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Golden Boy

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4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  3,610 ratings  ·  807 reviews
2014 LAMBDA LITERARY AWARD FINALIST
WINNER OF THE 2014 ALEX AWARD
BOOKLIST TOP 10 FIRST NOVEL OF 2013
SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL BEST BOOK OF 2013

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&
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ebook, 352 pages
Published May 21st 2013 by Atria Books (first published January 1st 2013)
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Deborah I'd recommend bombarding the publisher. I hate hardback too, my handbag weighs enough as it is, PBs usually follow a year after the HB comes out. Too…moreI'd recommend bombarding the publisher. I hate hardback too, my handbag weighs enough as it is, PBs usually follow a year after the HB comes out. Too long I think. (less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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karen

max is an intersex teenager who identifies as male. when he becomes the victim of a sexual assault, the consequences are both physically and emotionally devastating and wayyy too much for a sixteen-year-old to deal with, especially one who has until then led such a charmed life.

despite having to carry this secret his whole life, max was remarkably well-adjusted before the attack. he is an accomplished athlete and student, his home life is fairly stable, despite two overachieving parents and wha
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Nina
This book broke me.

I think it might be the best thing I've read in the last couple years, and I'm not good at choosing favourites. Still, a book that makes me sob my heart out - silently, in the middle of the night - is not something I encounter everyday. An emotional impact this powerful is something to commend, and it's not the only exceptional thing about this novel.

I tricked myself a little bit when I started this book. Both covers are colourful and simply nice-looking, so even though I knew
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Nancy
I feel like a big old meany for not liking this book as much as my friends did.

It is wordy and repetitive, the multiple viewpoints drove me nuts, and the characters lacked substance and authenticity. Though I really admire Max’s parents’ decision not to make their child undergo surgery to correct his intersex condition, I could strangle them for being so secretive about it and allowing Max to grow up and navigate the difficult world of adolescence without any discussion or guidance about sex, re
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Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
This is one of those times where I'm incredibly glad that I'm a book blogger. You see, were I not blogging, I would not have the reader friends I do, and I would miss out on books like Golden Boy. I never would have picked this up in the store, because the cover is weird and doesn't really convey the subject matter. Thankfully, a couple days after I got an email with Golden Boy as one of the audiobooks available for review, my dear friend Jenni of Alluring Reads told me that she felt certain I w ...more
Chinelo
I received a copy of Golden Boy from the Goodreads Giveaway.

Wow. Just wow. This book hits you hard from the beginning, and doesn't let go until you've read the last word on the last page. I wouldn't recommend letting younger people or those easily offended/sensitive to touchy subject matters read this book, but that's just my opinion. I read the general summary of the plot on the Internet, but OH MY GOSH that did not prepare for the roller-coaster that is this book. But I say that with absolutel
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Suzanne
Why haven't I heard of this book before now? Why isn't the entire reading community talking about this?

Abigail Tarttelin has written an amazing story of Max, who is intersex - it is a topic that I have not really thought of much before now, not a lot of us would have I suspect. I feel like I am lost for words right now, I don't want to retell the story, this is one that must be read and understood by all that are lucky to read it.

Max's story comes to us from the people that are most important t
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Debbie "DJ" Wilson
WARNING, WARNING, Do not start this book if you have anything you need to do during the day, or need to sleep at night. This book literally rocked my world. It is brilliant.

This is a story of an intersex child named Max. Nothing has been done to change Max since Max was a baby, so Max grows up identifying as a male, but is really both male and female. (That may seem some awkward wording, but it just shows how intrenched we are at labeling anyone a he or a she right from the beginning.) So, this
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Debbie
Omg this is the best book I’ve read in ages! A real page-turner! Can’t believe the author is just 25! She is such a rising star.
I am recommending it to everyone. Like “We Need to Talk About Kevin” (by Lionel Shriver), there is no way I will ever forget this story.
The intersex (previously called hermaphrodite) hero is incredibly well drawn and sympathetic. The story is bizarre, thoughtful, intense, well-written, and fast-moving. I couldn’t put it down. There is a disturbing scene in the beginnin
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John Wood
Max Walker seems to have a wonderful life. He is popular, athletic and does well academically. What few people know, is that he is a hermaphrodite or using the modern term intersex. This book does an excellent job of explaining the problems and feelings that he must overcome. This isn't something that you can easily share with people and makes it nearly impossible to be intimate with anyone. Instead of chapters the book is divided by sections headed by the name of the character narrating that pa ...more
Lou
Imagine...
Imagine.. There is not only Adam and Eve but a person caught in between.
Yes like that John Lennon song goes
Imagine...but with a new sentence,
finding out your life is different and that you're not only one....
That your not just male but also female, the emotion and feelings behind this, something one won't grasp or quite understand unless they have these two genders.
Gender may have never been more in your mind, in your face until you read this tale from a first person perspective, hol
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Allison
Interesting concept, unfortunate execution. The characters were not consistent, and the repetition became mind-numbing. Honestly, though, I blame the editor. Tarttelin shows that she has promise; unfortunately, what she needed to do was to rewrite this book a few more times to get it to the caliber it could be.

