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Golden Boy

4.2  ·  Rating details ·  1,440 Ratings  ·  291 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
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published June 27th 2013 by G.P. Putnam's Sons/Penguin
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Tim Calvin
Jun 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Claire Caterer
Dec 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
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
Jaden Nelson
Dec 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wow, can we just take a minute to appreciate these amazing 340(ish) pages full of heartbreaking sadness and betrayal, but also happiness and forgiveness that are golden boy? This is one of the few books that I have read that I had no hesitation to rating a 5/5- 10/10,for so many reasons. I will admit, starting this book was very hard for me. I got this book probably 2 or 3 years ago and quit after the first chapter. Also, DO NOT LET THE SUMMARY OF THIS BOOK MAKE YOU THINK THAT IT WILL BE BORING ...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
Mar 06, 2014 rated it liked it
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.
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
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
13-year-old Habo knows he is different: everyone in his family and village has dark skin, while Habo alone has pale skin that burns easily in the sun, blue eyes that don't see very well, and light hair. When his family is forced to abandon their farm in Tanzania to seek refuge with an aunt in Mwanza, Habo learns that there is a name for people like him: he is a zeruzeru, an albino. Habo has always felt like an outsider in his own family, but there is little comfort in knowing that there are othe ...more
Snigdha Thatikonda
Nov 10, 2015 rated it liked it
3.75 out of 5 stars. The action element as well as the emotional element was flawless, I just found the rest to be less entertaining. Review to come!
Jazmin Arroyo
Nov 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Danielle Earnest 8/10/15
Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan realistic fiction/action
He is a zeruseru, he is nothing, he, Habo, is an albino surviving the cruelty he gets being part of a Tanzanian family in Africa. Being an albino Habo has many everyday problems like the sun, being rejected by his own family except sister, Asu, which he can live with but now because of him the whole family is kicked out of their home and must leave immediately. Now Habo, sister, Asu, younger brother, Chui and their moth
Jun 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 27, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Suzanne Loring
Jun 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In the book “Golden Boy”, Tara Sullivan tells an amazing multicultural book about an albino living in Africa. In the beginning of the book Habo, the albino, and his family has to move out of their house. They move to Habo’s Aunt's house in Mwanza, Tanzania. Along the way they meet a man named Alasari, who hunts elephants for their ivory. When they get to Mwanza, they find out that albinos like Habo get killed there. So then when they get to their aunt's house, he has to hide and try not to get k ...more
Jun 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book brings to light such an important issue I didn't know albinos faced, but it also weaved together a story about a kid just trying to figured out life. For the most part, the story was about Habo finding family, a new one in Kweli, and a friend in Davu, but also discovering the love his family always had for him. The heart of the book was something some characters figured out and others could not : people who look differently than you do are still people. Humanity is the same regardless ...more
Aug 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Golden Boy is a story about an albino boy named Habo living in Tanzania. Nobody but his sister Asu accepts him including his father who left when he was born. Habo’s family is forced to move out of their house by tax collectors. They take a bus halfway to his aunt’s house in Mwanza but then must walk the rest of the way through the Serengeti. But in Mwanza Habo learns that albino body parts are used for luck medicine. Luck medicine is a potion made using albino hair or limbs and is believed to b ...more
May 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
A perfect book to teach middle school age children about a world outside their own. Habo is a thirteen year old boy with Albinism, living in a small village in Tanzania. Children who read this book will absorb cultural differences as Tara Sullivan does a wonderful job weaving the culture of Tanzania into Habo's story. Habo encounters true evil for the first time when he witnesses the poaching of an elephant for its ivory, which foreshadows Habo being hunted for his body parts. Albinos in Tanzani ...more
Gianna H5
My book was "Golden Boy". The author of my book was, Tara Sullivan. This book will capture your attention and make you never want to put it down.
13 year old Habo is the complete opposite of his family, they are dark skinned and he is albio like the tourist. No one excepts Habo in his family except for his aunt. Luckily that is where his family moved to live because of the conditions of the other house. To survive Habo must not only run, but find a way to except himself.
I can kind of relate to th
Demitria Lunetta
Nov 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended for fans of: YA or MG Contemporary with Substance/ African Culture

