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Golden Boy

4.06  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,959 Ratings  ·  1,088 Reviews
“A dramatic, thoroughgoing investigation of the complexities of sexuality and gender.…A warmly human coming-of-age story…emotionally engaging, and genuinely unforgettable” (Booklist, starred review).

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
Hardcover, 347 pages
Published May 21st 2013 by Atria Books (first published May 9th 2013)
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Abigail Tarttelin This is a strange question for this book, but hey! I like strange! Albinism is totally a thing: it's a congenital disorder (meaning an anomaly,…moreThis is a strange question for this book, but hey! I like strange! Albinism is totally a thing: it's a congenital disorder (meaning an anomaly, whether genetic or environmental, that occurs before birth), and is caused by a lack of pigment due to the absence of the enzyme involved in production of melanin (that thing that makes us all tan). Any condition which is rare is often treated with suspicion, mocking, and even contempt, and historically, people with albinism have been treated the same way. In Tanzania and Burundi (countries in Africa) there have been documented killings of albino people, for use of their body parts in witchcraft. In Zimbabwe, rapes have been documented as there is a belief that sex with an albinistic woman cures Aids. So to sum up: yes, and, in some cases, yes.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Raeleen Lemay
Sep 10, 2015 Raeleen Lemay rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Raeleen by: Lindsey Rey
Shelves: favorites, own, lgbtqia
Jul 17, 2014 karen rated it really liked it

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
Aj the Ravenous Reader
Sep 16, 2015 Aj the Ravenous Reader rated it liked it
Recommended to Aj the Ravenous Reader by: Vane J.

I read this as a birthday gift for the smart and beautiful, Vane who is celebrating her birthday on September 19. Happy birthday, hun!<3 Don't forget to greet her!^^Originally, she unreasonably asked me to read books two to four of the Monstrumologist series before her birthday. (Girl is dreaming! Lol). Instead, I read this standalone which she recommended perhaps a little halfheartedly. Lol.

This is a story about a unique 15 year old named Max, a perfect golden boy who everyone adores but wh
Feb 23, 2016 Joca rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Opinião em vídeo:

Onde estão as 5 mil estrelas? Precisava delas agora. Este vai andar ao meu colo pela casa até eu sentir que já lhe transmiti o meu amor todo (é, um hábito estranho eu sei ahah quando gosto muito de um livro não o consigo largar logo!) E gostava de fazer um vídeo sobre ele, pois claro que gostava mas como é que vou consegui fazer isso?!
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
Mar 31, 2016 Nancy rated it liked it
Recommended to Nancy by: Dana
Cross-posted at Outlaw Reviews and at Shelf Inflicted

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 adolesc
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
"If you love someone, you love them. It doesn't matter where they came from or if they're a boy or a girl, or if you fight, or if they're weird, or if they find it difficult to communicate with you; you just fucking love them."

Max is a hermaphrodite. "His" story is not an easy read. It begins in a rather shocking manner and continues in a sometimes disturbing and often unsettling direction.

When I first started reading GOLDEN BOY, I wasn't quite sure where the author would take us with such a cha

Debbie "DJ"
Dec 03, 2014 Debbie "DJ" rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 24, 2014 Elyse rated it it was amazing
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."
Vane J.
Aug 31, 2015 Vane J. rated it really liked it
Recommended to Vane by: Leah
4.5 out of 5 stars

Max is what people call a “golden boy”: He has perfect grades, he's good-looking, all girls have a crush with him, he's everyone's favorite, etc. He's also an intersex. But that's no problem – not even to him. That is, until he's sexually assaulted and he starts to question himself and people around him.

This book evokes so many feelings, but joy is not one of them. In general, it's depressing and painful to read, but I also got really, really angry at some points. This is highl
Feb 01, 2016 ☼♄Jülie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All
Recommended to ☼♄Jülie by: Suzanne

What a moving and heartfelt story!

Max Walker is truly a golden boy.
A gorgeous blonde haired, blue eyed teen who is the envy of his peers and the one all the young girls dream about going out with.
He is great at school and is the captain of the football team.
And as well as all that, he is a beautiful soul who shares a close and loving relationship with his parents and his brother.

