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Golden Boys

"Four young men, one life-changing summer, and a whole lot of friendship and soul-searching"

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LoveReading Says

LoveReading Says

Golden Boys is another heartfelt dream of a YA novel from Phil Stamper (we loved his previous novels, The Gravity of Us and As Far as You’ll Take Me), an author who’s fast made a name for himself as a compassionate creator of young gay characters navigating the often tricky transition from teenager to young adult.

Golden Boys delivers beams of hope and exhilaration as four gay friends from small-town Ohio embark on the potential summer-of-a-lifetime ahead of starting their senior year at high school. It’s the first summer they’ll be spending apart, and the first time what they do during the break might count towards their future lives. To show how important this is, the author provides an earnest, extended exposition of their hopes and fears ahead of their journeys, with all four boys keenly conscious of the significance of their plans. Anxious Gabe is volunteering with Save the Trees Foundation in Boston, while Sal has landed his dream internship with a senator in Washington DC. Artistic Reese jets to Paris to study graphic design, and less-privileged Heath heads to Florida to work in his aunt’s amusement arcade to make much longed-for family connections.

New experiences throw up new possibilities and questions relating to all areas of the boys’ lives. Sal, for example, winds up being overworked and having doubts about college, while Reese realises his passion might lie in fashion design. Add to that the rollercoaster of new friendships, possible romance, and long-held connections that might turn out to be more. and you have a compelling story of identity that leaves readers longing to know how the Golden Boys’ senior year plays out, and what paths they take further down the line.

Joanne Owen

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