Openly Straight by Bill KonigsbergOpenly Straight by Bill Konigsberg

Openly Straight

byBill Konigsberg

Paperback | April 28, 2015

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The award-winning 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.

BILL KONIGSBERG won the Lambda Literary Award for Young Adult fiction for Out of the Pocket. Before writing novels, he was a sportswriter for The Associated Press and He won a GLAAD Media Award for a coming-out essay he wrote while working at, and he blogs at Bill lives in Chandler, Arizo...
Title:Openly StraightFormat:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 7.97 × 5.27 × 0.63 inPublished:April 28, 2015Publisher:SCHOLASTIC INCLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0545798655

ISBN - 13:9780545798655


Rated 5 out of 5 by from So good!! I very much enjoyed this book! It's funny and it's just a really good book to read in a sitting or two (I binge read it lol)
Date published: 2018-06-20
Rated 3 out of 5 by from An important book, I just wasn't the right audience to fully appreciate it Despite my rating, this is a good book and I enjoyed it. I loved that both parents were present and active in Rafe's life which is sadly rare in YA, even contemporary. The characters were interesting and I enjoyed getting to know them. I could see Rafe's side of things and understood why he did what he did. However, I was slightly disconnected from it and it didn't wow me. Also, I thought the writing assignment from the teacher was borderline creepy and I'm not sure how likely a 'tell me everything about you and your deepest darkest feelings and trust me know one else will ever find out' would work in the real world. Rafe being Jewish seemed to me to be thrown in randomly at the end. Despite this and my rating, I would highly recommend this book.
Date published: 2018-02-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Okay Sothis book is really great, I was superexcited to read it and I'm happy to have read it. It wasn't this amazingly wonderful to die for story, but it deffinitely kept me interested and I am certain to pick up the sequel.
Date published: 2017-12-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Truly Amazing and Heartfelt Novel! I can't WAIT to read the sequel. I pre-ordered Honestly Ben already and I'm just way too excited. Openly Straight is a beautifully honest story that follows Rafe as he begins a school year at a Boarding School. Back home Rafe was known as the gay kid and although almost everyone was supportive he became sick of being the posterboy for 'Gay' and decides to not disclose his sexuality at this new school. The novel is a very honest depiction of life, regardless of sexuality, and how important identity is. Openly Straight is an absolute must read for any lover of contemporary fiction!
Date published: 2017-02-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brutally Honest The story was really good with a plot and amazing character. The idea that labels are placed on everyone by society when they identify with someone is brutally honest. Loved the book!
Date published: 2016-11-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Absolute must read for contemporary fans Openly Straight is one of those novels that is so fantastic for so many different reasons. It’s a layered story with complex characters and I hope my review does it justice. To start out, I liked that it wasn’t a coming out story. Not that I don’t think coming out stories are important. I just think there are a lot out there already and there are other issues that need to be addressed. Particularly the issues of labels. Rafe wants to go to boarding school because he’s tired of being known as “the gay guy.” It’s not that people aren’t understanding or accepting. But anyone is going to be annoyed if you’re only known for one thing. People are complex and I understood Rafe’s desire to be known for more than just being gay. His methods may not have been the wisest but I think his motivation is something all readers – young and old, gay or straight – will be able to relate to. In addition to labels, Openly Straight is also about friendship and the different forms love can take. Throughout Rafe’s experiment at boarding school, we get an up close and personal look at his relationships with a bunch of different people – his parents, his best friend, her nerdier roommates and in particular a boy named Ben. He loves all of these people in different ways and each relationship affects him and changes him. I liked that Bill Konigsberg didn’t just focus this story on Rafe finding a boyfriend/falling in love. He made his story a lot more rounded than that. An added bonus to Openly Straight were the bits of writing advice that appeared as the story progressed. As part of one of Rafe’s classes, he submits a journal that is read and critiqued by his creative writing teacher. As an aspiring writer myself, I found a lot of tips incredibly helpful in terms of examining my own work and I think others will too. Finally this book really made me want to move to Boulder CO. It just seems so wonderful there! It was a nice juxtaposition of the incredibly accepting area that Rafe comes from and a the more challenging (though not expressly negative one) that Rafe moves to. Recommendation: An absolute must read for contemporary fans, Openly Straight is a touching and poignant read that will speak to readers of all ages. This and other reviews at More Than Just Magic (
Date published: 2013-07-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from wise, funny, real and beautifully sensitive 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
Date published: 2013-06-20

Read from the Book

From OPENLY STRAIGHTAs I stuffed my second empty duffel bag into the dorm closet, I decided on a shower, since I smelled like my expiration date had come and gone weeks ago. A guy zoomed by the doorway, then I heard the footsteps slow and stop. "Hey, guy," he said. "We're gettin' a game going downstairs, do you...holy Jesus!?"What?" I said."You look just like Schroeder.""From Peanuts?""What? No. This kid. Graduated last year. You could be his brother. I'm the first to tell you that?" the guy said, revealing a flawless set of pearly, white teeth.I smiled back, dazzled by him. I hoped I wasn't blushing. "You're the first to tell me anything. You're the first person I've met here.""You're kidding. Well, we're playing touch football, could use another player or two," he said. "You comin'?""Um, sure," I said. Showering could definitely wait.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Openly Straight: * " An exceptionally intelligent, thought-provoking, coming-of-age novel about the labels people apply to us and that we, perversely, apply to ourselves . . . With its capacity to invite both thought and deeply felt emotion, Openly Straight is altogether one of the best gay-themed novels of the last ten years." -Booklist, starred review* " Readers and discussion groups looking for new and deeper ways to think about what it means to live honestly in a world that sorts by labels will find this fresh and evocative." -Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review" Konigsberg eviscerates the 'don't ask, don't tell' philosophy, slyly demonstrating just how thoroughly assumptions of straightness are embedded in everyday interactions. For a thought-provoking, creative, twenty-first-century take on the coming-out story, look no further." -Horn Book