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Openly Straight (Openly Straight #1)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  20,721 Ratings  ·  2,114 Reviews
The award-winning novel about being out, being proud, and being ready for something else . . . now in paperback.

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 whi
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published May 28th 2013 by Arthur A. Levine Books
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Aaron Tidball As someone who came out early, and back in the 90s, I can say that I completely understood where Rafe was coming from. Being openly gay or, really,…moreAs someone who came out early, and back in the 90s, I can say that I completely understood where Rafe was coming from. Being openly gay or, really, even just perceived as gay, when you are in high school ends up being 90% of your identify whether you want it to be or not.(less)
Rachel Wyne No, it is not bad at all to 'just be yourself'. I believe that is the overall message that this book is trying to tell us. We see Rafe go through a…moreNo, it is not bad at all to 'just be yourself'. I believe that is the overall message that this book is trying to tell us. We see Rafe go through a confusing state when it comes to his identity and giving up labels, but in the progress he looses sight of who he really is. Him coming to grips with that toward the end of the reading really allows the reader to see how being true to yourself and allowing these different aspects make up who you are instead of defining you results in being happy with who you are!(less)

Community Reviews

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Apr 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
“You can be anything you want, but when you go against who you are inside, it doesn’t feel good.”

4.5/5 Stars

This was a (nearly) perfect read. I absolutely enjoyed reading Openly Straight . On one hand because I didn't have any expectations towards it and on the other hand because it exceeded them anway.

I was suprised to like this book so much. The LGBT+ book market is still growing and growing. It's hard to find a book in this category that is able to live up to the readers expectations or to s
Jan 10, 2016 rated it liked it

Openly Straight is the story of Rafe, a teenager who is terribly tired of being labelled as the ‘‘gay guy’’ in his city, Boulder. Ergo, he decides to go to an all-boy boarding school and hide this part of himself. Not lie about it, just never mention it.

Except, he does lie. He invents himself a girlfriend, so he can avoid further inquisition from his jock group of friends on the matter of the heart. Rafe is pretty keen on not letting the truth about his sexual orientation slip out, especially no
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Rafe has already "come out" as being gay. His parents are very accepting, his friends do, and he even does not face bullying because of it.
He just feels like he never truly gets to be a "normal" guy because everyone always sees him as "gay".
So when he gets to go to boarding school he keeps his sexuality a secret. Not that he is ashamed. He just is tired of the labels.
"Back in Boulder, when people saw me, they saw the GAY kid. It was like, every second of my life, I had to be aware of the fact t
Apr 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-favorites

4.5 stars

I really, really, really loved this book (subtracted by) I’m really, really mad at this book. Leaves the total of I really loved this book.

Openly Straight is witty and clever and made me do the laugh-that-turns-into-a-chuckle-that-becomes-a-chortle-whiddled-down-to-a-smile-back-up-to-a-giggle-and-then-ends-with-a-sigh on more than one occasion! The writing is current and engaging and the story a new’ish take on the YA tale. The normal nerdy gay kid and the closeted jock were written in
Josu Grilli
Jun 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015-junio

Menuda novela, por Dios. Sin duda, una de mis favoritas de este año y sin duda, una de mis favoritas en general. En la línea del gran Levithan o Chbosky, tenemos una historia realista sobre un romance de un gay haciéndose pasar por heterosexual con su mejor amigo heterosexual. Todo muy normal. La palabra que define a Openly Straight es REALISTA. Sin duda. Un estilo y un ritmo endiabladamente buenos, lleno de conflictos verosímiles y con una pareja que va surgiendo poco
Stacia (the 2010 club)
Jun 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Stacia (the 2010 club) by: Buddy read with TBD girls

3.5 stars. I'm curious if Bill Konigsberg ever sat at a lunch table with John Green and David Levithan. Why, you ask? I can't really quite put my finger on the why or how but I felt like Konigsberg was channeling some of the offbeat vibe that the other two authors have been known to use in their own style of writing.

Before you groan and say that all three authors are male, or have tackled writing about similar subjects, just hear me out. Or read me out, since you can't actually hear me saying an

Dear friends,
Look at the list of literary awards this book has been honoured with:

Sid Fleischman Humor Award (2014)

Lambda Literary Award Nominee (2014)

Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award (ALAN/NCTE) Nominee (2014)

American Library Association Rainbow List (2014)

Texas Library Association's Tayshas List (Top Ten Title) (2014)

Georgia Peach Award Nominee (2014)

Yalsa's Best Fiction for Young Adults (2014)

And then ask yourselves WHY FGS I HAVE NOT YET READ IT?! Though you don't have to do the same. It was ME
4.5 stars

Is it every gay guy's duty to get out of the closet? Rafe doesn't want to deceive people, but he hates being "that one gay kid" back in his hometown. When he moves from Boulder, Colorado to an all-boys' boarding school in New England, he keeps his homosexuality a secret and pretends to like girls - soon enough, he's part of the jock pack, and he really likes it. But being openly straight isn't as easy as Rafe thinks, and he feels the pressure when he develops feelings for his teammate B
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
Jul 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: own
BooktubeAThon Challenge #1: Read a book about a character that is different from you - COMPLETE!

