Jul 16, 2013

Review: Openly Straight

Openly Straight
Author: Bill Konigsberg
Release Date: May 28th, 2013
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Pages: 320
Format: hardcover, bought

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Rafe is a normal teenager from Boulder, Colorado. He plays soccer. He's won skiing prizes. He likes to write.

And, oh yeah, he's gay. He's been out since 8th grade, and he isn't teased, and he goes to other high schools and talks about tolerance and stuff. And while that's important, all Rafe really wants is to just be a regular guy. Not that GAY guy. To have it be a part of who he is, but not the headline, every single time.

So when he transfers to an all-boys' boarding school in New England, he decides to keep his sexuality a secret -- not so much going back in the closet as starting over with a clean slate. But then he sees a classmate breaking down. He meets a teacher who challenges him to write his story. And most of all, he falls in love with Ben . . . who doesn't even know that love is possible.

This witty, smart, coming-out-again story will appeal to gay and straight kids alike as they watch Rafe navigate being different, fitting in, and what it means to be himself.

My Review:

This book is about a Rafe, who is gay. To him everyone defines him as gay everywhere he goes and not as Rafe himself. So he decides to get his parents to let him go to an all boys school in Massachusetts all the way from Boulder, Colorado.

As he gets there he falls into the jock crowd, just happy to be a part of a group of some sort. Then he has his roommate, Albie...who's best friend, Toby, is gay. He tries to avoid being seen with his roommate and friend.

As you follow Rafe, you find him become more of a man and grows in his maturity level. You cheer for him throughout the book and feel horrible at the times that he ends up in emotional pain.

His parents are hilarious, full on hippies complete with medical marijuana that is legal in Colorado, to full on roasted pigs made out of tofu.

The easiest way to explain this book is it has a very The Perks of Being a Wallflower feel to it. The book grows with Rafe just as it did for Charlie. It also has pages where Rafe has to write about himself to his teacher, so as you are watching Rafe change and grow, you are also getting to know his past and how his past affected his decisions he was making in the present.

It is a slower paced book but with so much promise to it. You learn so much about him, about the struggle the LGBT community faces, as well as how you feel about people that are in the LGBT community. I have a strong desire to help them in any way that I can and this book empowered that.

I fell in love with Rafe as a character and wanted to beat up some of the other characters. There are also a lot of times within the book, even with all it's seriousness that you find yourself laughing out loud at the situations.

The author ended it in a way that you definitely had to make up in your mind what ended up happening after Christmas break as well as in the rest of his life. Usually this would piss me off, but for one of the first times ever I was okay with it. I thought the best happened for him and I hope if the author came out with a book revealing what happened to Rafe that it would be the way I imagined.

Wonderful Read!


  1. I have this book and want to read it now. It sounds amazing.

  2. Love novels like this with a lot of personal character growth. Rafe sounds like an amazing character!


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