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Brave Face

Cover design by Sarah Creech, illustration by Casey Burns.

Available Now

Critically acclaimed author of We Are the Ants—described as having “hints of Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five (School Library Journal)—opens up about what led to an attempted suicide in his teens, and his path back from the experience.

“I wasn’t depressed because I was gay. I was depressed and gay.”

Shaun David Hutchinson was nineteen. Confused. Struggling to find the vocabulary to understand and accept who he was and how he fit into a community in which he couldn’t see himself. The voice of depression told him that he would never be loved or wanted, while powerful and hurtful messages from society told him that being gay meant love and happiness weren’t for him.

A million moments large and small over the years all came together to convince Shaun that he couldn’t keep going, that he had no future. And so he followed through on trying to make that a reality.

Thankfully Shaun survived, and over time, came to embrace how grateful he is and how to find self-acceptance. In this courageous and deeply honest memoir, Shaun takes readers through the journey of what brought him to the edge, and what has helped him truly believe that it does get better.

A Reading guide is

Praise for Brave Face

A Junior Library Guild Selection

“As much a book about coming out as it is a book about simply coming to be, Brave Face is the bravest memoir I’ve read in years. Illuminating, brutally honest, poignant, and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, this isn’t a book just for queer kids; it’s a book for any teen (or adult) who feels left out, rejected, confused, and scared about their place in the world.”
Kathleen Glasgow, New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Pieces

“Shaun David Hutchinson has been hammering out one brilliant book after another, and Brave Face is his most honest and courageous one yet. This profound memoir is a triumph—a full-throated howl to the moon to remind us why we choose to survive and thrive.”
Brendan Kiely, New York Times bestselling author of Tradition

“Shaun David Hutchinson has long been one of our brightest lights and best storytellers. In Brave Face, he shares all the sh*t he had to survive to get there—and how we can too. Brutal and essential.”
Sam J. Miller, award-winning author of The Art of Starving

“Shaun David Hutchinson’s account of his teenage years is as honest and compelling as his young adult fiction. People of all ages will find comfort and hope in this powerful, beautifully written memoir.”
Brandy Colbert, Stonewall Book Award–winning author of Little & Lion

“Shaun David Hutchinson’s Brave Face is an unforgettably profound memoir. A gut punch with moments covered in raw emotion. Its exploration of depression, family relationships, acceptance, sexuality, old wounds, and pain remind all of us that it’s okay to not be okay. That we are not alone, even in our darkest hours.”
Julian Winters, author of Running with Lions

“It takes talent to render personal truth with clear-eyed honesty, and deep empathy for the wounded, bewildered selves we’ve been. It takes greater bravery to share that truth. Hutchinson has talent and bravery in droves and BRAVE FACE is a triumph. This book is a balm and I’m grateful it exists.” 
Alex London, bestselling author of Proxy and Black Wings Beating

★ “Though he describes himself at times in deep depression and engaging in self harm, the memoir ends on a positive note, sharing the ways in which he finds acceptance both within himself and within the queer community, and sending an important message to other queer teens: your life is a gift, and support is out there.”
Publishers Weekly starred review

★ “Brave Face serves not just as a personal story but as a guide to help queer and questioning readers survive—better yet, to thrive—against all odds, in defiance of a world that so often appears to want them to fade away.”
Booklist starred review

“Hutchinson’s gift for language makes this uncomfortable story beautiful and forceful. Courageous and commanding, Brave Face is a bold, banner announcement that there is a future for everyone. ”
Shelf Awareness

Content Advisory

Brave Face contains the following:

  • Suicide
  • Suicidal Thoughts
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Bullying
  • Depressive behavior
  • Violence
  • Self Harm
  • Queerphobia

Where to Buy

Indie Bound.
Barnes and Noble.
Apple Books.
Simon and Schuster.