Golden Boys

Bloomsbury. Feb. 2022. 352p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781547607372.
Gr 10 Up–Stamper continues to shine as a voice of YA LGTBQIA+ writing with this work. The novel follows four friends as they depart their small town of Gracemont, OH, for the summer before their senior year. Gabriel is heading to Boston to work with an environmental organization; Sal is going to intern in DC; Heath is heading to Daytona to work at his aunt’s arcade; and Reese is on his way to Paris for design school. The four friends navigate new experiences and people while maintaining their friendships and romances with one another. The story is told from their four viewpoints, and Stamper manages that task effortlessly, making each voice unique. The novel uses texting at times to realistically showcase the young men communicating from afar during this summer. While the theme of finding oneself before senior year is one often told, Stamper makes the story his own. What is so refreshing about this book is the characters; it would be easy to classify this as a book about four young gay males, but it’s more than that. Like other books about friendship groups, Stamper’s characters are vastly different from each other, as is shown in their interests and locations for the summer. The main characters cue as white.
VERDICT Recommended for libraries with teen and new adult readers.

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