Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 1612
A Phenomenal
Overall rating
Writing Style
Ben Carver is a perfectly normal high-achieving boy. He is a scholarship student at a fancy private school. He has a family that he loves. He’s on the baseball team. He has met a beautiful girl who likes him as much as he likes her. And he just won a scholarship that will guarantee his ability to go to college despite his family’s low-income status.

But Ben doesn’t feel like he’s perfectly normal. The stress of others’ expectations is weighing on him… and then there’s the *whatever* that happened with his best friend Rafe last semester. And whatever THAT was and his reaction to it has ensured that he doesn’t really have a best friend anymore.

In short, Ben is starting to drown, and he’s trying to figure out how to keep himself afloat.

HONESTLY BEN is the first book by Bill Konigsberg that I’ve read—I’m not sure how that’s possible, but it’s true—and after finishing it, my first thought was “I want to read all of his other books, and then I want to read them again, and then I want to be Bill Konigsberg's best friend and hang out with him all the time.”

I’m sure that wouldn’t be creepy to him at all.

As for the book, HONESTLY BEN is a beautiful portrayal of a young man’s attempt to figure out who he is. But it’s not just beautiful, it’s funny too. And to make it even better, it’s full of tension and low-key action and, ultimately, acceptance. But not in a way that ties everything up neatly, which makes the book even better.

Ben is one of my favorite YA literary characters, and at moments in the book when I want to roll my eyes because he’s just TOO perfect, he’s kind enough to do something insensitive or selfish. His relationships with his friends, his teammates, his girlfriend, and his boyfriend are all authentic—heck, HE’S authentic.

HONESTLY BEN has more wit and wisdom than any YA book I’ve read in a while, and I think most readers will be able to identify with it some way. I’m really looking forward to reading more from the author.

My thanks to YA Books Central and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review.
Good Points
A book filled with wit and wisdom

A great main character
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