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Out of the Blue

Italian book blogger. Loves Jane Austen, ice cream, and the colour blue.
Golden Boy - Abigail Tarttelin E-galley received through Netgalley for review (Galley Alley program)

Max Walker is a golden boy. He's sixteen, handsome, charismatic, and intelligent. He does well in sports and at school; he's nice to his little brothers; and attracts the attention of girls in school. His mother is a successful criminal lawyer, an expert at maintaining a fa├žade of perfection. Now, however, her hisband Steve is running for Parliament, and the Walker family is about to step into the spotlight.

Max, however, is not really a boy. He was born with both a penis and a vagina; he's intersex, a hermaphrodite. This is a well-kept secret in the family; apart from the walkers, only Max's childhood friend Hunter knows. Max has always identified as a boy and avoids serious relationships, although he has a reputation for making out with many different girls. One evening, Hunter goes into Max's bedroom and rapes him. This will have unthinkable consequences for Max and his whole family.

This is an original story, in that I can't remember ever reading a book with the same subject. It's a hard book to read and quite graphic in some points, but still very worthwhile. The discussion about being intersex is very frank and honest. The narration switches between six different point of views: Max, his mother, his father, his younger brother, his girlfriend Sylvie, and the Walker family doctor. Each narrator is expertly differentiated and recognizable even without chapter headings.

The characters are fully fleshed-out and described. I felt for Max and Sylvie, and found the novel very touching. I was very, very glad I read this.