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Bill Konigsberg s first novel, Out of the Pocket, was one of my earliest experiences with LGBT Young Adult and I loved it so very much So I was so excited when I learned that Mr Konisgberg was releasing his sopho novel.Seamus Rafael Goldberg and no, none of his parents are Irish or Rafe is tired with being an openly gay kid in Boulder, Colorado Rafe gets it easy, his hippie parents embrace him being gay and love him still His mother is the president of PFLAG His best friend, Claire Olivia, also doesn t mind But at the same time, Rafe feels like it limits him That he is seen only as the gay kid instead of Rafe So, in his new school in Natick, Massachusetts, Rafe decides that he wants to take a break from being gay.Except that it doesn t go exactly as he plans Yes, at first Rafe enjoys the freedom of being the normal kid be part of the soccer posse, seen as a jock But Rafe realizes that being a jock is just a different label, with consequences that come with it It becomesdifficult when Rafe likes this boy, Ben, and he cannot even be honest about himself.I really, REALLY love this story for being unique and refreshing and thoughtful I love how it questions labels in society that what is seen as good label doesn t always mean positive there is this kid, Robinson, who is not a stereotype gay, and he is tired of being seen as not gay, and he cannot wait to be able to be gay I love all the characters and their different traits I love the little project that the teacher gives Rafe to write a journal about himself, so he can assess himself and why he makes his choices.A couple of friends who did buddy read with me don t like the ending I know that the ending seems to be, well, unfinished view spoiler Rafe doesn t get the boy hide spoiler 3.5 stars I m curious if Bill Konigsberg ever sat at a lunch table with John Green and David Levithan Why, you ask I can t really quite put my finger on the why or how but I felt like Konigsberg was channeling some of the offbeat vibe that the other two authors have been known to use in their own style of writing.Before you groan and say that all three authors are male, or have tackled writing about similar subjects, just hear me out Or read me out, since you can t actually hear me saying anything Openly Straight just has this weirdly wonderful thing going on It s funny, candid, and uncomfortable at times Have we not seen this method of madness with Green or Levithan before Yes Okay, so maybe I m not completely off base.Granted, Openly Straight stands on its own because the story is not one you see every day I might have seen similar ideas before but not with the added bizarre personalities Past similarities came with Lifetime movie serious sadface moments There were no dads karaoke rapping or moms doing naked yoga Rafe s parents reminded me of Gaylord Greg Focker s parents from Meet the Fockers It s all I could picture, and it had me grinning inside of my head I know that I need to close my window shades, unless I want to see a show that no son should see. Can a gay kid pretend to be straight and get away with it This is what we readers are here to find out Rafe moves away to an all boys school odd choice, perhaps in order to get away from his out life in Boulder, CO, where everyone knows and labels him as the gay kid.I get it I really do It s got to suck for people to see your sexual orientation instead of seeing you So maybe being openly gay isn t a curse, but it s fucking exhausting. However, I sort of lost sympathy for Rafe after a while when he realized that he was badly deceiving everyone, and it wasn t going to be pretty when people found out Yes, I get that the story has to go for x amount of pages and that you can t just spill the beans and be done with it, but maybe Rafe needed to be clueless just a little while longer, so I wouldn t be as frustrated with him for not wising up and dealing with reality But this was readable, and it was quirky, so I liked it After all, where else are you going to read lines such as Are you, like, a Republican now tooor ground turkey that tasted like sadness, or even I have a long standing agreement with cows that I won t eat their balls if they won t eat mine While there s nothing new or life changing between the pages and the message might have gotten to be a little too overzealous at times, when you got down to the heart of the matter, it s really all about someone needing to learn to love himself That s a pretty familiar subject for most everyone I think we ve all been there at one point or another Kudos to the author for tackling this tough subject with humor and sincerity. Rafe has already come out as being gay His parents are very accepting, his friends do, and he even does not face bullying because of it.He just feels like he never truly gets to be a normal guy because everyone always sees him as gay So when he gets to go to boarding school he keeps his sexuality a secret Not that he is ashamed He just is tired of the labels Back in Boulder, when people saw me, they saw the GAY kid It was like, every second of my life, I had to be aware of the fact that I was different Once he begins the school he realizes that labels happen to everyone after he joins the soccer team Jock, goth, nerds, they all have labels attached to them This book doesn t do the usual teenage angsty stuff, or at least for me it didn t Rafe actually has a tad bit of sense in his head Even if he does go the liar path.I kept expecting the book to try and pull at my heartstrings It did, just not in the normal young adult book way The main character Rafe knows that he is wrong in lying about himself, but he does it in a thoughtful way that makes you think throughout the whole book.Interspersed throughout the book you have journal pages from Rafe that his teacher who knows his secret is grading You see Rafe grow and change his mind on things that happen.I think or rather hope that one day labeling people will stop No one will stop and stare at two gay guys walking down the hall That no one will think twice about that black guy over in men s clothing My mom has a saying when we ski, I said She always says, Lean forward, and head on down the