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Golden Boy

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  8,357 ratings  ·  1,658 reviews
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, with a secret that the world may not be ready for. This novel is a riveting tale of a family in crisis, a fascinating exploration of identity, and a coming-of-age story like no other.
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, whethe…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)
Dani With a girl, who is really lovely. I think my favourite characters were the younger ones: Max, Sylvie and Daniel.

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Average rating 4.10  · 
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Jun 02, 2013 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 overachie
Whitney Atkinson
This is one of my new favorite books of all time. I am astounded by it, and I started crying as soon as I began typing this review. This topic is so important and I learned so much throughout this book, and it was told in such a gripping and tragic way that I was nearly sobbing throughout the last half of this book. It deals with seriously tragic and infuriating topics, so trigger warning for rape. this is an unforgettable read and I recommend it to anyone who breathes!
Petra in 4 days may have a bf fingers crossed
Top fiction. I had to cut down the GR description of it because it gave too much away. If you think you might read this book, only read really short reviews, try and avoid knowing anything about it Everything you know will take away from the interest and surprise. There is nothing in this review that will take away from the surprises and I hope only increase the interest in it.

This would make a really fantastic film. Intersex fascinates everyone and the book is extremely visual. I don't want to
Why have I not 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 her 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 come across this fabulous book.

Max's story comes to us from the p
Aj the Ravenous Reader
Jul 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommended to Aj the Ravenous Reader by: Vanessa 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 who h
Irina Elena
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
Elyse  Walters
Mar 27, 2013 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."
"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 an intersex child. (previously called 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 au

Aug 02, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
1.5 "thirty nine children playing violins very loudly for the very first time" stars !!!

1. Suzanne so sorry that this book did not work for me the way it did for you.

2. Two thumbs up for the education provided around intersexuality. I hope with time that this group will be represented more in all areas of life with dignity and respect.

3. However, I hated this as a novel. The book was like a three ring circus. Histrionic, overly affective and completely unbelievable. The voices of the characters
May 24, 2013 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
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
Debbie "DJ"
Mar 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, lgbt
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
Mar 14, 2015 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.
Vanessa J.
Apr 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Vanessa 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
Sep 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
[4+] What an intense, compelling read! There is so much tension in this book that I think I held my breath most of the time. Initially, I was distracted by the simplistic writing and worried that it would be too YA for me. But I soon realized that there is nothing simple about the way Tartellin delves into the contradictions Max and his family feel about him being intersex. Golden Boy is a thoughtful, fearless exploration of a 16 year old boy and his choices at a pivotal time in his life. The ch ...more
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
3.5 stars

This was still beckoning me on the library shelf, so I ended up checking it out despite its very small font. I managed to finish it in two days, which is quite the accomplishment given how wordy it is.

I'm just going to write down some thoughts before I hit the pillow.

Golden Boy was quite gripping, I kept reading and turning the page to find out what happens next. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides was the only other book I read about an intersex/hermaphrodite person. This was quite differen
Jülie ☼♄ 
Nov 03, 2014 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
May 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Not my normal read but still interesting.

So Max Walker is what most people would call the perfect teen boy. The perfect son, perfect athlete, perfect friend, perfect boyfriend, perfect date, and perfect big brother. But under it all Max has a secret. A secret no one wants to talk about. A secret that his family has hidden all his life. Max is intersex. But when his oldest and closest friend betrays him in the worst way possible, Max's perfect life begins to unravel.

The story is definitely an em

Oct 15, 2012 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
Jul 30, 2015 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
Jul 27, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ylenia by: Lindsey Rey
Ugh, I really really wanted to love this book but there was just toooooo much stuff that happened, it left me unsatisfied.
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
Sam Endavour
Jun 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am literally crying.

Let intersex people decide for theirselves. Let them make their own decisions about their pronouns.
Emily M
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
Jun 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Oct 17, 2014 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars

That's about as kind a rating as I can give to a novel that can't rise above its melodrama. I commend Ms. Tarttelin for attempting to bring attention to "intersexuality" (once referred to as hermaphroditism, or having both male and female genitalia), and we do at times get an interesting look into the mind of the intersex titular "Golden Boy" Max, but was it really necessary to introduce Max in such a tawdry fashion as what's provided in pp 7-20? Before we know anything about Max,
John Wood
Nov 12, 2012 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
Karlyflower *The Vampire Ninja, Luminescent Monster & Wendigo Nerd Goddess of Canada (according to The Hulk)*


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
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YA LGBT Books: * October 2016 BotM - LBTQ+ #2- Golden Boy (note trigger warnings) 16 194 Jul 26, 2019 12:08AM  
Our Marginalized ...: Golden Boy Quotes 2 9 Nov 14, 2018 07:30AM  
YA LGBT Books: August 2013 BotM - Golden Boy *spoilers* - trigger warnings for rape, gender dysphoria 8 229 Sep 19, 2016 06:26PM  
The Socratic Salon : Golden Boy 1 16 Sep 21, 2015 12:19PM  
Movie adaption? 1 26 Sep 10, 2015 06:06AM  

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Abigail Tarttelin is an award-winning author, screenwriter, actress, and musician. As a writer, she is best known for Golden Boy, “a grippingly innovative” coming-of-age novel with a “radical non-binary, pro-intersex message” (Autostraddle). Golden Boy is the winner of an Alex Award from the American Library Association, a LAMBDA Literary Award Finalist for Best LGBT Debut, a Booklist Top Ten Firs ...more

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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.” 56 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.” 39 likes
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