Golden Boy
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Golden Boy

4.34 of 5 stars 4.34  ·  rating details  ·  247 ratings  ·  86 reviews
A shocking human rights tragedy brought to light in a story of heartbreak and triumph.

Thirteen-year-old Habo has always been different— light eyes, yellow hair and white skin. Not the good brown skin his family has and not the white skin of tourists. Habo is strange and alone. His father, unable to accept Habo, abandons the family; his mother can scarcely look at him. His...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published June 27th 2013 by G.P. Putnam's Sons/Penguin
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Claire Caterer
How is it that a novel that illustrates a brutal practice can be one of triumph and hope? How can one recommend a book about human poaching to children?

Easy. Just read Tara Sullivan's GOLDEN BOY and you'll see.

In this stunning debut novel, Habo is a 13-year-old Tanzanian boy with albinism. As such, he is in constant danger, because witch doctors in that country pay top dollar for body parts of such people. And Habo is hunted by just such a poacher. Habo's journey from frightened child to a boy w...more
Tim Calvin
So here's the thing: This book is about an albino boy in Tanzania trying to not get killed for his body parts.
Except it's not. It's about an albino boy who doesn't feel like he has any place in the world and realizing he has worth.
Except it's not that, either.
Really, this book is about an outsider coming to peace with who they really are. This is about not being defined by any one characteristic- that we, as humans are more than the sum of our parts. That we can rise above labels.
I'm clearly not...more
There are moments, friends, when I learn about things I was unaware actually existed (hideous prion diseases, anyone?) and find myself being so grateful I don’t have to deal with that in my life. High up on that list now is “Thankful for not being born an albino in Tanzania,” because holy shit.

I clearly am not Hip and With current world events, because I had no idea that over the past fifteen years or so, albinos in Tanzania have been systematically hunted and killed for their body parts, becaus...more
Lauren Fidler
oh, habo, i just want to hug you.

first, a disclaimer: this is young adult fiction in the purest sense of the word. geared toward the pre-twilight crowd (so, ideally, 6th-8th grade, i'm guessing), the narrative is constructed clearly with a burgeoning teenager in mind. i'd even say "pre-sexual" - it's not that kind of story.

this is, however, a story of transition - particularly poignant for those kids caught in the transition between childhood and adulthood, when the awkwardness and discomfort of...more
The book, or rather, the feeling of persecution remained with me long after I finished the book. A story of cruelty, discrimination, superstition, persecution and a story also of courage, humanity, kindness and finding oneself.
This is a slightly reluctant four, because the first 80 pages were pretty boring. It picked up, though, and I really enjoyed the latter part of the story.

Golden Boy is the story of an albino boy Habo. He has all sorts of trouble because of the superstitions surrounding albinos in Tanzania, where he lives. Some think the body parts of dead albinos bring luck, other call albinos "ghost people" or "zeru-zerus" (literally zero-zero, or nothing). First Habo's family has to leave their village and tra...more
From a National Geographic article on 10/11/2013:Last month, a United Nations report on albino persecution put Tanzania at the top of a list of African nations -mostly in East Africa- where albinos are targeted for murder. "In most of the cases documented, the attacks involved dismembering the victim's limbs and resulted in death", the report said. "In a few other cases, the victims were beheaded; genitals, ears, and bits of skin were removed; tongues were cut out and the eyes and the heart goug...more
That would be 5 stars times 2. This would be a 10 star book for me. Perhaps I should give less 5s and then a 5 would have more meaning. If reading a book was sinful then this book was tempting 24/7 until it was finished. So the question is why such a compelling read? There are some personal reading preferences factors:
Adventure/Survival is one of my favorite genres
Africa intrigues me as a setting

But what would this book mean for others?
Let's start with raising awareness of injustice. In this l...more
Suzanne Loring
Thirteen-year-old Habo lives in a northern Tanzanian village with his family. He goes to school, he tends the family’s goats, but he is not like everyone else. Habo has yellow hair, light eyes and white skin, skin whiter than even that of the white man who often comes on safari through his village. Habo is an albino.

