Openly Straight

Seamus Rafael Goldberg, aka Rafe, is tired. Tired of being “The gay kid” who plays soccer. “The gay kid” who hangs with Claire Olivia. So he decides to reinvent himself without the label. Because he’s more than just that. He goes to a new school, where he finds himself among the jock crowd, and he loves it. But what happens when he falls in love with Ben, who doesn’t know about Rafe’s past? Can he give up a part of who he is, and still be himself?

Kudos for Openly Straight

What people are saying about Openly Straight

“An exceptionally intelligent, thought-provoking, coming-of-age novel about the labels people apply to us and that we, perversely, apply to ourselves. A sometimes painful story of self-discovery, it is also a beautifully written, absolutely captivating romance between two boys, Rafe and Ben, who are both wonderfully sympathetic characters. With its capacity to invite both thought and deeply felt emotion, Openly Straight is altogether one of the best gay-themed novels of the last ten years.” — Michael Cart, Booklist Starred Review

“Konigsberg’s lovely novel invites us to walk with Rafe through his season of assumed identity and his costly emergence into honesty. It’s beautiful. It’s a story of salvation.” — Jeff Chu, New York Times

“Openly Straight aims high and succeeds brilliantly. It’s
up-to-the-second contemporary, funny, unexpected, peppered with
terrific dialogue — and best of all, achingly honest.”
–Ned Vizzini, bestselling author of IT’S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY, and

“An original, thought-provoking, hilarious story about the importance
of embracing your true identity, and the cost to yourself and others
when you don’t.”
–Julie Anne Peters, award-winning author of LUNA and KEEPING YOU A SECRET

“Bill Konigsberg hands a great “high concept” to a really compelling
narrator and presents us with a terrific read. Openly Straight is
smart, funny and unflinching. Read this book.”
–Chris Crutcher, bestselling author of DEADLINE, WHALE TALK and PERIOD 8

“OPENLY STRAIGHT sports a sharp plot with a twist, sympathetic (and
totally hot) characters, and universal appeal. It’s a must-read for
openly everyone!”
–Lisa McMann, bestselling author of the WAKE Trilogy and the VISIONS Series

“A terrific new novel with a very contemporary take on coming out and
an age-old look at falling in love.”
— Brent Hartinger, award-winning author of GEOGRAPHY CLUB (soon to be
a major motion picture) and THE ELEPHANT OF SURPRISE

“For anybody who ever wished they could be someone else (and who
hasn’t?), OPENLY STRAIGHT provides a fun and intriguing,
twisting-and-turning romp through sexuality, identity, friendship, and
— Alex Sanchez, award-winning author of RAINBOW BOYS and BOYFRIENDS

Coming in May, 2015: THE PORCUPINE OF TRUTH! 

porcupine cover

Start in Billings, Montana

Carson Smith isn’t thrilled to spend the summer with his estranged dad. But then he meets Aisha Stinson, the most beautiful girl he’s ever seen. And the smartest. And the funniest. They connect like he never has with anyone …

Also she’s a lesbian. So there’s that.

Turn left at the missing grandpa

Carson’s dad is still bitter about the disappearance of his dad more than thirty years earlier. When Carson and Aisha discover a box of recent cards from his grandfather, they realize the old man is still out there somewhere.

What are two bored teenagers in the middle of nowhere to do?

Proceed for 1,293 miles across the country

So Carson and Aisha being a journey with no destination, to find a man who wanted to be lost, in an unreliable Dodge Neon, with one very prickly mascot. And what comes next is an extraordinary, enlightening, hilarious, inspiring, complete and utter mindblower of a road trip that will transform both their lives.

You have arrived at

The Porcupine of Truth.

What early reviewers are saying about THE PORCUPINE OF TRUTH:

“Quirky, hilarious, sad, and ultimately tender. The world could use more tenderness and more books like this one. Words like ‘Brilliant’ are so overused when praising novels–so I won’t use that word. I’ll just think it.” – Benjamin Alire Saenz, award-winning author of ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE.

“Bill Konigsberg’s THE PORCUPINE OF TRUTH is at once heartwarming and heartbreaking, a funny and thought-provoking road trip with remarkable friends Carson and Aisha, who share tough lessons about mending fractures, forging bonds, and discovering grace. Undeniably human and unforgettably wise, this book is a gift for us all.” — Andrew Smith, award-winning author of GRASSHOPPER JUNGLE and 100 SIDEWAYS MILES.

