Monday, August 19, 2013

Book Review - Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg

A funny, honest novel about being out, being proud . . . and being ready for something else.

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.

336 Pages
Arthur A. Levine Books
4/5 Stars

I’ve been reading a fair share of books with LGBT characters lately, and with the exception of Hannah Moskowitz’s Gone, Gone, Gone, they’ve all focused too strongly on their characters’ sexual orientation to actually make them seem real.  It’s like these authors feel like they have to shove in our faces that they’re writing a GAY BOOK, and it’s just like…no.  Stop it.  I don’t live every day of my life obsessing over the fact that I’m straight, my identity is not attached to the genitalia I’m attracted to, and it’s no different for gay people.  Openly Straight understands this and gives us a wonderfully fun -- and surprisingly deep -- reading experience.