When his family is forced to leave their small village farm and travel to Mwanza to live with Habo’s aunt they have no idea the danger that surrounds them. In the big city, albinos...more
I don't read a lot of YA. Haven't really since I became an A. With a few notable strong exceptions -- The Hunger Games, Harry Potter -- the genre just doesn't do it for me, especially since Twilight came on the scene. After hearing so much positive press about Golden Boy, though, I happily dug into it, particularly after confirming there were no sparkly dragonfeywolves or insipid teen romances. I soon realized this was the type of YA book I LOVED when I was a kid: a story about kids dealing with...more
Susan P
What a great book! Habo is an albino, which in his home country of Tanzania means that in many parts of the country he may be killed b/c of the color of his skin. Some believe that body parts of an albino can bring good luck. Pursued by just such a hunter, Habo must leave his family and escape to the city of Dar-es-Salaam on his own. Habo ultimately finds refuge and friendship with a blind sculptor - but his hunter is not far behind... I learned a lot and was on the edge of my seat the whole boo...more
This is a stellar first book by the author. I loved it from the first page. 4 and 1/2 stars!! Maybe it's because I read two or three really poor novels before this, or maybe it's because I got to read this book all in one day-- but I believe that it is good literature. It is historical fiction since it is based on things that really do happen, but not to the people made up in the story. The characters are well developed and the reader can identify with them. The story took me to the the place an...more
Donna Siebold
Habo is a 13-year-old albino living in Tanzania with his mother, sister and two brothers. When their farm fails the family must go to Mwanza to live with his aunt. The family is so poor that they have to walk most of the way to Mwanza. They are given a ride by man named Alasiri. But, Alasiri is not just a helpful man. He is a hunter of ivory. When the family finally arrives in Mwanza, they learn that albinos are frequently killed and their body parts are sold as good luck charms.

Alasiri tries to...more
Thirteen-year-old Tanzanian Habo's albinism has already caused his family some hardship when their farm fails and the landowner, seed provider, and tax collector refuse to allow additional time for the family to raise money. Habo's father left the family shortly after Habo's birth, unable to accept his youngest son's strangeness. He is teased and bullied at school, and even at home. His older brothers treat him with contempt and his mother is distant, but his older sister Asu has mothered him an...more
Carrie Gelson
When my students write book reviews, they don't stick to the rules of 5 stars. Sometimes they give the book 10 stars or even 1000. So I am going to borrow from their rule book in rating this book. I give it a hundred stars. Because, yes, I loved it. Yes, it was beautifully written. Yes, it made me cry. All of those things that typically make me eagerly assign 5 stars to a story. But this book also was SO much more. A story that is fictional but not at all. Because Habo's story could be, might be...more
Sally Kruger
Habo is thirteen and he lives in Mwanza, Tanzania. His father left the family years ago, leaving his mother and siblings alone to scratch out a meager existence on their little farm. Habo's job is to tend the goats. He would like to help out more, but Habo can't stand even short amounts of time in the sun. You see, Habo is albino.

Being an albino in Tanzania is not only difficult but also dangerous. The constant hot sun is definitely a problem, but the attitude of the people is an even greater ch...more
Lindsey Marie
Jun 08, 2014 Lindsey Marie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone and Everyone
“A shocking human rights tragedy brought to light in a story of heartbreak and triumph.”
Shocking, indeed.
The only time I have ever really heard anything about people with albinism before reading Golden Boy was a couple years ago. My parents were watching a television program about the hunting down and killing of Albinos in African when I happened to walk into the room. I was instantly engrossed in this, frankly, absurd belief that the witch doctors, or waganga, had of the Albino population. T...more
Habo is an albino living in Tanzania with his family (mom, two brothers, and sister). He is an outcast in all aspects of his life because of the color of his skin. At school, he is forced to sit in the back and called ghost boy by the kids who refuse to play with him. He cannot work outside because his skins burns easily in the sun and so he feels like a burden on his family since he can't provide. His dad left the family right after Habo's birth because of the color of Habo's skin and his mom a...more
Gripping read. Albino struggles with identity and trying to escape people hunting him for his physical body. Takes place in Tanzania Africa. A compelling read that not only addresses the issue of skin discoloration but also your self worth. I thought it was brilliant in general and in the subtle way it showed how someone old and disfigured could help you out better than a well-dressed young man. And why is that? Because people are more than just their looks. I appreciated how the good people who...more
Having is an albino boy living in a small village in Tanzania. He has never seen anyone else like him but knows, based on the reactions of others, that he is something to be ashamed of. A lack of money forces Habo and his family to move across the country to stay with his aunt. While on that journey, they meet a man named Alisari who will hold Habo's life in his hands on more than one occasion.
Habo must grow up quickly in order to stay alive and must learn to judge the character of his countrym...more
Mrs. Tongate
A book that will stay with you. A must, must read!! My favorite read this year of bravery, love, acceptance, prejudice, & family. Habo!!
Incredible first novel by Tara Sullivan.