Paperback re-release available now!

Special paperback re-release out now — featuring a foreword by LGBT ally and former NFL player Chris Kluwe, as well as two new chapters!

What if the star of the high school football team was gay? In the Lambda Literary Award-winning OUT OF THE POCKET, 17-year-old Bobby Framingham is struggling with a secret. One of the most talented players in his state, Bobby knows he is different from his teammates. But he so much doesn’t want to be. Can he be one of the boys while still being who he is? And how will the girl who thinks she’s dating him take to the news?

Kudos for Out of the Pocket

What people are saying about Out of the Pocket

“A thought-provoking, funny, and ultimately uplifting story of
self-actualization that masterfully defies stereotypes about both
coming out and team sports.”
–School Library Journal

“A thoughtful, powerful novel.”

“It’s tough enough completing your pass as the linebackers blitz, but
when your private life is also crashing in, the game is about
survival. A hard-hitting first novel about quarterbacking your life.”
– Robert Lipsyte, author of RAIDERS NIGHT

“How I rooted for Bobby, and all his imperfect, complicated,
oh-so-human friends.”
– Catherine Gilbert Murdock, author of DAIRY QUEEN and THE OFF SEASON

“The best teen novel I’ve read in ages. This book seamlessly combines
two genres, the sports novel and the coming-out story, to tell of a
star high-school quarterback who’s coming to terms with being gay
while caught in a national spotlight. Konigsberg avoids all cliches
and instead fills his book with funny, fantastic, surprising
characters. He also makes each football game a riveting, high-stakes
–Mark David Bradshaw, Watermark Books

53 Responses to Books

  1. Pingback: Trusting readers, trusting writers… | Children's Literature Crossroads

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  4. Albert says:

    I just have to say I finish reading Openly Straight and I loved it. It’s a great new way of putting the gay character in the role of a straight character. I love it how you referenced to Alex Sanchez’s books. I have to admit I have never heard of the author before but I gave it a chance and I wasn’t disappointed. Thank you; I usually don’t like some of the gay novels but you are one of the few exceptions with Alex Sanchez and David Levithan ( I hope I spelled his last name right; if not, forgive me.

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  10. Arthur says:

    please make a second book continuing Ben and Rafe’s relationship.

    I will die.

    No lie, I can feel my life force leaving my body as we speak.

    • Kevin Xiong says:

      Me too!! I would die as well! I really want a book two!! The book was so devastating at the end and makes me want to read more and more! I loved it!

  11. Brian says:

    Openly Straight is the best book ever! Please make a part two of this book! I just finished reading it and now my feelings are everywhere.. I need to know what happens between the characters.. my life depends on it! I think I fell in love with Ben too. I just ugh you don’t know how attached I am right now to these characters. I ship them SO HARD YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW!! HAHA

  12. jenny says:

    This second book needs to happen. Immediately..

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  15. Makaila Bolley says:

    So i just finished Openly Straight yesterday. I finished it in a day, and it takes an amazing book for me to do that. As a leader of the Holt GSA this is a book I know will speak to many of my members and i wanted you to know how amazing I think it is that you write the books you do, because I feel not many authors are comfortable writing a book feature a gay teen as the main character.

  16. Christian says:

    I just finished this book and I loved it!! There has to be a second! I need to know if what becomes of Ben and Rafe. Maybe it could be in Ben’s Pov…?

  17. Kyler says:

    Dear Bill Konigsberg:

    I first heard of your book ‘Openly Straight’ mentioned by Cheryl Klein on a podcast she contributes to called ‘The Narrative Breakdown’. Within 20seconds of her talking about it I was hooked. I had to read it. When I finally did manage to pick up a copy recently, it took me all of a day to read it cover-to-cover. I couldn’t stop, and when I finished…I was heart-broken. Sad that it was over. I was, and am, more sad that there was no definitive conclusion to Rafe and Ben’s relationship. So, I guess the point of this comment is to “subconsciously” persuade you to continue the story in some form or another because it is killing me on the inside and I’m confused as to why. Confused about a lot of things we’ll just say. Yours is the first book I’ve read regarding its topic and there is so much being said that needs to be said to be heard by everyone. I’ve never felt this way towards a book before. Maybe because it hits so close to home in various ways…I’m not sure. I am sure that there needs to be a hell of a lot more young people reading it, understanding it. And while you work on a sequel to this journey that has tortured me so, I believe ‘Openly Straight’ should be worked into a film of its own some how. Seriously… As an aspiring screenwriter and ardent film geek, I can’t help but be transfixed with the idea of your amazing book becoming a film of its own. Anyway, thank you for ‘Openly Straight’. I hope I didn’t go too overboard with this comment/essay/letter?


