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Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin

Golden Boy

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February 2014 Debut of the Month.

This controversial book dealing with issues of identity, gender and sexuality and freedom of the press is set to be a modern classic - we think it will get talked about a lot so here’s your chance to get ahead of curve.

Max Walker, and his family, look to have it all - but Max Walker has one whopping great secret that is about to be blown across the press just as his father is running for election. The truth will out in this gritty, cool and brilliantly compelling novel from one of the hippest young authors around.

reader reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Golden Boy a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title - 'I absolutely loved this book. It drew me in from the first chapter and I couldn't wait to read on...A moving, powerful and thought provoking novel which makes for compelling reading.' Val Rowe.

Scroll down to read more reviews.

A piece from Abigail Tarttelin on how she came to write Golden Boy...

'The summer before I wrote Golden Boy, I was thinking a lot about gender. How does it affect us? How do other people treat us differently because of it? How does our experience as a certain gender shape us? For example, in general women are smaller and physically weaker than men - might years of living with this vulnerability make us more cautious?

There were several factors in my life that made gender a theme at that time. Like many writers I am inspired by reading, and that summer I read The Women’s Room by Marilyn French in a quiet park opposite my flat in Camden Town. It was also a bit of a summer of love, and I was thinking about the roles men and women traditionally play in relationships. I also grew up being friends with a lot of guys and was experiencing surprise at that time, in realising that there were differences between us, caused by something as arbitrary as the chromosome combinations we were born with. Gradually these themes developed, and sometime in late September I started to write an email, sending it back and forth to myself, about two brothers, one of whom was not quite, or only, a teenage boy.' Click here to read the full comment.


Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin

Max Walker: blue-eyed boy or girl next door? To the outside world, Max Walker is a golden boy: a loving son and brother, the perfect student, captain of the football team and every girl's dream boyfriend.

But Max was born intersex - neither fully boy nor fully girl. Now something terrible has happened to him, the consequences of which have left him questioning his true identity. Can the people around him - his girlfriend, his classmates, his ambitious parents - accept him for who he is? Or will Max's secret life tear his world apart?


We have asked a select number of members and browsers to review Golden Boy. You can read their reviews below.

Barbara Gaskell - 'A riveting book that takes your through a full range of emotions...Inspiring.' Click Here to read the full review.

Chloe Sheehan, age 15 - 'This book is fantastic, as a teenager you can relate somewhat to some of the issues presented...The ending of the book is really moving. I applaud the work of this author, and I will be sure to read her work again.' Click Here to read the full review.

Ruth Ward - 'Recommended for older readers who can handle learning about life through the eyes of someone who questions the matters of gender and sexual identity.' Click Here to read the full review.

Zarina de Ruiter -
'Golden Boy is a profound and thought-provoking piece of writing. Abigail Tarttelin is a great storyteller and the novel is a fascinating and enlightening journey for both the characters and the reader.' Click Here to read the full review.

Sophie Hedley - 'A brave and moving story told incredibly by Abigail Tarttelin, Golden Boy is a courageous and inspiring book which will open your mind.' Click Here to read the full review.

Susana Sanchez-Gonzalez - 'There are some books that need to be written.They might not be easy to read or of paramount interest to the majority of us, normal beings, but still, they need to exist. This one is one of them.' Click Here to read the full review.

Margaret Madden - 'I was gripped by the end of the first chapter, and read it in a day. I literally could not put it down. The story is intense and heart wrenching.' Click Here to read the full review.

Sarah Harper - 'Powerfully moving and immensely sad, Golden Boy is an unforgettable story which will stay with you long after you have turned the last page.' Click Here to read the full review.

Amy Maggs
- 'Absolute must-read. If you only read one book this year, make it this one. It will open your mind, heart and soul, and bring about a lot of questions you never thought to ask. Click Here to read the full review.

Val Rowe - 'I absolutely loved this book.It drew me in from the first chapter and I couldn't wait to read on...A moving, powerful and thought provoking novel which makes for compelling reading.' Click Here to read the full review.

Lauren Coffman - 'This book, which I would recommend for older readers, is about a boy called Max. Max is not what it seems as although he looks perfect that is far from the truth as he is intersex.' Click Here to read the full review.

Nicola Foster - 'Golden Boy is a bravely written, keenly observed novel on an issue about which still not a lot is known. Recommended!' Click Here to read the full review.

Suzanne Marsh - 'The story is heart breaking, very moving it touched my heart and had me close to is one of those stories that will stay with you for a long time.' Click Here to read the full review.

About the Author

Abigail Tarttelin

Abigail Tarttelin's first novel, FLICK, published when she was twenty-two, was heralded as a slow burn cult classic by GQ and compared to Bret Easton Ellis and Chuck Palahniuk. She is still only twenty-five, but is the Books Editor for Phoenix fashion magazine, blogs for the Huffington Post and acts in films including the French/English festival favourite Taxi Rider. She also campaigns on women's and young people's issues as Chairperson of Equity's Young Members' Committee. She lives in London and is currently working on her third novel.

Selected in 2013 by Evening Standard as one of London's hottest 25 Under 25 in their Power 1000.

Author photo © Leigh Keily

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Book Info

Publication date

30th January 2014


Abigail Tarttelin

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Phoenix (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd ) an imprint of Orion Publishing Co


320 pages


Literary Fiction
NewGen - YA Fiction
Debuts of the Month
Reading Groups
Relationship Stories
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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