I think this is more of a 3.5 stars, but I'm feeling really wishy washy about this one. I really enjoyed this and I loved all of the characters, but some of the way things were handled in this didn't necessarily sit well with me. Wompppppppppaodk;jfashkdfjhd
Bill Konigsberg's first novel, Out of the Pocket, was one of my earliest experiences with LGBT Young Adult -- and I loved it so very much. So I was so excited when I learned that Mr. Konisgberg was releasing his sophomore novel.

Seamus Rafael Goldberg (and no, none of his parents are Irish!) or Rafe is tired with being an openly gay kid in Boulder, Colorado. Rafe gets it easy, his hippie parents embrace him being gay and love him still. His mother is the president of PFLAG. His best friend, Clair
Vitor Martins
Gente, esse livro foi uma JORNADA.
Eu estava om um pé atrás porque a premissa é a seguinte:

"Garoto que saiu do armário aos 13 anos decide mudar de escola e se passar por hétero porque está cansado de ~rótulos~ mas o que ele não esperava era que iria se apaixonar por um dos caras héteros na sua nova escola."

Aí temos duas das coisas mais estúpidas na minha opinião:
- Gay heteronormativo.
- Gay que se apaixona por hétero.

Mas conforme a história foi andando eu fui me apegando muito ao Rafe (o protagoni
jv poore
Sep 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
I have been thinking about labels…..a lot. Sometimes, a label seems superfluous (the White girl), while other times it seems to be used as an “explanation” (the Blonde girl). On the other hand, the lack of a label could be seen as misleading (oh, you didn’t say he was a Jock). When, if ever, are labels genuinely applicable?

Openly Straight allows the main character, teen-aged Rafe, to search for an answer to this question. See, Rafe has an opportunity for a do-over. Because he is openly Gay, he
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Oct 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
Find all of my reviews at:

Being gay isn’t a choice, but being out definitely is. Raised by some seriously hippie-dippie parents, Rafe’s coming out was a breeze. We’re talking the school held a special celebration, his mother became the president of the local PFLAG and Rafe began traveling to different schools in the area to mentor other kids. It was wonderful – until Rafe became JUST the gay guy. No one except his best friend, Claire Olivia, was interested in j
Oct 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommended to no by: Sapphire
“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.”

There are two things you should know about this book:
1. Mr. Scarborough is the best character to ever exist.
2. It will take your beliefs apart, and question them.

“We’re a pretty tolerant place,” Steve said, an edge to his voice.
“Ah, interesting word. Toler
Peter Monn
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book so much! Check out my full review on my booktube channel at
In Openly Straight, Mr Konigsberg explores, among other things, labeling and stereotyping, identity and self-perception, and the triptych 'tolerance-acceptance-celebration' when it comes to difference/diversity.

The book is well-written, in a fresh and funny and a largely non-sententious way.

The thing is, though, I didn't like Rafe, the main character. I enjoyed certain parts of him, but I didn't really like him as a person and my opinion of him didn't improve in the last quarter of the book, eit
Mar 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition



(view spoiler)
Nick Pageant
Nov 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kiddies
BR with Mishy!

Rafe is an out and proud high school student who decides to go back into the closet because he's tired of being "the gay kid." He enrolls in an all-boys prep school and tries to live as himself without the gay label.

I really enjoyed this book. The MC is charming and witty. The supporting characters, particularly Rafe's parents, are very entertaining. The love story is poignant and felt just right for a YA book.

I deducted 1 star because the book does drag at times, but the payoff is
Ash Wednesday
May 31, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ash Wednesday by: Brigid

There are books that will make you think, books that will make you laugh and a book that will change the way you listen to "Hollaback Girl".

But only one can give you all that… and moar.

I don't think I can write a review worthy of this book's wit and brilliance. I love how I never once stopped functioning as a thinking reader but it didn't cause me serious, debilitating pain in the process. No one got beaten up, no one nearly got raped, there was no crying in the rain while clutching som
Apr 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a book about learning that sometimes you need to get lost to find yourself again.

