Openly Straight

Openly Straight

eBook - 2013
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The award-winning novel about being out, being proud, and being ready for something else. Pre-order the companion novel Honestly Ben now (out 3/28/17)! 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.
Publisher: 2013
ISBN: 9780545509909
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

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h
hazelsanger
Jun 05, 2019

This is the first book I’ve ever read that talks about how incredibly exhausting it is to be out and I love it for that.
It’s something I’ve felt for years but haven’t been able to put into words, and after reading, I felt less alone.

g
goddessbeth
Mar 29, 2019

I really liked this one. It's always refreshing to read a contemporary YA from a male perspective, and doubly so when the MC seems to know himself at the beginning of the book. But as the story went on, it was clear that Raif had some gaps in his self-knowledge (and his understanding of the world), despite the fact that in many ways he was very mature.

Most of this book is about friendships- and it definitely portrays healthy male friendships as well as somewhat toxic male friendships. It was nice to see a variety of characters, each with their own distinct voice that don't just serve as backdrop or motivation for the MC. In particular, I wanted to see more Alby (mainly because he's the kind of quirky I was drawn to in college). There is a romance, or the prelude to one, and it was handled in a manner both sweet and realistic. I don't want to spoil anything, but there's a bit of bitter with the sweet in here, which is just how I like it.

Overall, this was a great contemporary YA, and the audiobook narrator did an excellent job with it (good vocal inflection and moderation, I could tell each character apart by their voice alone, and he handled multiple genders without coming across as annoying or false).

w
white_ferret_12
Feb 12, 2018

This is a great book that really goes into detail about a different point of view. Is it worth it to almost go back into the closet in hopes of being treated differently? The main boy has never been bullied, but he wants to rid himself of the label of "The Gay Kid". This goes into details about his life and what it feels like to be subtly treated differently.

a
annaisko
Jul 19, 2016

Openly Straight is a great book, with an interesting perspective on coming out that you don't find often.

Rafe's voice is familiar and relatable, with a nice balance of thoughts and plot. He comes out as gay at a young age, and his sexuality is celebrated, but he also can't connect with people because all they see is GAY. So he pretends to be straight at a new school.

I like this book because it reflects how I feel about my sexuality. Being bi is an important part of me, but it's not really a defining character trait. In a perfect world, sexuality only influences the people you date. I feel undertones of that theme, and anyone that's interested in what sexuality means, or different coming out stories should read this book

m
MRR0664
Dec 02, 2015

A humorous look at trying to live a straight life from the perspective of an openly gay teen.

r
Richard Organo
Sep 03, 2015

The ending did not please me at all. The book is oh so good but the ending is a no no.

x
xzhang17
Aug 22, 2015

Openly Straight has several moments that make me just laugh out loud. Additionally, Rafe is so honest and real readers will have no trouble at all understanding how he feels.

w
weirdduck88
Aug 12, 2014

As a teen reading this, this would've been a breath of fresh air to have a narrator who isn't struggling with his sexuality, and where the romance feels realistic and genuine. As an adult reading this (which I am), I can see all the issues Konigsberg is tackles: what it's like to be gay in a changing and progressing society, the conflict to be open vs. being seen and labeled as "the gay", friendship. The other thing about Konigsberg's writing is that his characters (including his previous novel, Out of the Pocket) are well-defined and rounded, even the minor ones. Fantastic writing and great story.

b
bookcrawler
Jun 09, 2014

I judge this book to be excellent. It is very well written, the plot adds a truly fresh perspective on the concept of same-sex love and friendship, and the labeling or (stereo)typing of teenage personalities. What I found so refreshing is that the style of prose and dialogue is neither stilted or antiquated, nor didactical or too filtered through the lens of an adult writer. I judge the book to be an age appropriate read for teens and an equally interesting one for any adult. The dialogue is often funny, but the story holds moments of real drama and suspense. Most importantly, the reader is being challenged to re-think any notions of what it means to be gay. The open ending makes the story an honest one. I liked, and can only recommend, this book.

s
Squirt_tastic
Jan 07, 2014

Fantastic concept, and I think it's great for any teenager as all have to deal with labels. I was slightly disappointed to be left hanging a bit at the end, but otherwise I thought it was really well done.

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xzhang17
Aug 23, 2015

“You can be anything you want, but when you go against who you are inside, it doesn’t feel good.”

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xzhang17
Aug 23, 2015

“We were dancers and drummers and standers and jugglers, and there was nothing anyone needed to accept or tolerate. We celebrated.”

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xzhang17
Aug 23, 2015

“Wouldn't it be nice if we lived in a world where no one thought being gay was even something to ride someone about?”

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xzhang17
Aug 23, 2015

“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.”

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xzhang17
Aug 23, 2015

“The world needs people who are more comfortable standing still. We keep the earth on it axis when everybody else is bouncing around.”

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xzhang17
Aug 22, 2015

xzhang17 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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Re_Bel
Aug 16, 2015

Re_Bel thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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xzhang17
Aug 22, 2015

This is an interesting look into the life of a gay teen (Rafe) who just wants to be normal. So, it is understandable that he does not want to broadcast his sexual orientation to everyone at the all-boys boarding school he will be attending in Natick MA. Rafe is actually pretty excited for his chance to be more than just the gay kid. His plan seems to be going great- at first. Then when he falls in love with one of his newfound friends, he struggles with showing his true emotions.

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