From twenty-four-year-old literary rising star Abigail Tarttelin comes an unforgettable novel about a boy, a secret, and the single traumatizing event that sends his seemingly charmed life into tailspin.
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.
Publishing May 2013 from UK (Weidenfeld & Nicolson/Orion), USA & Canada (Atria/Simon & Schuster), Italy (Mondadori), Brazil (Globo), Holland (Luitingh Sijthoff), Spain & South America (Ediciones B), Taiwan (Publishing Hanz), China (China Citic) and the ‘Commonwealth’ including Australia, New Zealand (W&N/Orion).