The Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin
I almost didn’t make it past the second chapter in this novel – spoiler alert – it features a shocking rape scene. But I did carry on reading and I’m so pleased I did because this is a brilliant book, it’s thought-provoking, well-written and one of the most original books I’ve read recently. And once you get past the trauma of chapter two (which is crucial to the plot, so is there for a good reason) you don’t need to worry about having to encounter anything as gruelling to read again, although there are definitely twists and turns that will move and surprise.
Max Walker is viewed by nearly everyone who knows him as ‘The Golden Boy’. He seems to be living a perfect life. He’s the perfect son, the perfect brother, the perfect friend – adored by the girls at his high school and admired by the boys. He’s intelligent, good looking and athletic. He seems to tick all the boxes for living a happy, successful and untroubled life. But things aren’t how they appear on the surface and Max hides a huge secret that goes to the very core of his identity. His parents know his secret but at the beginning of the novel there is also one other person who knows the truth about Max – and this person seems intent on bringing Max’s perfect world crashing down.
Told from the differing points of view of Max, his parents, his younger brother, his new girlfriend and a medical doctor, this is a novel with huge emotional power that will keep you gripped until the very last page. Stunning.