This book is amazing. Sullivan has clearly done extensive research on Albinos living in Tanzania. You are immersed in African culture, but you always feel like you belong there. Everything feels very authentic and accurate. It speak from a place that is more than just intellectually though, GOLDEN BOY feels so genuine. You feel stricken when the family is forced to leave their home, just as Habo does. You also get to g
Susan  Dunn
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
Mar 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is certainly worthy of its Golden Sower Nomination. It is an important book because of the subject it addresses (African albinos being killed and sold for their lucky body parts,) but also because its target audience will relate to the feelings expressed by Habo--He is an outsider, different, made fun of, rejected because of how he looks, unsure of how he fits into his family and the world in general. Certainly most kids do not experience the extent of Habo's angst, but the fact that he per ...more
Apr 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teen
Everyone should read this story about how albino people in some areas of Tanzania are killed for their body parts because they are believed to bring luck. It's truly hard to believe this goes on in this day and age. This book is well written, could not put it down. I don't read very many books with settings in a 3rd world country and it was very enlightening to hear about the contrast of how people live within this country. It was nice to hear the country's language scattered throughout the book ...more
Joy Kirr
Feb 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Powerful read - because people with albinism actually live in fear of their lives in Tanzania. I was terrified at certain points, and the author really paints a great picture of who people are in this book. I fell in love with many characters, and hated others enough to have my blood boil. I loved the fact that Habo tried to see himself as a new type of currency - his life has the same value as everyone else... just not everyone knows it yet.

Quote: "Why choose to be angry? It won't change them,
Madalyn Pleva
Golden Boy written By; Tara Sullivan is a very exciting book if you are looking to read something different. This book has weaved in a lot of good facts, and it has a lot of personification that gets the story going for you. Throughout the book the setting is very well described, they will say," the dry hot dessert in going through my skin, in the back of the jeep." Overall, the book is a very good book and I recommend this book if you want a very interesting read.
Mar 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
When I started to read this book I wasn't sure of I'd like it so much but turns out it was actually very interesting and the more I got to the end the more I wanted to find out if the villian, Alasiri, gets him. It made me think because I honestly couldn't imagine what it might be like for people like Habo, the main character, to try to live life constantly being afraid of being hunted. I am really happy with the ending of the story!
May 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This boy is great because it isn't the usual war going on in africa stuff. Golden boy shows the point of view from a albino boy who deals with black thinking he's white. They make fun of him and it shows how he deals with it and his thoughts. They make him feel like an outcast because even the whites look at him strange and quetion what he is.
Aug 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
I just finished this book. it highlights a terrifying issue about which I had no idea. :( Habo is a great character, so is Kweli- the blind sculptor. Things I liked: glossary at the end with terms, an author's note about the issue and her research, and a directory of organizations helping albinos. Highly recommended.
Aug 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
I read this book by mistake. A similar titled book was my actual book club selection. I am glad that happened. I had no idea there was hunt and persecution of albino people in Africa! I enjoyed reading about Tanzania, and the geography, culture, and language. This book talks about the illegal trade of ivory, as well. I learned a lot reading this book.
Alexandra Spangler
Dec 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Received this book for free at my university and thought it reflected that maybe it wouldn't be that great of a book. Instead, being plunged into the life of a young albino in Tanzania was highly educational and inspiring.
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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.
Her first book, GOLDEN BOY, was s
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“Although Golden Boy is a work of fiction, the situations portrayed in it are real. The first materials that Habo and Davu read together in the library are all real. The children’s book they read aloud is a real book, True Friends: A Tale from Tanzania, by John Kilaka. All of the newspaper headlines they read came from real newspapers. Sadly, the stories of the people with albinism in Golden Boy are real as well. The two members of parliament that Habo sees on TV are real people, and so was Charlie Ngeleja. He died in Mwanza the way Auntie describes to Habo’s family. Charlie’s is just one story, but there are too many like his. When I came across a news story in 2009 that told about the kidnapping, mutilation, and murder of African albinos for use as good-luck talismans, I was upset that I had never heard about the tragedy before. I started looking for books on the subject and found none. The most I could find were a few articles from international newspapers and a documentary produced by Al Jazeera English: Africa Uncovered: Murder & Myth. This haunting documentary touched a nerve and sent me down the path of writing Golden Boy.” 0 likes
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