Openly Straight – Bill Konigsberg

16100972Openly Straight – Bill Konigsberg
Published May 28th 2013 by
Arthur A. Levine Books
Source: eGalley via NetGalley (Thanks Scholastic!)

Rafe has a pretty good life. He likes sports and hanging out with friends and just happens to be gay. His parents and best friend could not be more supporting. There is only one small problem, he hates being known as the gay kid. He doesn’t get bullied or picked on but he does get treated differently. He decides he wants a fresh start and finds an all-male boarding school across the country. He starts a new school year being known as just Rafe.

This was such a unique story to me and I really enjoyed it. Rafe was such a great character that just simply wants to be normal but as long as people think of him as the gay kid he won’t feel normal. I felt that even though Rafe was not being directly bullied at his old school, he was receiving some form of it. Without this sounding bad, Rafe was incredibly normal. Being treated differently for being gay is the same as being treated differently for being fat or Hispanic or tall. Why should any of these things cause someone to be treated differently?

Rafe begins many friendships at his new school and I thought this is where the novel really pulled me in. At first Rafe thinks he wants to be associated with the jocks rather than his geeky roommates. He soon befriends the joke that also happens to be a bit of an outsider. Their friendship evolves, as does Rafe’s friendship with his roommates and he soon finds himself less associated with the people he originally thought he wanted to be friends with.

This story is written similar to Sarah Dessen’s novels. There were times when heavy stuff was going on but it never felt too heavy or overwhelming. It is that magical quality of heavy and light at the same time. I always love this because reading something too serious or too heavy can make me uncomfortable and sometimes cause me to stop reading the book altogether. I did not find this at all in Konigsberg’s writing and that made a wonderful story.



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