Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Guy Pick: Openly Straight

Openly Straight
by Bill Konigsberg
Arthur A. Levine Books
2013
336 pages

Available June 1, 2013

Clever, funny, and poignant, Openly Straight will touch readers and make them think.

Rafe is an openly gay high school student, the only child of "insane" parents. His parents are quirky; his mother does naked yoga and Rafe says he's pretty careful to pull down the blinds, "...unless I want to see a show that no son should ever see"--his father loves to sing and dance and put on a good show. Rafe barely tolerates it, but he realizes that other people think his dad is funny and a great sport.

Rafe plays soccer and gets along with all his classmates, but he wants to be just Rafe, not Rafe, the gay guy. His answer to his problem---transfer to an all boys' school in New England and reinvent himself. He decides not to tell anyone he's gay and see if the guys will accept "just Rafe."

Rafe leaves behind his best friend Claire Olivia--a girl he's bonded with over their parents' NMI--"Naming While Intoxicated." Both Rafe and Claire Olivia swear that their parents must have been drunk when choosing their names. Claire Olivia feels deserted and tells Rafe that he's changed.

Boys at the private school accept Rafe as straight and straight Rafe is soon befriending jocks and playing football on the lawn. When Rafe attends his new creative writing class, Mr. Scarborough wants the class to be introspective and write about themselves, but how can Rafe write about himself when he's covering so much up?

Openly Straight will make readers laugh out loud and experience empathy for Rafe who is just trying to fit in.

Highly recommended grade 9-up. Language, gender identity.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)

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