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"We should read to give our souls a chance to luxuriate."


~Henry Miller

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Openly Straight

Openly Straight - Bill Konigsberg


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

imageSid Fleischman Humor Award (2014)

imageLambda Literary Award Nominee (2014)

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

imageAmerican Library Association Rainbow List (2014)

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

imageGeorgia Peach Award Nominee (2014)

imageYalsa'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 who asked myself this question. It was ME who swallowed 336 pages in one sitting. It was ME who laughed highlighted laughed highlighted highlighted highlighted laughed smiled laughed highlighted highlighted highlighted highlighted dropped some tears laughed highlighted and then - WTF??!!image

I ADORE the first 90%. LOVELOVELOVE IT! I don't really know what to think about the last 10%. Right now I'm trying to find a reasonable explanation for that ending. Didn't this book win Sid Fleischman Humor Award? THE LAST 10% WAS NOT FUNNY! I read even the Acknowledgements and About the author at the end of the book searching for an explanation!

But one after another:

Rafe is a normal teenager from Boulder, Colorado. He plays soccer. He's won skiing prizes. He likes to write. And he is gay. Openly gay in Boulder, Colorado. His parents love him, his neighbours love him, he is a beloved 'gay kid' in Boulder, Colorado. "But growing up in Boulder is like growing up in a bubble." It's why he goes to Natick, an all-boys school, almost 3.000 miles away from his home town. He wants to start everything from the very beginning.
Finally, here it was. My chance for a do-over. Here at Natick, I could be just Rafe. Not crazy Gavin and Opal’s colorful son. Not the "different" guy on the soccer team. Not the openly gay kid who had it all figured out.

He doens't plan to go back in the closet,he is just tired of feeling different. He decided to stop be open about it. He just wants to feel like one of the guys for once.
I was going to be label-free. Don’t ask, and I won’t tell. The only way I would actually lie was if I were asked directly, "Are you gay?" In that case, I’d say no. But even then I wouldn’t go on about being straight. I didn’t want to lie; I just wanted to not be the guy whose main attribute was liking other guys. Been there, done that.

But how long can something like THIS stay unnoticeable? As he's fallen in love with Ben, a tiny insignificance of NOT-OPENLY-BEING-GAY turns into a BIG LIE. And lying to a friend sucked. Of course, he'll come to the point when he ought to tell the truth, when he has to stop to pretend to be someone else. Will it end good?
As soon as I tried to remove the label, a lie formed. In the end, that lie created a barrier way worse than the original one. How crazy is that? Ironic, I mean. I created a barrier getting rid of a barrier.

It's soooooooo worth to read the book to find out what happened here.
So, read it and for now I shut my mouth.

The ending:

To all HEA-junkies: It is not a NOT-HEA. It is real. Like real life. I'd say that it is a good ending. So don't afraid to read it. Only...I was sure that I knew at around 50% already EXACTLY how the story would end, and I was OKAY with it. Because it is one of those book where "the journey is the reward". So, when suddenly I got the different ending from that I'd predicted, I was...WTF?surprised.
It was like a Disney Movie that suddenly becomes an open ending.
But I think that slowly I start to understand WHY the author did it. And I appreciate his courage and his way of thinking.

Can you just put a part of yourself on hold? And if you do, does it cease to be true?

How was I expecting to get closer to someone by not being truly me?

The writing:

Great characters, witty, sweet, it goes straightly to my FAVOURITE shelf. NO HESITATION.

I utterly totally understand WHY this book has such a lot of literary awards. It is a literary juwel. A MUST READ. Better now than tomorrow.

Highly highly highly recommended!