    • bkonigsberg says:

      Not at all! I loved reading it! The most surprising thing about the response to Openly Straight is just how many people feel like they NEED to know what happens next. When you’re writing a book, you don’t always know how people will react, or I suppose I should say you never know. I truly in my heart felt like this was a happy ending, because I was so focused on Rafe’s growth, and as many people have pointed out, there really is no way to conclude the relationship differently based on what’s just gone down. I figured, “Well, it’s open ended. People will have hope for the future.” But that has NOT been the reaction for so many readers. All I can tell you is that in one form or another, you will get your answer. The option to the novel is currently held by a production company, so it’s possible that the answer will come in TV/film form. If not, I will either write a sequel that is published traditionally, or untraditionally. Do not despair; at some point, there will be more Rafe and Ben!

      • Kyler says:

        You’re absolutely right. Thinking back on it now, I don’t believe I would have been satisfied with a, “and they lived happily ever after” ending. So while I still have this burning desire to find out if Rafe and Ben will truly reconcile, I can’t help but be happy with Rafe’s growth as you mentioned.
        I feel like this ‘need’ to know what comes next is simply us saying we never wanted it to end in the first place. Being exposed to Rafe’s world was profound and honest on so many levels. I myself have never experienced anything like it and it was/is heartbreaking in many ways. Perhaps I just need some recovery time.
        I am very excited to hear that the option is being held by a production company! Thinking back to my Producing Classes I realized I’ve forgotten how harrowing the process of getting a book to screen can be…and I barely know the half of it. I guess I will have to be patient, as hard as that will be, and hope for the best. I’m very excited for the future of ‘Openly Straight’ and yourself, and I wish you nothing but the best. Looks like I will need to pick up a copy of ‘Out of the Pocket’ to fill my void of Rafe and Ben.

        Thanks for the reply!

      • Thank you omg I can’t even begin to explain how happy this has made me! I was told by my school librarian about the new book and I was the first to read it in my school! I’m so glad I picked that book up because It was so breathe taking I couldn’t put it down!!! I can’t wait for the next book or the book to be made into a movie because it’s such an amazing story! Honestly I’ve never felt this way about any book something about this book made me feel alive like I was living in rafe’s Shoes and I for that simple fact didn’t like the ending lol it felt like I had just jumped off a cliff haha I needed more! I know everything must end but i hope for this story it’s many books later lol

  18. Olivia says:

    Openly Straight is the most realistic book I have ever read about being youtself. I loved it and I highly recommend everyone to read it.

  19. Barry says:

    Wow-I am speechless! I have to say I enjoyed Out of the Pocket, but Openly Straight was amazing! I had to rush home from work every night to see what was going to happen next. I loved the diary portion, along with teacher feedback! The character’s were believable. I related to Rafe and Ben on so many different levels. I’ve lived Rafe’s “being one of the guys”. I still do but openly. I was a jock in my younger days, but closeted. Today though, my straight friends are tickled when I win the Fantasy Football league or the March Madness pool! Thank you for giving us good fiction to read. I haven’t found an overwhelming amount so I look for more of your work in the future! OK, I like many others want a sequel-it’s not a bad thing. You just had us caring so much about these characters!

  20. Kate Norbury says:

    Will you publish anything in 2014?

  21. Mason says:

    Wow! I’ve read both of your books in the past few weeks and they were both amazing! I loved Openly Straight! The part of the book that really struck me was when Rafe was at the school talking to the students about being gay, and the boy raises his hand and has a question about what his friend should do about coming out because his parents were so homophobic. It was just such an amazing book, not just a cute little love story, but a very realistic story about how you shouldn’t keep yourself hidden. Thank you!

  22. Sky says:

    Dear Bill,

    Your book has been a great influence to it’s readers in a myriad of ways. Personally, I believe that it has an appeal to people, in general. It broke the barrier and the misconception that gay novels should only be for the LGBT community. I am very glad that you did what you did and let me tell you that it was “impeccable!” As I read the book, I realized that I was no longer reading a story but I was actually taking a peek out of life. Though I know that you might already be tired of people asking for a sequel, I am pleading you write a sequel. Fingers crossed, I am hoping that you will continue to inspire us the way you do.

