One of the best this year
What a Christmas gift! I read first-time author Abigail Tarttelin's "Golden Boy" in a little over a day and am still (nearly a week later) thinking about how the lives of the characters are going on. You will fall in love with Max, the golden child of two driven parents and the older sibling of Daniel, a charmer in his own right. It is just not right to call this another coming-of-age story; it is much more. It is a coming-into-one's-own-identity story. Read it as soon as humanly possible; it will haunt you in the nicest way imaginable. I am so grateful for the opportunity to have read it!
Rated of 5
by Rebecca K. (Illinois)
Heart-breaking and fascinating
"Golden Boy" is one of the best novels I've read in years. It provides a heart-wrenching view at the growing pains faced by an intersex teen. Max's story is full of family secrets, medical questions, and difficulties with dating. It's a page-turner, and I read it in several days, not wanting to put it down to go to bed at night. Heart-breaking at times, the novel provides honest glimpses into a family full of secrets and lies. I highly recommend it.
Rated of 5
by Bonnie B. (Port St. Lucie,, FL)
Max is a 'perfect' young man. His grades are great, the girls love him, he's captain of the football team, and he doesn't give his parents trouble. There is one great family secret, however. Max is intersex. This book provides a lot of information about intersexuality and it is a wonderful story of Max, his friends and his family. Told from varied viewpoints, we get to know Max and his life. This is a wonderful book, well-written and a page-turner at the same time.
Rated of 5
by Barbara K. (Brooklyn, NY)
Looks Can Be Deceiving
This well written, yet heartbreaking story is told from the different , first person, points of view of each parent, a younger brother, a doctor, a girlfriend, and teenage Max, born with & labelled as intersex.
Max's perfectly groomed, educated parents focus on the outward behaviors of their 2 children & don't deal with the deeper issues each child is struggling with, especially Max. Daniel is difficult but Max is the 'good boy'. He gets good grades, is popular, good looking, obedient,athletic. Yet, when something tragic happens to him, they are clueless about his distress & shame.
On a general level, Golden Boy is about being different, keeping secrets,denial & self acceptance. It highlights how little the scientific community knows about sexual variation. It also deals with rape & the mind of the rapist who is often a person close to the family & the 'least likely suspect'. Golden Boy might be an important book for a high school class to use as a springboard for discussions on feeling different, tolerance, living with secrets & shame, sexuality, etc. Perhaps it would prevent a suicide. Abigail Tarttelin gave life to Max & I find the book's details haunting me despite having finished it.
Rated of 5
by Linda W. (Summit, NJ)
Parenting Highs and lows
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It is definitely a page turner with unexpected twists in the plot. The development of the parents - Steve and Karen - unfolds all the way to the end of the story with an interesting reversal of roles. The framework of the book and the topic of adolescent crisis initiated by a unique health issue reminded my of Jodi Pichoult books.
I have worked with teenagers and the issues and thought processes revealed in Max, Sylvie and Daniel ring true. The ups and downs of their relationships provided a realistic backdrop to the primary plot of Max dealing with his sexuality and his parents denial of his need to assert control over his life.
I would highly recommend this book to parents and even young adults as it will spark discussion about what constitutes gender identity and how do parents deal with children who are 'different'.
Rated of 5
by Kathleen B. (Las Vegas, NV)
Emotionally Good Story
What a nice way to start the new year. I couldn't put this book down. I liked the way the author wrote every chapter with a different voice. Every chapter was the first person of a different character.
Max is sixteen years old and until this time has never had a problem with being intersex. His parents didn't discuss his intersex with him and the ramifications of the changes of becoming older. His intersex has always been a secret. He needed someone to discuss his feelings with, and his parents weren't available. There was foreshadowing in this book which let you know what was coming. I'm afraid to go into a lot pf the details of the plot because I don't want to reveal too much. This is a great YA book and has good info for book clubs.
Rated of 5
by John W. (Saint Louis, MO)
Future Contender for Top Read of 2013
"Golden Boy" is one of the best novels I've read in years. When I read the plot summary I immediately thought of Jeffrey Eugenides' "Middlesex," but I discovered a much more intimate story told through the voices and perspective of the main characters. Max is a character that you just can't help not to love, root and cry for him. I highly recommend this novel.
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