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Honestly Ben

(Openly Straight #2)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  6,280 ratings  ·  901 reviews
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
Hardcover, 330 pages
Published March 28th 2017 by Arthur A. Levine Books
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Abby I believe the newest update on the release in March 2017.

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I believe the newest update on the release in March 2017.

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Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,280 ratings  ·  901 reviews

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Jun 24, 2016 rated it liked it
"We change. We keep changing. We won’t be finished products ’til the day we die."

Openly Straight is one of my all-time favourite books. No wonder I was hoping for a sequel, especially because the ending wasn't exactly what I had wished for.
Honestly Ben made my wish come true, while not fulfilling it at the same time.

The Good Stuff:
-Ben & Rafe finally end up together.
-Bill Kongisberg's sense of humour is A+ (most of the time)
-The author touches many important subjects such as sexuality and sex
Dec 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Please pleeeease let them end up together pleeeease pleeeease .
jv poore
Ben is considerate, thoughtful and enviably introspective beyond his years. He is also an adorably awkward, adolescent farm-boy attending an all-boys boarding school, on scholarship. As the first Junior to be captain of the baseball team, the recipient of a prestigious award (the acceptance of which requires a speech) and a student struggling with calculus; Ben’s mind is full. No time to contemplate how a straight guy could have crushed so hard on a gay dude.

The charismatic, somewhat quirky, and
Megan Collene
Mar 30, 2017 rated it did not like it

After almost an entire book of biphobic remarks, Konigsberg does NOT get to have a character casually drop “bisexual invisibility” into a conversation in the last ten pages of the story.

Like, WHAT?!

Yargh. Okay, let me begin again.

I have been so excited for this book. I loved Ben when I read Openly Straight, and like many, I wanted to see the continuation of his story. I was so excited that, two days ago, I actually went to the book release party, but after reading the blurb at the bottom of
prag ♻
Bill Konigsberg sure knows how to write an important book. What he doesn’t know, is how to write a fun contemporary. Or maybe it’s just me. Don’t get me wrong—this could possibly be a five star read for you. I just didn’t connect to it at all.

WHY YOU SHOULD READ THIS BOOK (even though I rated it 3 stars):

It's hilarious. Ben’s narration is so much better than Rafe’s, I can hardly remember why I gave that four stars.
I am convinced that in many, many ways—buoyancy included—I am a Czech dumplin
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite
Perfect , Funny , all beautiful Things in this book 💜💜💜✨’
May 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lgbtqia, ya
I think I get what Konigsberg was trying to do with Ben, but it still comes off as bi erasure from a character (and by extension, an author) who THINKS he understands what bisexuality is but really, really doesn't. He thinks because he's only been seriously attracted to one boy and only had fleeting thoughts about others, and is still mostly attracted to girls, that means he can't be bisexual. He also falls into some of the false stereotypes about bi people always being interested in more than o ...more
Mar 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
BR with Prag

TW for: psychological abuse (not acknowledged with this particular name), homophobia.

(maybe 4,5 stars? Idk, the rating system is messing with my brain)

I really enjoyed this book, maybe even more than Openly Straight. It's just that Ben's voice resonated better with me and I was more interested in his background than Rafe's.

Honestly Ben is the sequel to Rafe and Ben's story, but to me it feels like more than that. Sure, it's a story about two boys surrounded by a cast of amazing
It was really interesting reading this immediately after Ramona Blue, since the two had a lot in common in terms of the approach to sexual fluidity, but coming from opposite ends of the queer spectrum. Both kept the protagonist pretty (but not entirely) firmly in their original ID, preferring to focus on their current partners rather than a label, and both rejected the bisexual label because it didn't feel like the right fit.

I know the idea of "Gay For You" (which ends up being the closest thing
Jan 14, 2016 rated it really liked it

brb dying

Please tell me this this book is a follow-up of what happened in Openly Straight. Promise me there'll be Rafe in it and that he's one of the main characters!!!!

I'll read it as soon as it's released.


