REVIEW: Golden Boys by Phil Stamper

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?


🏳️‍🌈 Queer teens

❤️ little bit ‘o romance

🧭 finding a way through life


This is a sweet novel. It’s all about growing up, the friends that we adore, and being on the cusp of change! Golden Boys is about a group of 16 year old friends. Each of them is on the brink of a new journey; one of those life changing adventures that’s going to make beginnings and ends and everything in-between.

There are four main characters in this story and the POV switches between them. Gabriel is off to a “save-the-trees” gathering. Reese comes from a big family, is secretly in love with one of his friends and is heading off to Paris to design school. Sal has a plan; politics is his hobby and he’s off to DC to intern. Heath is heading to Daytona Beach to get to know some of the relatives his Mom is estranged from.

I found the multiple POVs a little confusing at first, but it got easier to follow once the story lines separated. The boys have been together since they started school, having each other’s backs when they can. They’ve become each other’s comfy place but the world is waiting.

There’s a little bit of romance in this book, but that’s not the focus. The focus is very much young people making changes, taking chances and moving forwards. I feel like this is a very good “coming of age” novel. It feels very true to teenage times! I liked the friendship and the fact that each of the boys was focussing on what they wanted to do with their lives. I remember trying to decide what I was interested in and it was a mess of wanting things to stay the same but wanting change at the same time.

There’s a bit to much pop culture stuck in for me, I don’t think it will age well but it doesn’t take away from the plots. This is a good, solid, warm fuzzy, coming-of-age novel.



Goodreads || Author || Publisher

I received an ARC of Golden Boys by Phil Stamper from Bloomsbury YA via Edelweiss in exchange for an unbiased review.

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