness is perceptive, plots beautifully and writes like a dream.' Times

'Featuring black “redactions ” of bad language and Bendix’s elegant, minimalist illustrations, this slim, powerful 14+ story of friendship, attraction and internalised homophobia follows Ant Stevenson and his complex relationships with three boys at school. A quietly unforgettable book from an award winning author.' Guardian

'an exploration of sexuality and masculinity focusing on a gay teenager.' The Guardian

'featured in a list of the Best YA of 2023 for the Irish Times' Irish Times

'A punchy short story exploring masculinity and identity […] A sharp contribution to the current conversation surrounding LGBTQ+ stories for young people.' Irish Examiner

'Tender and pitch-perfect, from one of the best YA authors around.' The Bookseller, One to Watch, March 2023 Previews

'So many boys will be feeling like Ant and will find solace, comfort and support reading this which is really important.' Little Blog of Library Treasures

'Patrick Ness is a game-changer. […] He is neither preaching nor teaching, but he cares deeply about his subject, about his own experiences and those of many of his readers.' Berlie Doherty

'Authentic, inclusive and refreshingly candid, Patrick Ness’ Different for Boys packs mighty punch as it relates the pitch-perfect story of teenage boys grappling with questions around sex, sexuality, friendship and masculinity, with Tea Bendix’s cool, evocative illustrations enhancing its already-considerable clout.' LoveReading4Kids

'It’s a story about growing up gay, and it’s also about loneliness, friendship, the comfort and excitement of sex, the fear of vulnerability, and about the many and varied forms and meanings of love; and of innocence and experience.' Books for Keeps

'Featured in Pen & Inc Autumn/Winter 2022 listings, highlighting the best in diversity and inclusion in children's books.' Pen & Inc

'Featured in the Season Highlights for the Bookseller's Spring 2023 Children's Buyer's Guide' the Bookseller

'Accurately portrays teenagers in a very real way. Whilst still making it accessible for younger readers.' NetGalley reviewer

'It's amusing, a little bit cheeky laughing at its own censorship. It's full of emotions, and I genuinely felt them coming through the page. The illustrations add an extra depth to the whole thing. Very well done.' NetGalley Reviewer

'A short, simple story that is actually anything but. I really enjoyed this. I'm sure it will be very relatable to a lot of people.' NetGalley Reviewer

'Accurately portrays teenagers in a very real way. Whilst still making it accessible for younger readers.' NetGalley Reviewer

'It's amusing, a little bit cheeky laughing at its own censorship. It's full of emotions, and I genuinely felt them coming through the page.' NetGalley Reviewer

'A book that can speak to teenage boys on their level.' NetGalley Reviewer

'Honest, open, raw and fundamentally brilliant.' NetGalley Reviewer

'As soon as I finished it, I wanted to go back to the beginning and read it again.' NetGalley Reviewer

'Any young person […] who is gay, or has gay friends, should read this. It’s an important story.' NetGalley Reviewer

'Incredibly moving.' NetGalley reviewer

'Tender, devastating and necessary: a book to be shared with teenagers and adults alike.' NetGalley Reviewer

'The writing and the illustrations work really well together, I absolutely loved this.' NetGalley Reviewer

'Another work of genius from Patrick Ness.' NetGalley Reviewer

'A humourous yet visceral look at gay teen experiences.' NetGalley Reviewer

'A memorable and impactful story.' NetGalley Reviewer

'A touching piece that highlights issues faced by young boys coming to terms with their sexuality in the face of toxic masculinity.' NetGalley Reviwer

'An honest, poignant book, full of emotion without being too sentimental. A novella that explores teen sexuality in a humorous, frank way.' NetGalley Reviewer

'A great read, short and sweet and real too.' NetGalley Reviewer

'Effective but brief look at adolescent male sexuality and friendship.' NetGalley Reviewer

'Patrick Ness’s ability to write characters who leap off the page within a few lines of meeting them, is what makes his books so good.' NetGalley Reviewer

'A short read with intense emotional impact.' NetGalley Reviewer

'This is a jewel of a book – beautiful, compact, and with a powerful message.' NetGalley Reviewer

'Three great characters and a thought provoking story.' NetGalley Reviewer

'This is a tender story, beautifully explored, and told with an authentic voice and a perceptive honesty.' Just Imagine

'This novella isn’t afraid to confront difficult topics and the lonely experience that can sit at the crossroads of masculinity and sexuality for teenage boys.' Reading Matters Guide 2023

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