mountain I love that It s true, right About life It means to be unafraid Lean into the challenges, don t lean back I don t always do it, but I love it Book source Library 4.5 starsI really, really, really loved this book subtracted by I m really, really mad at this book Leaves the total of I really loved this book Openly Straight is witty and clever and made me do the laugh that turns into a chuckle that becomes a chortle whiddled down to a smile back up to a giggle and then ends with a sigh onthan one occasion The writing is current and engaging and the story a new ish take on the YA tale The normal nerdy gay kid and the closeted jock were written in a refreshing way.Rafe has been growing up gay and out He s fully supported by his parents and his community He s an advocate for gay youth But, he s tired of the labels and decides to go start his junior year of high school at an all boys boarding school he also decides not to tell anyone he s gay He meets a variety of friends at school all of whom play a role in your classic YA story, but again, in such a fun and creative way And he falls in love with Ben, an is he straight is he gay is he bi or is he terrified jock oh and one who loves philosophy and uses the word perchance in regular conversation love this kid.Their friendship and their exploration of their feelings for one another were AWESOME True, I ve never met, and doubt I ever will meet, 2well adjusted teenaged boys EVER But, I can suspend reality in order to be a part of their interactions and conversations that I adored My anger towards this book is simply because of this THAT S THE END REALLY I felt a little robbed I get it not all books need to be stamped with The End I just prefer it I want I need to know what happens next Grrrr If you read and enjoyed Almost Like Being in Love, the quirky humor of Openly Straight has a similar feel I thoroughly enjoyed myself and highly reco this book I have been thinking about labels..a lot Sometimes, a label seems superfluous the White girl , while other times it seems to be used as an explanation the Blonde girl On the other hand, the lack of a label could be seen as misleading oh, you didn t say he was a Jock When, if ever, are labels genuinely applicable Openly Straight allows the main character, teen aged Rafe, to search for an answer to this question See, Rafe has an opportunity for a do over Because he is openly Gay, he believes that he knows the perception and stigma that can accompany that label He desperately wishes to know if he would be viewed differently without it Will he find an answer, or will he find himself with evencomplicated questions and fewer answers than he started with Either way, it is a fabulously interesting journey on which we embark, as we accompany Rafe through his year of going from openly gay to slipping back into the closet.well, sort of Even in a relatively controlled experiment, all things won t be equal Rafe was The Gay Boy with no adverse affects in his charmingly indulgent Colorado town He begins to question the wisdom of coming out His acceptance into an East Coast boarding school seems to be the perfect opportunity for a fresh start There is simply no way he could have anticipated the devastation that can accompany a perceived secret.Mr Konigsberg tackles this somewhat sensitive topic head on, honestly, and well..openly The characters are realistically flawed They make mistakes, and don t necessarily learn from them The dialogues, relationships and rivalries are quintessential teen behaviors while Rafe s parents are affably atypical Rafe s story is certainly plausible making his experiences feel very real to this reader I had a vested interest in the outcome of his experiment This book is amazingly written Mr Konigsberg brings up points that, despite my mulling, I had never considered The most important thing that I learned from reading this book is that my issue isn t with labels, it is with the stereo typing that often accompanies the labels I believe that this story translates well for any label, but I am afraid that the audience may be limited simply because the label in Rafe s life is Gay, rather than Jock, or Geek This is one time that I certainly hope I am mistaken, because this is a book that I believe any reader would enjoy This review was written for Buried Under Books Blog. 4.5 starsIs it every gay guy s duty to get out of the closet Rafe doesn t want to deceive people, but he hates being that one gay kid back in his hometown When he moves from Boulder, Colorado to an all boys boarding school in New England, he keeps his homosexuality a secret and pretends to like girls soon enough, he s part of the jock pack, and he really likes it But being openly straight isn t as easy as Rafe thinks, and he feels the pressure when he develops feelings for his teammate Ben, who might be the only guy who really understands him.Rafe took awhile to grow on me, but about halfway through the novel I found myself rooting for him Konigsberg addresses a multitude of real issues the conflict between ingroups and outgroups, the effects of labeling, the importance of your sexuality in regard to your identity, andKonigsberg gives Rafe an honest voice to delve into these topics his confusion and search for self never felt forced or scripted, and the second half of this novel almost pushed it to a 5 star rating Contemporary YA fans will love Openly Straight for its quality writing and its quirky, fresh teenage perspective.I also adored the side characters in this novel Rafe s friendship with Claire Olivia improved as the novel progressed, a great feat for a platonic relationship within a YA novel Many people will appreciate the presence of Rafe s ultra liberal parents his bond with them and how it was sometimes strained but always loving made me smile Rafe s relationship with Ben as a whole won me over with great speed its development and denouement served as my favorite parts of the book Their bromance triggered most of my fanboy like squeals of joy.Overall, highly recommended for fans of realistic YA, glbt books, or a well written teenage voice in general One of my favorites of this year so far review cross posted on my blog, the quiet voice. Dear friends,Look