Review of the Week

openly straightKonigsberg, Bill. Openly Straight.  Fiction. A. Levine, 2013. 336p. $17.99. 978-0-545-50989-3. OUTSTANDING.  GRADES 8-12.

High school sophomore Rafe Goldberg is openly gay, out to his parents, his friends, and his soccer team. Although his coming out has not been difficult, he feels as if all people see when they look at him is “gay boy,” never just Rafe. In an effort to step out from behind this label, he transfers to an all-boys boarding school in a different state, deciding to be “openly straight.” He won’t lie about his sexuality; he just won’t discuss it. At first he is excited to have the relationships with guys he’d been missing before, but things get complicated for Rafe when a friendship may be evolving into something more, and he faces the consequences of hiding a part of himself. This excellent book is a funny and honest examination of the feelings, confusion, and desire to belong that could be experienced by anyone who feels they’ve been labeled. It is also an insightful look into how the labels we think we carry are really seen by ourselves versus by those around us.

Carla Riemer, Claremont Middle School


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