Edit: I read it! review to come!
Apr 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Endings are important. They are the lasting impression of the book; most of the time. And sometimes they determine wether I'm up for a reread or not. Here's the thing about the author of this book: his endings are always lacking.
When I first read Openly Straight, I was gutted by the abrupt way the book just seemed to... stop. But upon knowing there's a sequel, I rested assured that it was a single case and that it was actually a cliffhanger, not an ending, and that sucked less. But then I read a
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-4
Loved this sequel to "Openly Straight" even more than the first book. Ben is such an interesting character, and it was so great to get a novel from his perspective where his family relationships could be explored. As much as I loved Rafe and the original drama between the two of them, the developments here were even more interesting to read as now things have been taken to a whole new level and Ben has to decide what it is he really wants.

This sequel raised some great questions about language an
What the heck happened between book 1 and 2? I seriously loved Openly Straight and had hopes of loving this one. Maybe even liking it. Unfortunately, after diving into Honestly Ben I was just completely disappointed. Not even the Boston scenes brought me pleasure or happiness because I was just there last year.

Ugh, Ben just annoyed me so much in this one. I have no idea what the heck happened to this cute guy that I liked so much. I'm not mad that he was trying to figure out himself in this boo
This is a really great sequel and it didn't totally disappoint. I will say that this does use the 'gay for you' trope, however Ben does consider bisexuality and concludes that the label isn't right for him. That's a real drawback for me as I was really hoping he would be bisexual, as that was what I thought when I read the first book back in 2014. However, his feelings for Rafe don't disappear just because he is straight, which I really liked. But I wouldn't recommend it if you want bisexual rep ...more
Jul 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: audible, m-m, m-f
4 stars for the narrator. He did a solid job. My problem was I just finished listening to another narrator read book 1. So, I had the voices of the characters in my head for how he read them. It was weird having them change on me lol.

2 stars for the story. I did not like this one as much as the first book. In fact, I barely liked it and probably would have Dnf'd if I read it on my own.

This is Ben's story and it was all about the drama going on in his life. I honestly wish it was more of him and
3.75 stars? I think??

I have been looking forward to this book for a REALLY long time now. Well. For at least a year. I read Openly Straight at the beginning of last year and thoroughly enjoyed it with the exception of the AND THEN THE BOOK ENDS ending, which made me scream rude words about Bill Konigsberg. So when I found out that there was going to be a sequel, I was pretty thrilled.

And for the most part, I enjoyed this. I liked Ben's voice a lot. It's a compelling - if frequently frustrating
Apr 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya, series, mm-romance, lgbt
This rating was tough and I feel very conflicted. There were parts of the book I absolutely loved (e.g. Toby being genderfluid, I liked Hannah, discussions on privilege & locker room culture, the friendship between the four guys) and they made me want to give it 4 stars. But there were some major issues for me too.

My main issue with this sequel was the gay-for-you. I've always disliked gay-for-you stories because the bi erasure is incredibly frustrating. I'm disappointed because I honestly expec
Kaje Harper
Apr 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, m-m, ya
This is the third book in the series (if you count the free short story as second) and I strongly advise reading them in order. Not just because you need to know the events and context, but because each of the novels is written in a single POV. The first book was Rafe's. And you need to have read it for that more-intimate knowledge of Rafe - of his own confusion and insecurities. Because here, only seeing him from the outside, he can appear less than sympathetic in this story. Ben goes through s ...more
Apr 17, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: trash
I don't know how to feel about this book... I love the characters but I was kinda hurt as a bisexual person at the way the book treated bisexuality. I read the explanation the author gave but it was basically "I'm aware of bi erasure but I'll contribute to it anyway"

so idk. I thought this book would make me happy but it kinda hurt me instead. I'm still giving it two stars bc like I said I love the characters and I appreciate the happy ending but yeah :/

ETA: u know what? i do know how i feel. it
For me these characters feel like home for some reason.
*Received from Edelweiss in return for an honest review*
Mr. Konigsberg has done it again, I am even more in love with the story and characters than I was prior.

