Afterglow (Golden Boys #2) by Phil Stamper #bookreview #contemporary #LGBTQ

After a summer of life-changing, these four friends are finally ready for senior year.

Gabriel is thrilled to create his school’s first LGBTQ+ advocacy group, but his long-distance relationship is fading from summer love to something else…

Heath feels secure for the first time in years, but with his future riding on a baseball scholarship, each pitch triggers his anxiety…

Reese is set on pursuing a career in fashion design, but his creativity takes him in an unexpected direction he isn’t yet ready to share…

Sal wants to be in politics, specifically local politics. After a chat with his aunt, he is ready for an unlikely path…

As graduation nears and the boys prepare to enter the real world, it’s clear their friendship will never be the same. Can they find a way to stay connected and pursue their dreams?

When I saw this book up for request on NetGalley, I didn’t even read the description. I loved these boys so much from the first book in the duology that I had to see what happened to them.

First I have to comment on the cover. It’s perfect. Each graduation cap represents one of the characters and their interests. In Golden Boys, the characters were headed in different directions the summer before their senior year of high school and were worried about what the distance would do to their friendships. It was a life-changing summer for each of them, and they all grew and made decisions about their future. Now in their senior year, they have a laundry list of worries: Will we still see each other after graduation? What do I want to do with my life? How do I tell my mom I don’t want to go to college? Will I get my scholarship? Is our relationship strong enough to survive long distance? How will I afford college? Teens today experience more stress and anxiety that we think.

Each character has dreams for their future and, despite their individual plates full of problems, all are unconditionally supportive of each other. We all need friends like that. Reese and Heath are in a relationship together and, although they’re not sure what the future holds for them, neither wants the other to sacrifice their plans. A very mature outlook for high school seniors. Gabriel is busy with his LGBTQ+ advocacy group and getting to the bottom of why certain books have gone missing from the library shelves, while also trying to maintain a long distance relationship with the guy he met last summer. Sal’s mother has been planning for his college career since the day he was born – but he has to find a way to tell her he doesn’t want to attend college and has alternate life plans for himself.

I’d love to see what happens to these boys, but the author indicated this is a duology. I’ll sure miss them. A nostalgic, bittersweet, hopeful, and humorous read focused on the bonds of friendship and family.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

9 thoughts on “Afterglow (Golden Boys #2) by Phil Stamper #bookreview #contemporary #LGBTQ

    1. Thanks, Wendy! I’m the same with coming of age. Some of the decisions these boys made were very mature. Each of them was committed to their dream and working to make it happen.


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