In this companion to Openly Straight, Ben confronts pressure at school, repression at home, and his passion for two very different people in figuring out what it takes to be Honestly Ben.
Ben Carver is back to normal. He's working steadily in his classes at the Natick School. He just got elected captain of the baseball team. He's even won a full scholarship to college, if he can keep up his grades. All that foolishness with Rafe Goldberg the past semester is in the past.
Except...there's Hannah, the gorgeous girl from the neighboring school, who attracts him and distracts him. There's his mother, whose quiet unhappiness Ben is noticing for the first time. School is harder, the pressure higher, the scholarship almost slipping away. And there's Rafe, funny, kind, dating someone else...and maybe the real normal that Ben needs.
Perfect for fans of David Levithan, Andrew Smith, and John Green, Honestly Ben is a smart, laugh-out-loud novel that will speak to anyone who's struggled to be "honestly ____" in some part of their lives.
©2017 Bill Konigsberg (P)2017 Scholastic Inc.
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Critic reviews

"Dan Bittner's narration develops the unique personality of 17-year-old Ben, a secondary character in Konigsberg's earlier book Openly Straight.... In this follow-up, Bittner quickly reveals Ben's intelligence and introspection.... In a complex portrait, Bittner captures Ben's confused central conflict - is he gay, or straight, or is he only 'gay-for-Rafe'? Keeping the plot engaging, Bittner highlights Ben's search for his identity." ( AudioFile)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By leftie on 07-09-18

Excellent book

Thoroughly enjoyable book, easy to follow and hard to stop listening. Particularly good listening to it following the prequel.

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5 out of 5 stars
By Conor Jackson on 01-09-18

Fantastic sequel, minor continuity issue

The moment I finished the previous book (Openly Straight), I knew I wanted to start listening to this one. The characters come alive once more, with Ben’s POV being a refreshing change.

The only issue was with the voice actor - while of course it can’t be helped that a different voice actor, there appears to be little attempt at maintaining continuity with many of the characters sounding very different.

Despite this I strongly recommend that people who read and loved Openly Straight read this book too.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Jim S on 09-05-17

Better than the first book in the series!

Maybe because Ben is grappling with his bisexuality, his character is more complex and interesting than Rafe's.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

1 out of 5 stars
By Kindle Customer on 12-12-17

Honestly, I️ loved the first book.

This book... wow. I️ don’t know if it was a story or just pushing a political agenda. The thing is, it just pushes the gay stereotype in a way- Rafe finally comes out to the whole school (where the first book basically left off) and well- now I️ get why he was called the gay kid. Now I️ don’t mind a flamboyant character, but this wasn’t the Rafe I️ read about and loved. The book before tried telling me I️ could be myself and gay, the message made me happy, because sometimes I️ don’t feel like I️ can do all the things I️ could do if I️ was straight. Now I️ see Rafe walking around school as a different person, not at all like the Rafe in the first book. It’s as if it took the message and flopped it over and stomped on it. It wasn’t just Rafe either- everyone was a bit off... Maybe it was the change in the point of view. If so, Ben should never be able to write a book.

Let’s go back to how good the first book was...
It’s about a homosexual boy who complains about something that a lot of people would call a first world problem or something in that alley... which yes it is- BUT- it’s extremely relatable. The author did a great job of how Rafe acted and thought and how others reacted to his declaration. It felt real... and isn’t that what a book should have when it comes to relationships? I️ was realistic and heartbreaking.


Ben doesn’t end up with Rafe? Why? Is this some kind of anti- gay propaganda? No. It’s just realistic. Rafe lied about being gay- he thought Rafe knew what he was going through. When someone lies to someone, even something small that really doesn’t affect them as a person (which is a great point the book makes because being gay shouldn’t suddenly turn you into some different person) ie: their name, you would lose a lot of trust and maybe be scared, mad, confused, etc. at this person. IT’S HUMAN. It didn’t force two boys together- it taught me a lesson, and that’s amazing .

Now cue the second book- I️ have too many things to say...

First off-

Ben’s feeling towards Rafe-

They don’t make sense. There’s no reason to it he really gives, any that are given are very convenient.
The relationship is incredibly forced that way- nothing really has a reason.

Now I️ don’t want to make this too long... the thing is it probably won’t get much longer because hardly anything was memorable.

First off, Toby being gender-fluid...

The author goes into it... but doesn’t make it go ANYWHERE. There is hardly and conflict and it is just shoved in there for political reasons. Everyone accepts him/her/them??? That’s not realistic at all. It’s giving a false hope- sure that sounds sad but it’s true. It’s hard for people and this is presenting a non realistic outcome.

Now... Ben’s Speech


Honestly, There were so many more problems... but... I️ don’t really want to spend more time in this book. I️ can hardly remember any of if. I️ will admit it had good moments... not that I️ can remember them but I’m sure it made me smile once or twice. Sorry if this review had bad grammar or whatever... it’s a lot easier to rant when you are talking.

This book really took something away from me- I️ don’t know what, but I️ just feel sick. It was horrible. Go read the first book- it didn’t ruin all books for me.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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