Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg
Labels. Jock, cheerleader, goth, prep, druggy…labels define us. Rafe is a normal teenage boy living in the beautiful town of Boulder, Colorado. He plays soccer, skis in the mountains, loves to write, is Jewish, oh, and he’s openly gay. Rafe has known the love and support of his family and liberal community ever since opening up about his sexuality. His mother even became the president of the local chapter of GSA (Gay School Alliance) and threw him his own “coming out” party. But even with all this support, Rafe feels as if there is something missing in his life. He never has to hide who he is, and he is accepted by all. He starts to wonder though, what it would be like if he wasn’t tied down with the label of “the gay kid”. What would it be like to have people only know him as “Rafe”? Would his life be different? In an attempt to leave the label behind, Rafe comes up with the plan to enroll into an all-boys boarding school in Massachusetts, much to the chagrin of his ultra-hip (hippy) parents and best friend Claire Olivia.
Rafe is accepted into the boarding school with open arms. He joins the soccer team, where for the first time he is accepted into the “jock” club. He finds that his roommate is a “goth” and his roommate’s best friend is gay. He also becomes best friends with one of the most gorgeous boys on campus, Ben, and starts to fall in love. All this while hiding who he really is. What follows is a hilarious and soul-searching account of whether you can actually leave your label and past behind. Or is it even a good idea to try?
This witty book will appeal to straight and gay kids alike as they ride through the emotional roller-coaster that is Rafe’s life. It shows what it is like to be different, to want to fit in, and to finally learn that, just maybe, the best thing in life is to love yourself.