Note about my Reviews

Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg

Openly Straight
by Bill Konigsberg
Arthur A. Levine Press (Scholastic Press)
ISBN: 978-0-545-50989-3
Suggested Ages: 13+
Buy from Indigo

Description: 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.


The Good Stuff
  • Loved that every single character felt real, not a stereotype in the bunch
  • Rafe is such a loveable character even when you want to slap him upside the head
  • So many wise observations about the evils of labeling
  • Positive messages and asks some honest questions that would be great for discussion
  • Scenes dealing with sexuality are raw yet sensitively written
  • Hopeful ending - not neatly wrapped up - just perfect and real
  • Rafe's parents are a true delight. Odd and fun and well quite frankly - perfect. I loved the scenes with them 
  • Discusses the implications of the words acceptance and tolerance and that we need to celebrate our differences instead of accepting or tolerating differences
  • Delightfully wry and funny
  • Fabulous character development

The Not so Good Stuff
  •  Honestly at this point I can't think of anything
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"But even then I wouldn't go on about being straight. I didn't want to lie; I just wanted to not be the guy whose main attribute was liking other guys. Been there, done that."

"It needs to be said that sometimes my mom forgets important details when she talks. Like the time she told us she was considering leather (couches, it turns out), or when I was little and she said, "Here's a napkin to put your balls in" (the Atomic Fireballs that I was eating, she meant)."

"That is good," I said. But I was thinking, Wouldn't it be nice if we lived in a world where no one thought being gay was even something to ride someone about."

Who Should/Shouldn't Read
  • Yeah pretty much anyone over the age of 12 - that really includes you mom, dad, teacher, therapist, Librarian - you get the picture right.
5 Dewey's

I received this from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review

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