Thanks to my friend Dylan for the recommendation. Follow his BookTube Channel! Dylanthereader5!
Emir Ibañez
Tengo muchos, muchísimos sentimientos encontrados con esta novela. Pero de una buena manera. Hace rato que un libro young adult no me dejaba pensando al terminarlo. Principalmente porque todavía no tengo bien en claro si Rafe me cayó bien o mal.
Además de lo que dice la sinopsis del libro, no hay mucho para contar con respecto al argumento, no hay ningún misterio ni ningún spoiler que pueda llegar a hacerse, es un libro para conocer a los personajes.

El eje principal de la historia es la constante
Nina ✿ Looseleaf Reviews ✿

WOW. Like w o w. I goddamn loved this book! It's both a quirky high schoolers interacting feel-good kinda book and a gut wrenching exploration of identity and "coming out." I'm so glad I picked this up with the sequel already out, because there's no way I could wait to pick it up!

I have to sit on this review for a bit, but in the meantime, I'll leave this incoherent ramble to encourage everyone to read this asap.
Apr 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
Spoiler-ish note: the following discusses what happens to Rafe and Ben, but i think it's pretty clear that it becomes a cluster-fuck

As a middle schooler Rafe was out to his family, friends, and the entire community. His mother, stereotypically overbearing and insanely well adjusted to her son’s sexuality, Boudia-ed off her old life and into the life of a gay parent. Equally annoying—annoying because it stereotyped the type of man who accepts his son’s homosexuality—was his father, a man in-touch
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbt-characters
* * * *
4 / 5

~mini review~

Openly Straight was emotional and angry and sad and such a fantastic read. Our main character Rafe has been out of the closet for a number of years and his parents have been massively supportive (perhaps overly so), but now it's gotten to the point where Rafe feels like being gay has become his sole defining quality. So when he transfers to an all-boys boarding school, Rafe decides that he isn't going to be as open about his sexuality as before. But then he meets Ben, q
This is one of those 3 star ratings, that feel a bit weird, because I actually really enjoyed reading this book. It's way ahead in the entertainment level and quality of writing compared to quite a few other books on my 3 star list.
There were just a few things that bothered me. Sure, you might say that every book has those and what are they compared to all the things you loved about it... but they just REALLY bothered me A LOT. They took me out of the story.
(I also actually expect the sequel t
⚔ Silvia ⚓
I created a barrier getting rid of a barrier.

Openly Straight is primarily an important book.
It’s also a pretty enjoyable read, and it can be read as just that, but I think where it shines is its ability to make you think about the way we label ourselves and others.
Does it give you a definite answer? No. If you’re looking for a book that will hand you an easy, universal truth, this book is not it.

But let’s talk about the content first.

Rafe is out of the closet, and in his hometown everyone i
Apr 10, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars... I like the premise of this! Young Rafe is gay, and out of the closet. Sick of how that defines him in the eyes of people he decides to come across as straight when entering an all boy boarding school several states away. Many hardships follow, including him having to pretend his female BFF back home is his girlfriend. Soon he finds himself head over heels in love with his new best friend, and eventually digs himself into a deep hole he can't get out of. This is a touching, sometimes ...more
Jul 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Spencer by: Dalton Snyder

“The hole in my heart, I can’t even begin to describe. It’s hard when you open your heart and let someone in and then suddenly they’re not in it anymore. It doesn’t matter whose fault it is; that empty spot stings so bad that you want to find any kind of relief, or wrap yourself up so tight you can’t feel it anymore. I knew it might be there a little while. Or maybe even a long while. For both of us.”


This is another book I read per my boyfriend Dalton's request. It
I stand by absolutely everything I said last time, except for adding that I really, really love Rafe's voice. Yes, he makes shitty decisions. But damn if he isn't a hilarious little cinnamon roll of a dork while he's making those shitty decisions.

I feel like I might have enjoyed this book a little more than I did if I'd read it BEFORE I read Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda. Because Simon was my favourite book of 2015, and when it tops a list of 400 books, it's up on a pretty hi
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Bill Konigsberg was born in 1970 in New York City. Expectations were high from birth - at least in terms of athletics. His parents figured he'd be a great soccer player, based on his spirited kicking from inside the womb. As it turned out, the highlight of his soccer career was at Camp Greylock in 1978, when he was chosen for the Camp's "D" team. There were only four levels. Bill played alongside ...more
More about Bill Konigsberg

Other books in the series

Openly Straight (3 books)
  • Openly, Honestly (Openly Straight, #1.5)
  • Honestly Ben (Openly Straight, #2)

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“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.” 98 likes
“The world needs people who are more comfortable standing still. We keep the earth on it axis when everybody else is bouncing around.” 57 likes
More quotes…