One example: how the reader perceives the character when they are narrating, how the character perceives themselves, and how other characters perceive that character are wildly inconsisten
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LeeAnne
Golden Boy

This book is so incredibly informative while simultaneously pulling the reader into a story that is so riveting it feels like a fast paced mystery thriller, even though it is a coming-of-age drama. The audiobook version is one of the most professionally executed I've ever listened to.

I was apprehensive about starting this book because I was worried the subject matter could be too graphic, clinical and even vulgar for my tastes. I was so wrong. It is handled with such maturity, such dig
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Heidi
Possibly my favorite read of the year so far. Max identifies as a boy, having been born intersex. Very few people outside his parents know his condition; when a person from his past surfaces and takes advantage of that knowledge, Max is put in a dangerous, frightening situation. From the outside, his life appears something to be in awe of--two parents with high-power careers who more than adequately provide for he and his younger brother, well-liked at school by both girls and boys, smart, athle ...more
Owen
Most people are physically only one sex, but do more people have aspects of dual-genders inside of them? I admit that I am kind of feminine (and I don’t even know if I like that word and “masculine” just because they seem sort of exclusive to the sexes, and there are a lot of stereotypes about how people should act if they are one of those two). One time my brother told my mom “Owen definitely has a feminine side” and my mom was kind of offended, I guess, but I didn’t really care because I think ...more
Elyse
Phenomenal!!!! I highly recommend this go to the TOP of people's "want-to-read" list.

Here's one small quote... Then I won't say anything more, other than this is an engaging page turning unforgettable important book.

"If we don't listen to him, if we take away his right to his own choices, his own body, then he ceases to be an autonomous being and becomes a thing."
Karly *The Vampire Ninja*


DBR ALERT!! DBR ALERT!!

Oh this shit is going to be a cacophony of insanity. How to express the mother fucking feels??

I LOVED THIS BOOK! OH HELL YES.... LOVED!

It made me so angry, so sad about the world we live in and the bullshit that is endured every day.

Watch this video, pretty please!!!

https://www.ted.com/talks/ash_beckham...

Okay, okay.... there are things that as a reader, and a lover of diversity, that I hated about this novel. Sometimes life is UN-FUCKING-FAIR, And as a quiet, ha, weak w
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Dana
I am totally in love with this book -- I devoured it in two days. I even cried a little.

It all comes down to the main character. Max is an intersex teen who has always identified as a boy, but certain catastrophic events lead him to question who and what he is. I just adored him. To his peers he's perfect: a talented soccer player, beautiful to look at, an excellent student. They have no idea the pain and confusion he's going through, especially because he can't talk to anyone about his secrets,
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Jo Lisa
I can't begin to say just how important I think this book is.. The subject of sexuality is so skirted in our society in general that I am thrilled that this author has broken that! She captures the fear, the loneliness, and the stigma of those dealing with sexual issues... Because, let's face it, we as a society have HORRIBLY handled these issues! We add to the pain by our unwillingness to accept people as they are. For every person who feels they don't fit in because of their sexuality, this bo ...more
Amy
Wow. As soon as I finished this, all I wanted to do was talk about it. It’s challenging and confronting and thought-provoking and just so, so important. It made me incredibly anxious in parts, and it forced me to consider my own beliefs and prejudices. It made me angry with the world, but it also made me love it. It made me hopeful.

** disclosure: I work for the publisher & had early access to this title **
Jessica
If ever there was a book where a trigger warning might be appropriate, this is it.

This book is about Max, a teenager who was born intersex but identifies as male. He has both male and female external genitalia, but his parents have never really explained to him what’s going on internally (for the record: he’s chromosomally both XX and XY, he has a uterus, one ovary, and had a hybrid ovotestis removed shortly after birth). Within the first twenty pages of this book, Max is sexually assaulted by
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Jenni Arndt
GOLDEN BOY is by far the most thought-provoking, eye-opening novel I have read in a long time. I was hit straight off the bat with an unflinching realism and thrown into a family who was dealing with issues that I knew barely anything of. Back in 1999 I watched the movie Boy’s Don’t Cry and it was the first I had ever heard of intersex (back then it was hermaphrodites) individuals. This book took me back into a mind frame where I was curious, emotional and almost in awe at the same time. Not onl ...more
Bett
I Loved this book.

There doesn’t seem to be much point in my giving a synopsis of this novel as nearly everybody else reviewing it has done an excellent job of that already.
However what I do want to say is that it’s been one of my most enjoyable reads of the year and I have, via Facebook, Twitter and word of mouth, been trying to recommend it to absolutely everyone I can think of as “a must read, completely compelling, page turner”.

