Honestly Ben by Bill Konigsberg is definitely in my tops list for 2018!
I read Openly Straight back in 2014, and loved it. I’ve recommended it to friends multiple times. So, when I found out it has a companion novel, I jumped for joy!
This is one of the YA worlds I wish I could teleport into, too bad Natick is an all-boys boarding school. Ben is just so friendly and approachable, even though he has his own share of issues (don’t we all?). And Rafe, Albie, and Toby seem like so much fun to hang around. Plus, Hannah is a strong female figure, who shines a light on inappropriate boy behavior.
There were so many awesome references to other things I love, especially the work of Brené Brown. I appreciate that Konigsberg brings in Brown’s research on vulnerability, and integrates it into the book. For a reader who hasn’t read any Brené Brown, this can be truly life altering. I highly recommend starting with her book Daring Greatly and her TED Talk.
Books I love mentioning other books I love? Yes please! Cue the happy dance! At one point, Rafe was reading Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan. I read it back in 2015, during my big David Levithan kick. (In case you’re wondering, there was a parallel John Green and Rainbow Rowell kick, that led to me reading Will Grayson, Will Grayson, which introduced me to David Levithan.)
By the end of the book, I kept looking up and realizing I wasn’t in their world. Total book hangover.