But Max has a big secret, he was born intersex and until now everything has been ok with him. He has long since come
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
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
Nov 22, 2015 Karen rated it it was amazing
Thank you Elyse for this recommendation...
I really could not put this book down for's about an intersex boy named Max and struggles he's going through, one especially terrible, kept me up all night reading because I had to know what happened to him, the story is told from a few different peoples POV.
Oct 15, 2012 Chinelo rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 24, 2015 Kelli rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-fiction
I honestly don't know what to say about this one. Dealing with the topic of intersex (something I have never considered or read about,) this story touches on so many truly important life issues: secrets, trust, betrayal, gender ambiguity, parental responsibility, sexuality, hormones, development, the actual medical information, surgical options, self-acceptance, identity and the many challenges of being a teenager. There are other pieces to this story that add significantly(!!!) to this list but ...more
Aug 26, 2015 Bill rated it really liked it
Prologue – In my view some key elements of this story are simply implausible. YA can be that way. Either the plot lines are hard to believe or the young adults speak with the language and communication skills and the knowledge of an older adult with many years of life experiences. That being said, my thoughts about this story look past the implausibility factor.


“The scariest thing is a secret,” he says very slowly and sort of rhythmically. “Secrets are like invisible maggots,” Max says s
Emily Mack
This is a brilliantly-written coming-of-age story about a boy named Max, who was born intersex. I added this one to my list when it first came out, but I must have read only a partial synopsis; this subject is a very enlightening one -- one that lets you see into the life of somebody dealing with something you have perhaps considered only briefly in your life -- and I would have had a look at it sooner if I had known more.

Through the use of multiple characters' perspectives -- and the empathy we
Maxi  ♥
Apr 12, 2016 Maxi ♥ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Maxi ♥ by: Lindsey Rey
Shelves: own-and-read, 2015, queer
*3.5 stars*

Ugh, I really really wanted to love this book but there was just toooooo much stuff that happened it left me unsatisfied.

This book is really important. Top-priority-important. But the author tried to talk about so many things it was just too much to handle at some point.

John Wood
Dec 27, 2012 John Wood rated it it was amazing
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
shady boots
This was literally the first book I bothered to touch in months.

Part of it was because I spiraled back into my video game obsession, plus spending my entire summer vacation watching a bunch of shows I've always wanted to watch but never did until then. But really, another reason is that whenever I look at the young adult books of today, it feels... exhausting, in a way. Because honestly a huge majority of it is still the same shit. A huge chunk of YA is still as uninspired and trope-infested as
Karly *The Vampire Ninja & Luminescent Monster*


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


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!!!

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
Apr 25, 2013 Allison rated it it was ok
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
May 30, 2013 Lou rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literature
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
Oct 14, 2015 LeeAnne rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 10, 2014 Dianne rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
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.
Jo Lisa
Jan 03, 2016 Jo Lisa rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 23, 2013 Heidi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, read-2013
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
Thyago Marques
Apr 28, 2016 Thyago Marques rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very informative book about intersexuality, the story of Max who was born with both sexes and all the issues that arise with age, adolescence and the discovery of sexuality. Tormented by the idea of having to be perfect in the eyes of his parents and his peers. And everything changes when something really terrible happens to Max and all are required to unravel the eyes, face the problems head on and deal with imperfection.
A very interesting story that helps to deconstruct prejudices regarding
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Socratic Salon : Golden Boy 1 9 Sep 21, 2015 12:19PM  
Movie adaption? 2 11 Sep 10, 2015 06:06AM  
readers advisory ...: Intersex.... transexual 11 60 May 03, 2015 04:28PM  
Gary Stus in YA Lit 2 36 Jul 15, 2014 10:38AM  
2014 Hub Reading ...: Golden Boy 5 44 Apr 28, 2014 10:26AM  
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Hello! I'm Abby. I love Buffy The Vampire Slayer and writing books!

I'm the author of Golden Boy about intersex teen, Max Walker. Golden Boy won a 2014 American Library Association ALEX Award for Best Adult Books For Teen Readers and was shortlisted for a LAMBDA award for debut LGBT fiction!

I read all of my reviews and just want to say a BIG THANK YOU to my readers who have taken the time to tell m
More about Abigail Tarttelin...

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“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.” 34 likes
“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.” 30 likes
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