Although I raced through it in record time of around 48 hours (s
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Dianne
I. COULD. NOT. PUT. THIS. BOOK. DOWN!!!! Mesmerizing story. I had my heart in my throat most of the time, worrying about what was going to happen to Max. The writing was somewhat juvenile in places and the book could have used a tougher editor, but pretty minor stuff. Don't miss this one.
Ashley
September 2014: This book is just as good the second time. Everybody still needs to read it. Yes, I mean you. And yes, I mean now. YOU. NOW. Go.

January 2014: HOLY SHIT, Y’ALL. Sending out the Bat Signal. This is a book you should read probably as soon as possible.

I can’t believe it took me almost nine months to hear about this book, and I only heard about it then because a particularly prolific book blogger I follow on Goodreads received a free review copy of the audiobook, and also gave it five
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Nan
As a mental health professional who has worked with transgendered clients, I was both curious and apprehensive about Golden Boy (which I receieved as an ARC from Bookbrowse.com.) Curious because this is not a topic that is often addressed in any form; apprehensive for the same reasons. Instead, I was more than pleasantly surprised by Tarttelin's portrayal of a family in turmoil and the choices parents make for their children.

It is not giving anything away to reveal that Max, the center of this
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rachel
Interesting subject matter, marred by inexplicably frequent changes of narrator and too much melodrama. The adult characters are never convincingly adult, which is the first indicator that either a young person wrote the novel -- which is true -- or it's much better suited to teenagers, which is also true.

Even though it's not to my taste, I'm glad that Abigail Tarttelin quit her waitress job to write a book and now she's 26 and published worldwide. That's awesome.
Joanna
Just got it from Goodreads giveaway and already hooked....
Incredible page turner, that makes you feel the pain and empathize with the its main character. This book will stay wiht you for a long time. it is amazing that author is only 25 years old.
Carla Palmeiro
The subject matter of this book is very serious and important and one that is very rare to find dealt with such incredible sensitivity and detail. This is the story of Max, an intersex adolescent, suffering from gender ambiguity and having difficulty exploring his sexual identity. This is to say the least a very different coming of age story.

A trigger warning for anyone thinking of reading this book, very early on there’s a sexual assault scene, very graphic, and intense, one of the most upsett
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Rachel
I'm trying to put my thoughts into words to sensibly write a review of Golden Boy and I just don't think I can because this book is so full of emotions and feels and if I'm being honest it broke me. My heart is broken for Max and for his family and I know its only fiction but I don't care, that boy needs a hug!
If there is one book that I wish I could have buddy read its this one; those emotions need talking about and those thoughts need processing out loud!

It almost goes without saying that I
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Dalimar
"Soy un observador pasivo del dolor que me rodea."

Llevo tiempo buscando que leer que fuera completamente diferente. He leído libros románticos,historias homoeroticas,lesbicas,de fantasmas,de superación personal, eróticas, paranormal, distopicas,de vampiros y hasta las etiquetas de los envases ... pero nunca había leído un personaje ni de cerca parecido a Max Walker.

Me imagino,que deben de haber libros e historias similares,pero para mi es algo novedoso. Desde el comienzo de la historia, te desga
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Gary Stus in YA Lit 2 33 Jul 15, 2014 10:38AM  
2014 Hub Reading ...: Golden Boy 5 43 Apr 28, 2014 10:26AM  
YA LGBT Books: August 2013 BotM - Golden Boy *spoilers* - trigger warnings for rape, gender dysphoria 3 106 Aug 15, 2013 08:07AM  
Goodreads Authors...: * Abigail Tarttelin and Golden Boy 29 232 May 02, 2013 03:36AM  
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4818033
I'm Abby. I love Buffy The Vampire Slayer and I just dog gone don't like the gender binary.

I'm the author of Golden Boy about lovely, beautiful, blonde, intersex teen, Max Walker. Excited to say that Golden Boy has won a 2014 American Library Association ALEX Award for Best Adult Books For Teen Readers and is also shortlisted for a LAMBDA award for debut LGBT fiction! In 2013, I was also thrilled
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More about Abigail Tarttelin...
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“Sometimes I still feel that there are two of me: one clean, flawless picture, the other imperfect and cracked; one boy, one girl; one voice that speaks aloud and one that whispers in my ear; one publicly known to have been troubled but be on the mend, the other who has privately lost something to do with innocence and gained something to do with knowledge and adulthood that can never be undone. I feel sometimes there are things that tear me in two directions, that there are two sets of thoughts that grow side by side. But then I realize that I am whole, whatever that means and does not mean; I am complete without the need for additions or alteration.” 25 likes
“It takes strength to be proud of yourself and to accept yourself when you know that you have something out of the ordinary about you.” 18 likes
More quotes…