Golden Boy


How did I get it?:
I bought it!


Max Walker is a golden boy. Attractive, intelligent, and athletic, he’s the perfect son, the perfect friend, and the perfect crush for the girls in his school. He’s even really nice to his little brother. Karen, Max’s mother, is determined to maintain the façade of effortless excellence she has constructed through the years, but now that the boys are getting older, she worries that the façade might soon begin to crumble. Adding to the tension, her husband Steve has chosen this moment to stand for election to Parliament. The spotlight of the media is about to encircle their lives.

The Walkers are hiding something, you see. Max is special. Max is different. Max is intersex. When an enigmatic childhood friend named Hunter steps out of his past and abuses his trust in the worst possible way, Max is forced to consider the nature of his well-kept secret. Why won’t his parents talk about it? What else are they hiding from Max about his condition and from each other? The deeper Max goes, the more questions emerge about where it all leaves him and what his future holds, especially now that he’s starting to fall head over heels for someone for the first time in his life. Will his friends accept him if he is no longer the Golden Boy? Will anyone ever want him—desire him—once they know? And the biggest one of all, the question he has to look inside himself to answer: Who is Max Walker, really?


I don’t even know where to begin with my thoughts about Golden Boy. It’s a simply beautiful book. It’s incredibly original, brutal and heart-breaking. I think it’s going to join Me Before You by Jojo Moyes as my book to recommend at every single opportunity possible. Seriously, if you haven’t given this book a try, you NEED to. There are some quite graphic scenes at the beginning of the book which did shock me, but if you can get past that then what follows is a stunning, poignant story.

Golden Boy looks at a character that we rarely see in fiction. Max is an intersex teenager. We learn about Max’s life and struggles with being intersex by multiple narrators. We hear from Max, Max’s doctor, Max’s girlfriend Sylvie, Max’s parents and Max’s younger brother. I think this was so effective as the reader really got an idea of what life might be like for an adolescent with both male and female sex organs. This book shocked me, I’d never really thought about what most of us take for granted. It must be so confusing to not feel like you have a particular identity. Abigail Tarttelin has portrayed this confusion beautifully.

Golden Boy really takes the reader on a journey.  It is an incredibly emotional read. It questions gender stereotypes. The reader can learn about Max’s differences through his own eyes and those around him. Max’s differences don’t just affect him, they affect his family and friends too and really just because Max doesn’t fit into the expected norm.

There are some great characters besides Max in this book. I really liked his brother and the doctor Sylvie. All of the characters really enrich Max’s story.

I highly recommend reading Golden Boy. It is easily one of my favourite books this year!

Would I recommend it?:
Without a doubt!

4 thoughts on “Golden Boy

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