“The world needs people who are more comfortable standing still. We keep the earth on it axis when everybody else is bouncing around.”


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 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.

Personal Experiences

I first came across this book during a summer reading challenge. It sounded like an interesting read – a play on how the story normally goes. I picked it up later as an e-book on the library’s website. 

Gay romance books are typically always cookie-cutter style. They change elements here and there, but the resolution and the problem are typically the same. I’m not saying that all of those similar elements were absent from this book, but they were in face many of them missing. I liked that. I also liked the wicked and unusual humor of the book and the numerous literary and historical references. 

Without spoiling anything though, the ending was weak in my opinion. There were a lot of loose ends that simply lay there untouched. Konigsberg mentioned that he wasn’t even planing to write a sequel until the many fans of this book contacted him. For that I am grateful. 

Overall this book was an interesting fun read that was well worth the time I spent.


“It’s hard to be different,” Scarborough said. “And perhaps the best answer is not to tolerate differences, not even to accept them. But to celebrate them. Maybe then those who are different would feel more loved, and less, well, tolerated.”

“You can be anything you want, but when you go against who you are inside, it doesn’t feel good.”

“Guilt is about something you do. Shame is about who you are.”

“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.”

Where to find Openly Straight

Indie Bound*

*If you are unaware, I have a video on how to use Indie Bound as a resource on how to find books

**Also, if you have a Windows Phone, there is a really good EPUB reader app called Bookviser Reader. You can check out their website here. If you have an Android phone, you can check out an app called Lithium which is a similar EPUB reader.

Note: You might notice that below I have inserted what looks like a citation. I have received more than a few private comments that have asked for a MLA citation of a certain post. I have done this. If you have any questions please feel free to comment below or email me at Contact Me. Please use this new edition to your advantage. I have done this for most of my posts, but if you happen to need a citation for a post that doesn’t have one, again contact me via comments or email. Thank you so much for supporting me and my blog.

Happy Reading . . .

Cite this article as: Serene Haroon, "Openly Straight (#1) by Bill Konigsberg," in {sereneharoon.com}, August 8, 2019, http://sereneharoon.com/2019/08/openly-straight-1-by-bill-konigsberg/.

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157 thoughts on “Openly Straight (#1) by Bill Konigsberg”

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