Description from Goodreads:
“A funny, honest novel about being out, being proud . . . and being ready for something else.
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.”
Miss Riki’s Review:
I dare you to read OPENLY STRAIGHT and not immediately fall in love with Rafe Goldberg and his amazing family. Then I dare you to keep reading and not fall in love with his best friend Claire Olivia and his crush Ben. Every character in this novel is richly depicted and highly likeable. These are kids that you want to surround yourself with in real life and you’ll find yourself rooting for them in every way.
OPENLY STRAIGHT tells the story of what happens when an energetic, funny, and well-rounded gay kid goes away to boarding school to reinvent himself. He’s not exactly going back in the closet, but he doesn’t want to be defined as “the gay kid” anymore. At first Rafe is thrilled with his success at being just one of the guys. He plays soccer and showers with his teammates and tries his best not to give away his big secret. When he starts to get close to sweet, careful Ben, Rafe has to re-examine the new identity he has chosen for himself and decide when the truth is the only viable option.
Rafe is a compelling and thoughtful narrator with a laugh-out-loud humor that made me smile on nearly every page. Every awkward moment leading up to his big revelation was a joy to read. Besides amazing lead characters, even the supporting cast was delightful. I loved his teacher, Mr. Scarborough, who pushed Rafe to examine his own actions and ultimately helped him to make the right decision. And oh, Rafe’s family! It was so nice to read a young adult novel that had the parents play such a large role in the protagonist’s life. Rafe’s parents are amazingly supportive and endearing.
OPENLY STRAIGHT will make you laugh, cry, and think about truth and identity in new ways. The dialogue is sparkling and witty and the boarding school setting is well rendered and fun. I highly recommend this book for adults and young adults alike.