Dahlia's Reviews > Honestly Ben

Honestly Ben by Bill Konigsberg
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bookshelves: 2017-releases, boarding-school, quiltbag-ya

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 to an ID Ben picks up) is sort of an instahate thing for a lot of people, which I get, but to me, there's a huge difference between "That's what I feel I am, after acknowledging that bisexuality exists and considering why the label isn't right for me" and using it in a fashion that feels like a combination of No Homo and bi erasure, and I thought it was very firmly the former here. I liked the process of Ben's consideration of his ID, and while sure, it may change as he gets older, this is YA; all I care about is whether I believe this is how he feels now, and I do.

But anyway, back to the book, which I liked a lot. I read Openly Straight years ago and I remember enjoying it and laughing a ton, but that's about all I remembered from it. I thought this companion did a really nice job bringing back the necessary details for the original book so that it essentially stood on its own with nothing more than knowledge of the first book's premise. It's less laugh-out-loud funny because that's just Ben's humor vs. Rafe's, but I liked being in the head of an introverted, insular guy piecing together what made his nature that way.

Also a running theme I'm seeing in 2017 YA that's cool and was totally present here: a lot more inclusion of other gender and sexuality IDs in the cast, even just under consideration and suspicion - genderfluidity, pansexuality, and asexuality all come up in this one. I dug it.
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Reading Progress

September 16, 2016 – Shelved
September 16, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
September 16, 2016 – Shelved as: 2017-releases
December 10, 2016 – Started Reading
December 10, 2016 – Shelved as: boarding-school
December 10, 2016 – Finished Reading
March 22, 2017 – Shelved as: quiltbag-ya

Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)

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message 1: by Gareth (new) - added it

Gareth How did you get an advance read on this? So lucky! Great review btw. Really insightful and now I know what to expect


message 2: by Dahlia (new) - added it

Dahlia Gareth Cj. wrote: "How did you get an advance read on this? So lucky! Great review btw. Really insightful and now I know what to expect"

I blog for the B&N Teen Blog and run LGBTQReads so Advance Reader Copies of YA books come my way pretty often! (Though in this particular case, a friend sent me the ARC before the publisher did, because she was curious about my take on the GFY/bisexuality aspect.) Hope you enjoy the book as much as I did!


message 3: by Gareth (new) - added it

Gareth That's so cool! I think I'll enjoy this book, reading from your review. I cannot wait for it to come out. Maybe I should read Openly Straight again before reading this to refresh my memory.


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