Sunday, March 23, 2014

Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg

"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."

A quite nice novel, if I do say so myself. It was incredibly easy to read, but managed to tackle some really important concepts as well. It balanced the serious questions with some quality color and fun--all of the characters were hugely interesting and unique to read. I liked that none of them were a glossy stereotype of a character; each one had things that I wanted to hug them for and things that would probably get under my skin. It wasn't really separated into "good character" and "evil character." And it was willing to discuss issues that tend to be a little more taboo in books, doing it in such an offhand/straightforward way that I didn't really even register that it's usually an issue. It's just an added part of the book. So if you're not afraid of a tiny bit of that, I really recommend reading this. There's a copy at Kettleson.

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