eARC Review – Golden Boys by Phil Stamper


Title: Golden Boys (Golden Boys #1)

Author: Phil Stamper

Publisher: Bloomsbury YA

Publication date: February 8th, 2022

372 pages

5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

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?


Phil Stamper is an automatic read for me and he did not disappoint with this story about 4 queer high school boys jetting off separately for a summer before their senior year. If you’ve been reading YA for awhile and remember Bass Ackwards and Belly Up – this is very similar in regards to structure of the book but Golden Boys is more modern and inclusive. Told in four POVs with some text chains thrown in – readers follow the four boys through internships, jobs, romance, and mental health issues.

I absolutely loved reading Golden Boys. Each character had important struggles going into their summer and made amazing growth over the course of the book. It was very much a coming of age novel and I’m stoked there is a sequel planned. Don’t let the sequel scare you though – there is no cliffhanger. I just assume the story picks up with the boys going through senior year and deciding their plans for college/post grad. If I had to pick a favorite boy it would be Reese as he is in Paris at design school for the summer and quietly crushing on Heath. He just needed a hug and I wanted to give him one.

To be fair all the characters needed and deserved hugs so don’t think the other 3 were lesser in my eyes. That decision was very hard to come to.

There wasn’t a single piece of this book that I didn’t like. If you love YA contemporary, diverse reads, and coming of age I highly recommend reading it and frankly, the rest of Phil’s novels.

Thank you to Bloomsbury YA and Netgalley for an early copy in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

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