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Honestly Ben
Contributor(s): Konigsberg, Bill
ISBN: 0545858267     ISBN-13: 9780545858267
Publisher: Arthur a Levine
    OUR PRICE: $16.19  
Product Type: Hardcover
Published: March 2017
Annotation: Ben Carver returns for the spring semester at the exclusive Natick School in Massachusetts determined to put his relationship with Rafe Goldberg behind him and concentrate on his grades and the award that will mean a full scholarship--but Rafe is still there, there is a girl named Hannah whom he meets in the library, and behind it all is his relationship with his distant, but demanding father.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Gay teenagers; Juvenile fiction.
Homosexuality; Juvenile fiction.
Identity (Psychology); Juvenile fiction.
Dewey: 813.6
LCCN: 2016008865
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 10-12, Age 15-18
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 9.00" H x 6.00" W x 1.00" (0.90 lbs) 326 pages
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q70373
Reading Level: 5.8   Interest Level: Grades 9-12   Point Value: 20.0
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2017 Fall)
After his best friend Rafe comes out (Openly Straight), Ben grapples with his own identity as "gay-for-Rafe"--straight, but still head-over-heels for his friend. Through this lens, the challenges of being openly yourself when you can't yet put a label on who you are come to light. Set at Ben's prestigious Massachusetts boarding school, the multidimensional coming-of-age tale celebrates individuality and interconnection. Copyright 2017 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2017 #2)
In the aftermath of his best friend Rafe coming out (Openly Straight, rev. 5/13), Ben grapples with his own identity as "gay-for-Rafe"—straight, but still head-over-heels for his friend. Through this lens, the challenges of being openly yourself when you can't yet put a label on who you are come to light; as a gender-fluid classmate puts it, it's like "putting it on a platter and saying, ‘Here's my confusion. Feel free to pick it apart.'" Konigsberg sets the story in the second semester of Ben's junior year at his prestigious Massachusetts boarding school, and fills it with an affecting balance of interpersonal drama and boarding school hijinks as the teen's relationships with friends, teammates, and family deepen and evolve. Ben himself is complex and sympathetic (if not always likable in his treatment of his romantic interests), and his ruminations on privilege, misogyny, and labels are thought-provoking. The novel's themes are further developed through plot lines involving family tensions (Ben's demanding father is openly homophobic), academic and economic pressures (Ben struggles to keep his school scholarship), and his attempts to be more of an extrovert and a leader, including taking an unpopular stand against hazing and "locker room" sexism on the baseball team. A multidimensional coming-of-age tale that celebrates individuality and interconnection. claire e. gross Copyright 2017 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2017 January #1)

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. (Mar.)

Copyright 2016 Publisher Weekly.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2017 January)

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 2016 School Library Journal.