Young Adult Genre– 330 pages
Published in 2017 by Arthur A. Levine Books
Ben Carver is back to normal. He’s getting all As in his classes at the Natick School. He was just elected captain of the baseball team. He’s even won a big scholarship for college, if he can keep up his grades. All that foolishness with Rafe Goldberg last semester is over now, and he just needs to be a Carver, work hard, and stay focused.
There’s Hannah, a gorgeous girl who attracts him and distracts him. There’s his mother, whose quiet unhappiness he’s 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.
I was really excited to read this sequel after reading Openly Straight (my review can be found here: Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg). I enjoyed Rafe’s story, but I was really looking forward to finding out more about Ben. He was such a sweet and pure character, and I knew there was so much more to him than meets the eye.
This book is full of ups and downs; basically I felt like I was on a roller coaster. This was a good thing, and kinda a bad thing. I felt like Ben didn’t really know what he wanted, which he admits, but because of that he makes some unwise choices. I was actually disappointed how things turned out with Hannah. That mess could have been avoided.
A lot of other reviewers/readers have expressed some negative feelings with how Ben deals with his sexuality. For me, it wasn’t that big of an issue because there is no guide book to sexuality or discovering your sexuality. There’s no one way. Everyone has their own story. Yes, Ben was super confused, and even at the end he has a lot to figure out. But that’s okay. He needs time to figure it out.
All in all, I enjoyed this second book. In many ways I enjoyed it more than Openly Straight. If you haven’t read that yet, do so before reading Honestly Ben.