Book Description

National bestselling author Phil Stamper crafts the perfect summer friendship story, starring four queer boys with big hearts and even bigger dreams.

It’s the summer before senior year. Gabriel, Reese, Sal, and Heath are best friends, bonded in their small, rural town by their queerness, their good grades, and their big dreams. But they have plans for the summer, each about to embark on a new adventure.

Gabriel is volunteering at an environmental nonprofit in Boston.
Reese is attending design school in Paris.
Sal is interning on Capitol Hill for a senator.
Heath is heading to Florida, to help out at his aunt’s boardwalk arcade.

What will this season of world-expanding travel and life-changing experiences mean for each of them–and for their friendship?

Phil Stamper treats readers to an emotionally resonant summer story, full of aspirational experiences, sweet romance, and joyously affirming friendship.

My Review

This coming of age ensemble features four friends who embark on completely unique summer experiences. I’m going to try to discuss them collectively because even though they go to different places, each boy learns about himself as he questions his place in the world.

The boys are accustomed to their rural lives, and to relying on each other, especially since there isn’t a sizable contingent of queer youth in their town. Going to someplace new is already a culture shock, but it’s even more challenging because each boy is on his own. Yes, they all make new friends, but after years of having enough other, being on their own is tough.

I’m sticking to talking about them collectively because I liked each of the four narratives equally, and I would have a hard time picking a favorite. They were all intriguing in their own way. I also liked that they were all so different, so it was exciting to switch perspectives and find out what was going to happen next.

Finally, I want to talk about the cover. Covers can change from hardcover to paperback, and the cover is almost always different for international editions, but I love this book’s cover because I think the four pairs of sunglasses capture each boy’s personality so well.

I would absolutely recommend Golden Boys. I am not in the target demographic for YA, but I am the parent of three children who are. As a parent, I appreciate how eloquently this book depicts friendship—especially male friendship, which is less common than the bond between teen girls. Having the perspective of queer youth is even more needed because kids out there need to read about kids who are like them; their stories are important and valued. This is the third Stamper book I’ve read, and the third I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. I’m already looking forward to Stamper’s next book!

I received a digital ARC of this book from Bloomsbury YA/NetGalley

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