    PS. I know that it is an open-ended novel but it is an agonizing wait for the sequel. I hope it comes soon!

  23. jesse says:

    Why is there no closure to Ben and Rafe’s relationship?

    • jesse says:

      Okay, so after reading ALL of the comments. .. I feel a little better on what’s to come. This book was amazing. I am on the NEED to know what happens next. I believe this is the most amazing story since the rainbow series by Alex Sanchez. It’s refreshing to find a story that’s so real. Most I find are showing only the promiscuity of gay life, and not the coming of age feelings we all go through. I got this book for my birthday, have to say it’s my favorite gift I received. Please let us know when there’s more to come.

      • bkonigsberg says:

        LOL I hear you. I know how much people want more from Ben and Rafe. I promise you it will come. I’ll post news when it’s available, probably later this summer!

  24. Michael Möller says:

    I have just finished reading “Openly Straight” (in the German translation “Offen Hetero”). It has touched me deeply. Not just because of the story of Rafe and Ben, but because this is not just “Another Gay Story” not just a story but also a very emotional, realistic and touching description of the person Rafe. Through the reading as well as now after finishing all my thoughts are at Natick, at Rafes way to act to his friends and at Mr Scarboroughs way to confront Rafe with his previous life to get him to his second coming out. It has so many parallels to my life. I am not worried about the future of Rafe, but someone has to help Ben coming out. I feel very sad for him and for the broken friendship between Rafe and Ben. The story is not over for me… I need more. I need an end.
    You have with “Openly Straight” inspired me to write about my own life the way Mr Scarborough want it.
    Thank You Bill !
    Greetings from Denmark

  25. Shan says:

    Hi I would really l to know where I can find the audio book for Openly Straight so I can play it on my phone when I don’t end up having the book in my possession If anyone could tell where I could find one online that would be great. Thanks.

  26. Gabe says:

    I think that this book, less than three hours after I finished it, impacted my life. I was planning on doing exactly what Rafe did, except when I went away to college. I ran across this book online, and read what it was about, and realized I had to read it. So I did. First of all, I’m in love with Ben. Second, and more importantly, this book stopped me from doing something I never could have pulled off with my head intact. Thank you for this book. I finished it in one afternoon. Please write a sequel.

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  28. Ron B says:

    Loved Openly Straight. I shed a few tears but really enjoyed the story and characters.
    Thanks for that and I look forward to your other books.

  29. Zac says:

    Openly Straight is one of the best books I have ever read. I was so interested and finished the book in a day. I fell in love with the characters and grew attached. I hope there will be a second novel soon. I need to know what happens. I have so many questions that must be answered. LOVE THE BOOK.

  30. Aaron Stamps says:

    Dear Mr.Konigsberg,

    This is one of the first novels I have ever read with a gay main character that I can identify with, and reading it has helped me grow as a person and as a Gay Teen. I would also like to thank you on behalf of the entire world and I think I speak for them too when I say that this book is a jewel sparkling in a big pile of rubbish and it has changed my life so much .

    Thank You again,
    Aaron Stamps

  31. Kevin says:

    Dear Bill Konigsburg

    I hope you would read this. I emailed you this.
    I have to say. Your book “openly straight” is the best book I’ve ever written. It taught me to never hide away and always lean forward. I am bisexual but secret too. I’m just now starting to come out because of this amazing book you written. I wanted to ask you an important question. Will there be a book two? I would really love to read it and it would be the book I would spend money on. I really enjoyed your book and finished reading it in three days. That’s the best book I’ve read in forever. I will always love your books and expect more to come soon. The books about gays and sexuality is really interesting. I can’t say how much I love your book. I love the plot line and it’s the first book to make me want to read everything in it. It really made my emotions pour out. I cried when Rafe and Ben got into an argument and I gasped when I found out about Toby and Robinson! It’s the best book ever! Please keep writing.

    • Kevin says:

      I meant “one of the best books I’ve ever read”* sorry for that mistake

    • bkonigsberg says:

      Thank you so much! I am so glad this book has had such an impact on you. If it’s helping you be more authentically you, I consider that a great thing!

      Keep an eye on this site over the course of the next month or two for news about a possible sequel. I will share the news as soon as I can!

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