Publisher: Atria Books
Readership: Young adult
Max Walker is a golden boy. Attractive, intelligent, and athletic, he’s the perfect son, the perfect friend, and a perfect crush for the girls in his school. He’s even really nice to his little brother, Daniel, a decidedly imperfect ten-year-old. Karen Walker is a beautiful, highly successful criminal lawyer, who works hard to maintain the facade of effortless excellence she has constructed over the years. Now that the boys are getting older, now that she won’t have as much control, she worries that the facade might soon begin to crumble. Steve Walker is also a successful prosecutor, so much so that he is running for election to Parliament. The spotlight of the media is about to encircle their lives.
But the Walkers have a secret. Max was born with forty-six XX chromosomes and forty-six XY chromosomes, which makes him intersex. He identifies as a boy and so has been raised lovingly that way. When an enigmatic childhood friend named Hunter steps out of Max’s past and abuses his trust in the worst possible way, Max is forced to consider the nature of his well-kept secret. Why won’t his parents talk about it? Will his friends accept him if he is no longer the Golden Boy? Who is Max and who will he be in the years ahead?
While Max and his family face life-changing questions, revelations, and the ever-present threat that Hunter presents, Max falls in love. He might be flawed, but could he be the perfectly imperfect boyfriend for misfit Sylvie Clark, the oddball loner in his class?
Told in first person narratives alternating between Max, Daniel, Karen, Sylvie, Steve, and Archie, the physician who attempts to guide Max through this pivotal moment in his life, Golden Boy is at once a riveting novel of a family in crisis, a fascinating exploration of identity, and a coming-of-age story like no other.
What a book. No, really. What. A. Book. This book does it's job well. Powerful is a word I would use to describe it. While contemporary isn't generally my cup of tea I'm glad I accepted the offer to review from the publisher.
What I really enjoyed was the different POVs. If it was only told through one I don't think that the book would be quite the same. It's a really good way of getting into all of their heads; seeing why they do the things they do, understanding why they say the things they say, feel how they feel, etc. and that really helps with such sensitive subject matter. That's another thing I really liked about the novel: how well the author went about the subject. She did it in such a realistic, positive way and I thought that was fantastic. I liked the pace of the book as well. Fast but not too fast. It played like a really good movie in my head.
This is a book that will get people talking. I got so invested in the story I found myself crying and wanting to throw it against a wall when certain things happened. I got very attached to these characters, especially Max, who is such an endearing young man. The topic of this book is something that needs to be talked about more and I think that the more people that read this, and pass it on to friends because they're going to want to talk about it too, the more the issues will be heard. I'm repeating myself but the author did such a fantastic job in doing this. This book is something both adults and teens need to read and to discuss. The book makes you think, and that is the best kind of book.
I REALLY LIKED IT
**thank you to simon&schuster for providing an arc for review!**