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Honestly Ben
Cover of Honestly Ben
Honestly Ben
Openly Straight Series, Book 2
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In the 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.The companion...
In the 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.The companion...
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  • In the 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.

    The companion to the award-winning Openly Straight, called "remarkable...deeply satisfying and as honest as its appealing protagonist" (Booklist). Perfect for fans of David Levithan, Andrew Smith, and John Green!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.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from January 2, 2017
    Seventeen-year-old Ben Carver is under a lot of pressure. He’s having a hard time in calculus, a subject that could torpedo his stellar GPA and ruin his chances at receiving the prestigious Pappas Award, which would look fantastic on his college résumé and provide a needed scholarship. He’s also having difficulty with Rafe Goldberg, his gay former friend (with whom he got quite close in Konigsberg’s Openly Straight), and might be falling for a girl named Hannah. The trouble is, Ben is in love with Rafe, but he can’t accept the idea of being in love with a boy. Ben isn’t homophobic, but that doesn’t make it any easier for him to see himself—captain of the baseball team, son of a farmer—as gay or even bisexual. Konigsberg again realistically explores what happens when one’s self butts up against who the world’s expectations and assumptions. Ben refuses to be labeled, and the result is a refreshingly honest exploration of modern relationships and an understanding that love can take many shapes and forms. Ages 14–up. Agent: Linda Epstein, Emerald City Literary.

  • Kirkus

    December 15, 2016
    Not your average boarding school drama. Seventeen-year-old, New Hampshire-farm-raised, proud Czech-American Ben Carver has just been elected the captain of posh, private Natick School's famed baseball team in his junior year. He's also been told by the headmaster that he's next in line to win the school's coveted scholarship--awarded to only one Natick student annually. (Like his teammates, Ben is white; unlike them, he's not "exceedingly wealthy.") He's a huge history buff; he's kind. He's also struggling between what he feels versus what he yearns to feel. Earlier in the year he experienced an intense, romantic connection with his best friend, Rafe, that still haunts him. However, when he meets an outspoken student from the nearby all-female academy, he thinks he can finally dampen the sparks Rafe ignites. Maybe. Konigsberg's latest is full of heart. Not only is Ben fully fleshed with an honest, admirable set of emotions and principles, he's also 6 feet 2 inches and muscled--exactly the kind of protagonist that readers will be drooling over. Every other character is rendered in the same thoughtful way--even the douchebags have hearts. The plot unfolds naturally from Ben's point of view, and despite a somewhat forced ending it still ends on a high. Packed with literary references, pranks, heady conversations, humor, honesty, and tribulation, this is one that will be remembered. A fresh, insightful, inspiring take on what it means to come out. (Fiction. 13-17)

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from January 1, 2017

    Gr 9 Up-Ben Carver works hard trying to please his friends, his teammates, his teachers, and, most important, his father. Barely keeping up with his classwork, extracurricular activities, and friendships, Ben wonders if he does all of these things for himself or just to placate those around him. He grapples with staying true to himself, even if he isn't sure who that self is yet. This follow-up to Openly Straight is told from Ben's perspective as a scholarship student living among privileged classmates as well as a teen wrestling with the consequences of living by other people's expectations. Well-rounded characters take readers from serious, thoughtful discussions to typical teen pranks with ease. A boarding school story along the lines of Andrew Smith's Winger, this is equal parts serious and funny as it addresses homophobia, hazing rituals, and cheating while also delighting readers with a slice-of-life tale set at a private academy. VERDICT A first purchase for public libraries wishing to add diverse titles to their collection; give this to fans of Andrew Smith, Brent Hartinger, and John Knowles.-Jenni Frencham, Columbus Public Library, WI

    Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from February 1, 2017
    Grades 9-12 *Starred Review* Rafe and Ben return in this eagerly awaited sequel to Konigsberg's Openly Straight (2013). The spotlight this time is on Ben, whose intimate friendship with Rafe has ended badly. Ben (straight) and Rafe (gay) are cautiously trying to revive this friendship, but, like so much in Ben's life, it's complicated. Ben now appears to have it all: forging a new relationship with the lovely, outspoken Hannah; being named captain of the baseball team though he's only a junior; and receiving a prestigious award that is accompanied by a college scholarshipessential, as Ben comes from an economically challenged farm family. All of this good fortune comes with increasingly onerous stress: Hannah distrusts Ben's growing friendship with Rafe, being captain of the team is a challenge, and Ben needs to pass a vitally important calculus test to retain the award. How will he handle all of this, especially the friendship with Rafe that may again turn into something deeper? The thoughtful, reserved Ben tells his story in his distinctive, introspective voice, and Konigsberg has again done a remarkable job developing characters and inviting readers to consider the meaning of friendship with all its rewards and challenges. Extremely well written, this novel of ideas is deeply satisfying and as honest as its appealing protagonist.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2017, American Library Association.)

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Honestly Ben
Openly Straight Series, Book 2
Bill Konigsberg
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Bill Konigsberg
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