cover image Openly Straight

Openly Straight

Bill Konigsberg. Scholastic/Levine, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-545-50989-3

Konigsberg (Out of the Pocket) raises compelling questions about stereotyping and self-actualization through the story of openly gay high school junior Rafe Goldberg. Though Rafe has a supportive family and community in progressive Boulder, Co., he still feels stifled by being known as "the gay kid." In order to try to live a "label-free life," Rafe transfers to an East Coast boarding school with the intention of keeping his sexuality a secret ("The only way I would actually lie was if I were asked directly, %E2%80%98Are you gay?' "). At school, Rafe is quickly befriended by a group of jocks, and even kissed by a girl at a party, but he begins to question his experiment when his feelings for a friend develop into something more. Introspective essays Rafe composes about his life for a writing seminar seem overly scripted, and the plot becomes predictable long before Rafe faces a crisis of conscience. Even so, Rafe's story about seeking a different kind of acceptance should spur readers to rethink sexual identity and what it means to be "out." Ages 14%E2%80%93up. Agent: Linda Epstein, Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency. (June)