National bestselling author Phil Stamper crafts the perfect summer friendship story, starring four queer boys with big hearts and even bigger dreams.
Gabriel, Reese, Sal, and Heath are best friends, bonded in their small rural town by their queerness, their good grades, and their big dreams. They are about to embark on the summer before senior year of high school, where each is going on a new, big adventure. Reese is attending a design school in Paris. Gabriel is going to Boston to volunteer with a environmental nonprofit. Sal is interning on Capitol Hill for a U.S. Senator. And Heath is stuck going to Daytona Beach to help out at his aunt’s beachfront arcade.
What will this summer of new experiences and world-expanding travel mean for each of them—and for their friendship?
After reading a few heavy, postapocalyptic-type books, I wanted something lighter. Filled with ride or die friendships, found family, and dreams of the future, Golden Boys was exactly what I needed.
Don’t get me wrong – these boys are each dealing with their own problems and challenges. Gabriel is afraid he doesn’t know how to make friends outside their close circle and lacks self-confidence. Reese is secretly in love with his best friend and an ocean away from him for the summer. Sal is learning his path in life may not be exactly what he’d thought. Heath’s parents are divorcing, money is tight, and his childhood home is on the market. All of them are reluctant to be apart for the summer, afraid things won’t be the same after time away, but each has adventures and life lessons ahead of them.
Written in four different POVs, I struggled a bit at the beginning with keeping the names straight, but as I got to know and love these boys I knew exactly who was speaking without rechecking the chapter heading. As the only queer teens in their small school, they gravitated toward each other and have been tight friends for years. All are in the running for class valedictorian, but even that doesn’t threaten their strong bonds. On the verge of adulthood, the boys are excited for what’s ahead, but also afraid of stepping outside their comfort zone in small town Ohio. The world’s a scary place filled with uncertainty. Will their relationships change after a summer away? Will they even be the same people?
This coming of age story was a delight, and I enjoyed every page. One review I read demands a movie, and I’m one hundred percent on board with that idea. According to Goodreads there will be a sequel to this novel, and you can be sure I’ll snatch it up. Very highly recommended.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.