Honestly Ben takes place a little while after Openly Straight with both characters still dealing with pain and heartbreak. Except for this time, we're following Ben's perspective. Ben is the quiet, history nerd who just wants to play baseball, get good grades and make his family proud. Well, at least that's what everyone thinks.

This boo
jessica ☾
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
Yikes, I don’t know what went wrong here. I absolutely fell in love with the first book, and while I enjoyed getting Bens POV in the novella, I don’t really think his perspective was suited to a full length story. I couldn’t get a handle on his personality and it almost felt like I was experiencing the story through a thick shroud of fog. I’m really happy with the ending though, which is saved it a bit for me.
Mar 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I loved this. Well worth the wait to read about the continuation of Ben and Rafe's story. Now I want to go back and read Openly Straight again. (Openly Straight is currently 99 cents for the ebook, and one of my favorite books, so go check it out if you haven't read it!) ...more
Crisanda (Sapphire)
4.5 stars

Don't be fooled by the fun looking cover of this book. Bill Konigsberg excels at writing important must-read books that make you think, but Honestly Ben is a little too heavy to be fun.

Sharing my favourite quotes:

- Misogyny is so pervasive that the idea of being associated with female behavior freaks guys out. I think that it says something interesting about men that they love women so deeply and yet hold them in such low esteem.

- What if your limit is unacceptable to you?

- Complic
Daniel Carpio
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobooks, lgbt
What an amazing story. Definitely one of my favorite books this year. I found Bens POV a lot more interesting than Rafes. He is such a complex, well rounded character. I just wanted to be his friend! I read the author isn't going to make a sequel to this, which is kind of disappointing seeing as we never learned what is going to happen to Ben. Is his dad going to love him again and learn to accept him? is he going to go back to school? whats gonna happen with his scholarship? Sooo many questions ...more
Yes, I give this 5 stars, but the story isn't perfect. And I feel that it ends on a cliffhanger because I don't know what happens to Ben at school or with the scholarship.

Now, I really, really, really enjoyed this! I loved Ben and Race since book 1, and was so sad when they broke up. This books is a fun read and I laughed more than once. But it also has a very serious side too. Not angsty, so don't let that stop you. This is a very real story, with very real characters with real life problems.
Oct 26, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
My brain isn't functioning at full capacity today for some reason, so I'm having a really hard time writing this review. lol Bear with me.

Okay, so this one was better than the first, but not by much.

It was not nearly as annoying to be in Ben's head, and I wasn't rolling my eyes every time he spoke, so I count that as a win.

Some things still felt unnecessarily dramatic, especially things with Rafe. He is just not a great person imo (and I still can't stand his family or Claire Olivia), and most
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
I was a really big fan of Openly Straight. I thought it was one of the greatest books and so cute and funny.

I re-read it right before this one. After three years, the magic had cooled off quite a bit.

So Honestly Ben definitely didn't recapture that initial magic. It was a slow read. I definitely think it captured Ben's personality. He did spend chapters alone, just thinking. Ben is the type of character who needs a lot of people around him, giving things energy. That's where a character like Han
May 15, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: lgbtq-read

What the hell happened between book one and book two?!

Ok so. I shipped Ben and Rafe so hard in the first book and starting this book, while they're not together, I didn't expect Ben to go and get a new girlfriend and denying completely his attraction for Rafe. Or at least not for most of the book!

Ben also mentioned how he wasn't gay or bi because of course, if you're not attracted to random naked guys on Google, it means you're straight... I wasn't sure how to explain some of the things that b
Emm  Louis
Mar 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I think I may have liked this even more than the first book, which is rare!
Going into this book I didn't think I even liked Ben as a character, but hearing things from his perspective really endeared me to him.
I did have a few problems with the treatment of Hannah, but overall it was a really enjoyable read, with such a great closing line!
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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

Other books in the series

Openly Straight (2 books)
  • Openly Straight (Openly Straight, #1)

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