at the list of literary awards this book has been honoured with Sid Fleischman Humor Award 2014 Lambda Literary Award Nominee 2014 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award ALAN NCTE Nominee 2014 American Library Association Rainbow List 2014 Texas Library Association s Tayshas List Top Ten Title 2014 Georgia Peach Award Nominee 2014 Yalsa s Best Fiction for Young Adults 2014 And then ask yourselves WHY FGS I HAVE NOT YET READ IT Though you don t have to do the same It was ME who asked myself this question It was ME who swallowed 336 pages in one sitting It was ME who laughed highlighted laughed highlighted highlighted highlighted laughed smiled laughed highlighted highlighted highlighted highlighted dropped some tears laughed highlighted and then WTF I ADORE the first 90% LOVELOVELOVE IT I don t really know what to think about the last 10% Right now I m trying to find a reasonable explanation for that ending Didn t this book win Sid Fleischman Humor Award THE LAST 10% WAS NOT FUNNY I read even the Acknowledgements and About the author at the end of the book searching for an explanation But one after another Rafe is a normal teenager from Boulder, Colorado He plays soccer He s won skiing prizes He likes to write And he is gay Openly gay in Boulder, Colorado His parents love him, his neighbours love him, he is a beloved gay kid in Boulder, ColoradoBut growing up in Boulder is like growing up in a bubbleIt s why he goes to Natick, an all boys school, almost 3.000 miles away from his home town He wants to start everything from the very beginning Finally, here it was My chance for a do over Here at Natick, I could be just Rafe Not crazy Gavin and Opal s colorful son Not the different guy on the soccer team Not the openly gay kid who had it all figured out. He doens t plan to go back in the closet,he is just tired of feeling different. He decided to stop be open about it He just wants to feel like one of the guys for once I was going to be label free Don t ask, and I won t tell The only way I would actually lie was if I were asked directly, Are you gay In that case, I d say no 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. But how long can something like THIS stay unnoticeable As he s fallen in love with Ben, a tiny insignificance of NOT OPENLY BEING GAY turns into a BIG LIE And lying to a friend sucked. Of course, he ll come to the point when he ought to tell the truth, when he has to stop to pretend to be someone else Will it end good As soon as I tried to remove the label, a lie formed In the end, that lie created a barrier way worse than the original one How crazy is that Ironic, I mean I created a barrier getting rid of a barrier. It s soooooooo worth to read the book to find out what happened here So, read it and for now I shut my mouth.The ending To all HEA junkies It is not a NOT HEA It is real Like real life I d say that it is a good ending So don t afraid to read it OnlyI was sure that I knew at around 50% already EXACTLY how the story would end, and I was OKAY with it Because it is one of those book where the journey is the reward So, when suddenly I got the different ending from that I d predicted, I wasWTF surprised It was like a Disney Movie that suddenly becomes an open ending But I think that slowly I start to understand WHY the author did it And I appreciate his courage and his way of thinking Can you just put a part of yourself on hold And if you do, does it cease to be true How was I expecting to get closer to someone by not being truly meThe writing ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC GREAT AMAZING FUNNY POIGNANT CLEVER WARM HEARTED Great characters, witty, sweet, it goes straightly to my FAVOURITE shelf NO HESITATION.I utterly totally understand WHY this book has such a lot of literary awards It is a literary juwel A MUST READ Better now than tomorrow.Highly highly highly recommended BooktubeAThon Challenge 1 Read a book about a character that is different from you COMPLETE I think this isof a 3.5 stars, but I m feeling really wishy washy about this one I really enjoyed this and I loved all of the characters, but some of the way things were handled in this didn t necessarily sit well with me Wompppppppppaodk jfashkdfjhd Openly Straight is the story of Rafe, a teenager who is terribly tired of being labelled as the gay guy in his city, Boulder Ergo, he decides to go to an all boy boarding school and hide this part of himself Not lie about it, just never mention it.Except, he does lie He invents himself a girlfriend, so he can avoid further inquisition from his jock group of friends on the matter of the heart Rafe is pretty keen on not letting the truth about his sexual orientation slip out, especially now that he s made an extraordinary new masculine friend and has gotten closer to him than to anyone he s ever met.Watching Rafe struggle and oppressing all his feelings for Ben seriously made my heart ache I understood his reasons behind the act of not telling the truth, but it s universally known that the truth always comes out, one way or the other, and I dreaded that moment It is always only a matter of time.Even though Rafe seems fully okay with his sexual orientation for the most part of the story, theit advances and we dig deep into his personality, thewe realize that he needs help accepting the whole label thing and not focusing all of his thoughts on that At the end of the day, what other people see matters less than what we do I wouldn t exactly recommend this for those looking for a transcendent LGBT romance story, because the whole lying thing does have a negative effect on the atmosphere But it s a wonderful novel about acceptance and friendship. ^FREE EBOOK ↡ Openly Straight ⇨ The Award Winning Novel About Being Out, Being Proud, And Being Ready For Something Else Now In PaperbackRafe Is A Normal Teenager From Boulder, Colorado He Plays Soccer He S Won Skiing Prizes He Likes To WriteAnd, Oh Yeah, He S Gay He S Been Out Since Th 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 TimeSo 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 Break 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 Feeling Different, Fitting In, And What It Means To Be Himself