BOOK TALK: They are hunted for their body parts. The lack of pigment in the skin is thought to bring good luck and certainly a nice price. Habo is a human albino without pigment in his skin. He has never seen another person who looks like him. His father deserted the family right after Habo was born and Habo isn’t sur...more
Annie Oosterwyk
At the beginning of this story Habo, an albino African, and his family are evicted from their farm and must travel to stay with an aunt far away. They are very poor and can only afford to ride the bus halfway, leaving them at the Serengeti National Park where they are picked up by a park worker.
He offers them a ride as far as he is going, but when they reach his camp, something happens to cause him to give them a ride all the way to the aunt's house. He turns out to be a mercenary of the worst s...more
I don't know that I even have words for how gripping a read this was... This is one of those rare books that created an entirely different world, demanded that I keep reading, and that has stayed with me since I closed the book. Engrossing. Disquieting. Powerful.
Sally Flint
I loved this book. It brought so many memories back from when I lived in Tanzania. It made me long to go back to the carvers market in Dar es Salaam. It deals with a shocking reality of the murder of albino people in the North of Tanzania. The story was well constructed, thoughtful and well written. The characters were likeable. It was easy to empathise with them. Arguably the text could be said to lack a little subtlety. There was a lot of telling and there was no need to read between the lines...more
D'Arcy Rowe
What a heart wrenching story. Habo is an albino born in Tanzania, Africa. All his life he's been shunned and made fun of, even by his family. When his family loses their farm they are forced to move in with Habo's auntie in Mwanza. She is shocked and scared when she sees him because albinos are getting killed in Mwanza for the luck of their body parts. He lives there in hiding for a while until a hunter finds him. He escapes, barely, and flees to Dar Es Salem.

He finds an old man to take him in....more
Jul 24, 2014 Marilyn rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Middle School/ High School/
Shelves: challenge-14
Did you know that an albino's life is endangered in Tanzania? Tara Sullivan's research and travel experience have led to her debut novel about this subject. Her protagonist Habo is a thirteen year old albino who struggles to find safety in a city that respects his kind. He is an admirable character and to me a hero. The blind man that he befriends helps to shelter Habo and at the same time trains him to become a wonderful wood sculptor. The story includes not only humanitarians but also poachers...more
Jenni Frencham

Sullivan, Tara. Golden Boy. G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2013.

Habo is an albino, and Habo lives in Tanzania, a very dangerous place for a person whose limbs and hair are thought to bring good luck. When Habo's family loses their land and has to travel north to live with relatives, Habo soon realizes that he is a danger to all those around him, and sets off, Frodo-style, to solve his problems on his own. He evades a kidnapper/murderer, befriends a blind sculptor, and eventually must decide whether he shou...more
It was totally amazing. Even though it took me a while to read it was amazing.
Flower Mound Public Library
Thirteen-year-old Habo has always been different--light eyes, yellow hair and white skin. His father abandons the family, his mother can scarcely look at him, his brothers are cruel and the other children never invite him to play. Only his sister Asu loves him. When the family is forced from their small Tanzanian village, seeking refuge in Mwanza, Habo learns a new word for himself: Albino. But they hunt Albinos in Mwanza because Albino body parts are thought to bring good luck. To survive, Habo...more
When I was recommended this book, it brought up this preview of a documentary I watched as an add before a drama. I ended up missing the time to watch the documentary about albinos in Africa and it has been sitting in the back of my brain ready to spring up when reminded.

Prejudice. Everybody knows it's wrong but can't help having them. Reading this book was like a reminder of how some students in my school would look up to "white" people and look down upon Hispanics, Latin Americans, and Africa...more
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2014 Hub Reading ...: Golden Boy 3 21 Mar 01, 2014 02:34PM  
winning Golden Boy 1 11 Jul 02, 2013 11:47PM  
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Tara Sullivan was born in India and spent her childhood living in Bangladesh, Ecuador, Bolivia, and the Dominican Republic with her parents who were international aid workers. She received a BA in Spanish Literature and Cognitive Science from the University of Virginia, and a MA in Latin American Studies and an MPA in Non-Profit Management from Indiana University.
To research GOLDEN BOY, Tara trav...more
More about Tara Sullivan...

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