Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: May 2013
Categories: Literary, Coming of Age
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 nice to his little brother. Karen, Max’s mother, is a highly successful criminal lawyer, determined to maintain the façade of effortless excellence she has constructed through the years. Now that the boys are getting older, now that she won’t have as much control, she worries that the façade might soon begin to crumble. Adding to the tension, her husband, Steve, has chosen this moment to stand for election to Parliament. The spotlight of the media is about to encircle their lives.
The Walkers are hiding something, you see. Max is special. Max is different. Max is intersex. When an enigmatic childhood friend named Hunter steps out of his 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? What else are they hiding from Max about his condition and from each other? The deeper Max goes, the more questions emerge about where it all leaves him and what his future holds, especially now that he’s starting to fall head over heels for someone for the first time in his life. Will his friends accept him if he is no longer the Golden Boy? Will anyone ever want him—desire him— once they know? And the biggest one of all, the question he has to look inside himself to answer: Who is Max Walker, really?
This story is still spinning through my mind. This book is shocking and beautiful. It is mind-bending and eye-opening.
Max knows that he is intersex. It hasn’t been much of an issue for him, mostly because his parents have kept him from knowing the full details. After an appalling assault Max is forced to face his “disorder”. Who is he? What is he? Will he live his life alone? Who can he trust?
These are questions that most teenagers ask themselves. But for Max they have more urgency. The decisions he makes now will have long lasting consequences.
Golden Boy is told from multiple points of view. Each narrator offers a fresh perspective. I especially enjoyed hearing from Daniel, Max’s little brother. His voice is humorous and innocent. This is a heavy read and hearing from Daniel gave the story some much needed levity.
Timely and important, Golden Boy is a must-read. I’m looking forward to whatever Abigail Tarttelin sets her mind to next.