“But I do think that when we choose the easy path, where people or society reward us for being what they want us to be, against who we really are, a kind of death occurs. To the soul.”
Ben Carver is back to normal. He’s getting all As in his classes at the Natick School. He was just elected captain of the baseball team. He’s even won a big scholarship for college, if he can keep up his grades. All that foolishness with Rafe Goldberg last semester is over now, and he just needs to be a Carver, work hard, and stay focused.
There’s Hannah, a gorgeous girl who attracts him and distracts him. There’s his mother, whose quiet unhappiness he’s noticing for the first time. School is harder, the pressure higher, the scholarship almost slipping away. And there’s Rafe, funny, kind, dating someone else…and maybe the real normal that Ben needs.
Openly Straight, the first book in this series, was a pleasant read. But the ending left something to be desired for. Now I’m not the type of person that loves to read about a character’s inner conflict about his sexuality. But in this case it wasn’t as annoying as it sometimes can be. It was in fact interesting how Ben could be gay-for-Rafe and otherwise simply straight.
This book, along with Openly Straight, talked a lot about labels and how this can make people feel as though they are confined to a box and going outside that box makes the world think you are unusual simply because you do not fit into the constraints they put on you. Philosophy and psychology and sociology are very interesting to me. If you can find a way to portray your views, especially if they are complicated in nature or hard to hear, kudos to you.
I think Konigsberg did an excellent job making this book a very fun book to read but also a very relevant and necessary book in our time.
As for the loose ends that Openly Straight left us with, Honestly Ben is just what we need to tie them up. From exposition to falling action and conclusion the book reads well while having excellent insights to share with the world.
“And during, I realized that the labels didn’t matter, because when two people feel that sort of pull toward each other, it just works, and the only label that mattered was that I was in love. Totally, fully, ecstatically.”
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
“My dad always says this thing, that when you have a foot in tomorrow and a foot in yesterday, you’re pissing all over the present.”
“As I opened the car door and stepped back into the chilly night, I was thinking that maybe the key to life is to have goldfish memories. So you can’t remember the time a friend hurt you. So you can give second and third and even fourth chances. To yourself too. Because sometimes it takes multiple”
Where to find Honestly Ben
*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.
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Happy Reading . . .