Sequels and companion novels are hard to pull off well. There’s all the expectations of the first book, and after Openly Straight, I had high ones. Here's just one of my favorite passages.
“I'm glad we did this,” I said, looking over at Ben. “I'm glad you came.”
“You wish I came,” he said.
My face flushed pink, or pinker. The silence felt like it could fill the resort for hours. “Did you just make a sex joke?” I finally managed to say.
“You're such a dick,” I said, laughing.
“Are you trying to make me another one?” (247-248)
The relationship between Rafe and Ben was heartbreakingly real. I also loved the premise of Openly Straight, which made me feel so deeply about the way we label people.
As you may have guessed from my first paragraph, though, Honestly Ben did not disappoint. It went beyond the questions of labels and boxes to “are you in or out?” and “what have you bought into that maybe you shouldn’t have?” These weren’t just about sexuality, either, but about life. Are you really in life, engaged with those around you? Are you buying into “truths” that you haven’t really considered, about the way you only think things have to be?
I don’t want to give spoilers, but I’ll say this much. For my fellow romance lovers yearning for happily-ever-after, this realistic ending is satisfying. And on a completely unrelated note, the subplot about Ben’s speech is plotting genius. Go get this book, now.