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Publisher's Summary

The Walker family is good at keeping secrets from the world. They are even better at keeping them from each other.

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, a highly successful criminal lawyer, is determined to maintain the facade of effortless excellence she has constructed through the years. Now that the boys are getting older, now that she won't have as much control, she worries that the facade 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?

Written by 25-year-old rising star Abigail Tarttelin, Golden Boy is a novel you'll read in one sitting but will never forget; at once a riveting tale of a family in crisis, a fascinating exploration of identity and a coming-of-age story like no other.

©2013 Abigail Tarttelin (P)2013 Simon & Schuster

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
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Full-Cast Audio you won't want to miss

Golden Boy is an intense and emotional read that centers on Max Walker, an intersex teen. We follow Max’s story through the eyes of the important people in Max’s life: Max’s parents, brother, doctor, and girlfriend, and Max as well. This book provides food for thought about gender roles and identity, and this book really stretched my mind. Max’s story is inspiring, heartbreaking, and thought provoking. If you’re interested in crossover books, gender issues and just great storytelling I think you’ll really respond to Golden Boy.

The multi-POV format works very well in Golden Boy. It’s enlightening to get different reads on Max and see that how people react is not necessarily what you’d expect. The parents (Karen and Steve) provide the history and why they made certain medical and gender choices about Max from the beginning, and where there was conflict between them. Steve’s POV comes in late in the story, and before that we have to rely on only Karen’s side of the story. Max’s younger brother Daniel is quite a character – he says just what he means, and hero worship’s Max. Archie is Max’s doctor and is one of the first in Max’s circle of trust. And Sylvie is Max’s love interest.

This was my first book on intersexuality and it opened my eyes about my own gender assumptions. There are not a lot of fiction or YA books out there that tackle intersexuality and gender issues and Tarttelin expertly addresses these topics and makes me hunger for more.

This book had me so on edge- I was so worried about Max and angry and stressed about the situation. At one point at the end I was afraid I’d throw my iPhone across the room but thankfully it didn’t come to that. I had to put the book down though after a very traumatic incident in the narrative- it was just so vivid and upsetting. But my thoughts kept straying back to Golden Boy and I returned of course to finish this powerful story. Abigail Tarttelin seems like she’s well versed in the intersex topic and makes this book informative and quite gripping. The multi-pov’s work together so beautifully and give the reader such a well-rounded reading experience. Can’t wait to read what Tarttelin writes next.

Audio notes – Yay for full cast audiobooks! This audiobook is perfection- there’s a narrator for each characters’ POV, which fully brings Max’s story to life. The vocal performance of Max in particular is splendidly portrayed. It was just like listening to a play, so well acted and full of emotion. I did speed up the narration a little bit because I was eager to find out what happened and the audio sounds great at 1.25x.If you are inclined to listen to audiobooks, you won’t regret listening to this one.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Miller
  • Reisterstown, MD, United States
  • 07-06-13

Emotional! Enlightening!

Wow! This book had me feeling every emotion there is. I was curled in a ball during Max's encounter with Hunter. I was laughing and crying through other scenes. But I also learned so much about a topic people find taboo to talk about. A great listen!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Loved it.

This book is a great story as well as imparting a lot of education to the reader. I very touching story with great character development.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Gently written reality

There is some harsh reality but the characters are all very real and understandable. I miss them already!
Thank you

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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loved the cast

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

the book is read so amazingly, i couldn't stop listening to it and i can't stop hearing it in my head now that i've finished it. the reader who reads daniel, in particular, is smashing. a super cast for a simply fabulous book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Katie
  • Mentor, OH, United States
  • 07-03-13

Loved this book

Don't let the subject matter scare you off. This is a beautifully written and brutally honest book about relationships. I loved the different points of view and how the author realistically portrayed everyone. The author nicely illustrated the disconnect between parents and teens and the anguish it can bring. More importantly, she did it with characters that really stick with you. Definitely a book I was sorry to see end and haven't been able to get off my mind since I finished it.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Powerful

Powerful story about a young man at a crossroads. Family, gender, crisis all play a part in his previously even life. I highly recommend this story. Narration was good with a number of different voices.

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Amazing Difficult well written.

While difficult at times to listen to because of how moving and traumatic some of the events were in the book, the story is one that needs to be told and this one was so well done.

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Mostly Great...

...except for the disappointing times when the characters went from normal/casual conversation to suddenly explaining the complexities of intersexuality in great detail. It felt as though they were reading articles aloud, or were giving a lecture on the statistics and realities of the gender. While this information is definitely important and interesting, it broke up the continuity of the story, leaving it disjointed and a less enjoyable listen.

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Crying out for a good edit

Interesting story, well- narrated. It was about 40% longer than it should have been and lost power in the overly long soliloquies/self- dialogues. The violent scene was so drawn out as to be just grotesque. I didn’t think the perspectives of the brother or the doctor added much. For a much more compelling and memorable read on the same topic, I recommend Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenedes.