Be Straight with Me

Narrated by Kate Rudd
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Pub Date May 19 2020 | Archive Date Dec 04 2020
Andrews McMeel Audio | Andrews McMeel Publishing

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Be Straight with Me is an unforgettable memoir-in-verse about a love that blurs the boundaries of gender and sexuality—told from the perspective of a young, straight woman who finds herself in a serious relationship with her gay male best friend. With unabashed honesty and piercing emotional clarity, Emily Dalton brings to life this timely, true story about a nonconforming romance and its consequences.

During her sophomore year at Middlebury College, Emily meets Max—“you” as she intimately refers to him in the book. Not exactly a tomboy, but not quite a girly girl either, Emily is intent on finding a masculine boyfriend to assuage a deeply rooted fear that she may not be quite feminine enough.

Max—a boisterous class clown beloved by his many straight guy friends—has recently come out as gay and is embracing his newly claimed identity. Initially, Max and Emily dislike each other, but end up growing close after a make-out dare on Halloween. Then one night, Max reveals an unexpected physical attraction that catches them both by surprise. The relationship begins, playfully and in secret, and then spirals into something more.

Max and Emily’s journey takes many forms—they experiment with drugs; they travel abroad; they try sleeping with other people (together), and everything in between—all in the name of “this bizarre, beautiful thing” they call love.
Be Straight with Me is an unforgettable memoir-in-verse about a love that blurs the boundaries of gender and sexuality—told from the perspective of a young, straight woman who finds herself in a...

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781524860806
PRICE $9.99 (USD)
DURATION 2 Hours, 58 Minutes, 53 Seconds

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (AUDIO)

Average rating from 46 members

Featured Reviews

Where to start, this is my first memoir and I can tell you it didn't disappoint.
Emily's writing me feel this love and sadness at the same time, there is this desperate feeling between them and is so confusing that made them do stupid things and at the end each of them have to find a way to each other without hurting. It's just so emotional because you get to see a difficult situation turn into something beautiful and disastrous.
I really recommend this book if so beautifully written and the audio is so great.

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A different kind of love story, told with honesty and openness. Emily & Max share a friendship and a love affair despite their differences. I had to listen to this entire audiobook at once. What a lovely story. I feel like Emily and I are good friends having coffee whilst she tells me her story and she touches my heart.

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Thank you so much to NetGalley for giving me an opportunity to read this early.

This was a super interesting story and you like slice of life memoirs I really feel like this will be your cup of tea!

What I liked:
- I loved how unique to story was. I have never experienced a relationship exactly like this or heard of anyone else who has so it was great to read about something so interesting.

- I loved the way it was was written as if it was a diary entry to a specific person. It was as if she was recapping the love story to the person that was in it with her. I loved that.

What I didn’t like:

-I like my memoirs (especially ones about relationships) to feel like fiction. And something about the writing made me always feel like I was reading a memoir. I’m not sure of that makes sense. Essentially, this felt like a friend telling me a story about their past boyfriend. And awesome and very interesting story. But still, it lacked that vibe that sucked me into it.

Overall, this is a very interesting story and even if you can’t relate to the events going on it I guarantee you can relate to the emotions going on in it.

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It´s often hard for me to rate or review a memoir because it´s the author's personal story.
Overall this book kept me interested and I wanted to find out if this unconventional love story has a happy ending.
Without spoiling it, I will say that I kept thinking about the book after I was done listening.
It was an honest and heartfelt book that I would recommend to anyone interested in LGBTQ love stories and/or memoirs.

Thank you to NetGalley and Andrew McMeel Publishing for providing me a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

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This book has a great theme and the narration helped sell the story.. i felt like I was witnessing it all. Would’ve loved more to the story

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Falling in love can be easy for some, but downright complicated for others. Emily does not know what to make of Max when she first meets him. Max is gay and while they are friends, she finds herself falling for him. What entails is years long love, heartbreak and wanting something you can never have. This is a candid memoir of a journey of loving and letting go. It is a short audiobook and one I would recommend to those looking for raw emotion in an unconventional love story.

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Be Straight with Me by Emily E. Dalton is a crazy, funny, sad, and overall good time. To be honest I did not think I would like this book but the description intrigued me so I decided to give it a chance and I am so glad that I did. Dalton uses verse to tell a rollercoaster story about love, confusion, and loss. She also uses small reflections to give background on herself and why she is thinking the way she does in a given situation. I found it very interesting that Emily and Max went from frenemies to lovers in quite a short period of time and that their romance lasted on and off for over 5 years. I liked how the book was written overall and I appreciated that Dalton did not dwell on unnecessary facts. I think this memoir is perfect for anyone who is a hopeless romantic, is questioning their sexuality, or simply wants to read an amazing story about two tumultuous lovers. The only critique I would give this book is that the narrator for the audiobook was a little monotone at times and her voice changes for different characters felt a little boring and flat. Other than that minor detail I would definitely read this memoir again and recommend it 100%

*I read this book as an ARC and did so out of my own want. I was not asked or paid to promote this title*

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I feel like this is something that would of happen to me, I love hard and fall even harder. I say this except for the fact that I couldn’t tell it has beautifully has the author did. I felt myself falling for him.....and and enjoying the relationship. I loved how she laid it all out in scattered beautiful words. Life isn’t always black and white is it? I loved this audiobook. The story was heartbreaking, scary, intense and REAL. This relationship was all of these things and very special, painful but special. They fell into it because at the time they totally got each other.
While I was waiting for this to end I had a knot in my chest. And to be honest I don’t know how I wanted it to end. But I couldn’t stop listening. It was very good. I highly recommend it. The narrator was awesome, clear and concise. I followed the whole thing with enjoyment.
Love and mistakes take on many forms, never forget that. And sometimes they are beautiful.

Thank you NETGALLEY and the publisher for this audiobook ARC, in exchange for my honest review. ♥️

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Be Straight With Me by Emily Dalton is a memoir about love. Emily falls in love with her college best friend Max. The memoir is little notes or diary entries to Max referred to as “you.” Max usually isn’t attracted to women. Their relationship is difficult for Emily and Max. Neither knowing what their relationship means and if they can actually be attracted to each other. Emily goes through dating other boys and feeling like she didn’t fit in from childhood.

Be Straight With Me is a very interesting memoir. I really enjoyed how Emily took specific life events and told them in a way that could relate to anyone. Emily always felt like she didn’t fit in. Some of the earliest memories in this memoir are from elementary school.

I listened to the audiobook with narration by Kate Rudd and thought she did a great job.

Thank you NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Audio for Be Straight With Me.

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This is such a beautiful memoir about a relationship that begins in university and spans young adulthood, spliced with fragments of previous and concurrent relationships. Presented it poetic verse it makes for a quick read. A rare portrait demonstrating how you can be in love with a person, even if on paper and in society it makes no sense.
The audio version of this book does not lose any of the magic of the layout of the verses and the cadence of the narrator emphasises the beauty of Dalton's words even more so.

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This memoir-collection of poems was just beautiful. I didn't know exactly what to expect but it was better than anything I could imagine. It's a beautiful story that follows her gay best friend and herself on a journey to discover one another. All the emotions were so real and relatable that anyone could feel this story with their own. It's a complex love story between Max and Emily that breaks your heart while you fall in love.

The audiobook was amazing at perfect speed to keep you entertained and also hook to the story. I love the narrator.

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This novel in verse recounts Dalton's complicated college love, with memories of her youth interspersed throughout. Dalton's poetic storytelling invokes deep empathy--inviting the reader into her story in a visceral way. I was deeply invested in her (as the "protagonist") and also in her relationship with Max, to whom she writes. This memoir is best read in one sitting. It will leave you reflecting on friendship, love, sexuality, and that tender gap between youth and adulthood.

Thank you to Netgalley for the audiobook.

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thanks to netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

"some of the most beautiful things in life come from mistakes."

when i read in the synopsis that this book was about a girl being in a relationship with her gay best friend, i told myself i couldn't pass on this one. in be straight with me, emily dalton leads us into her life with this memoir packed with strong emotions, full of love and heartbreak. the author was pretty straightforward regarding her life experiences and everything that happened in the relationship, which added a level of entertainment to the story. the fact that her feelings were poured out to the public and her sadness was shared with the reader made me appreciate this story in a great way. i recommend this to those who enjoy reading stories that deal with loneliness and breakups.

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this was an interesting one, Emily is straight and Max is gay but they end up falling for each other. Their relationship is not at all straight forward for obvious reasons. It made me a little sad for Emily but by the ending I can tell she is growing and perhaps in a better place

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I have recently felt that ig poetry was getting exceeding crap about healing and heartbreaks but Dalton takes to another level. I love her way of telling story in form of poetry which works perfectly for me.

I strongly recommend this gorgeous memoir in form of story

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I love a memoir so that is how this book first caught my attention. This, coupled with the fact that I have been wanting to integrate more poetry into my reading and with this story being told in verse… I was in! Max and Emily become friends while in college. But, in no time at all, they become more than friends but Max is gay, and Emily is straight. Emily says of Max, “I let you into my life, but I didn’t realize how much space you would take up.” They end up falling in love with each other and the story is about how they navigate a relationship that is not so black and white. The narration of this book is well done, and the feeling of despair, hope and love come across so clearly.

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Why did I feel like sobbing the whole time I listened to this audiobook? I can’t decide whether it was because it was so relatable and well written or because it’s that time of the month. Probably both.

Anyway, this is my first audiobook and I finished it in one day because it was breezy, then it was heavy, and then I just kept wanting more. It made me miss being in love with all of its ups and downs and twists and turns.

I wasn’t too thrilled with the narrator’s vocal choice for Max. I wish I would’ve read it rather than listened. I think I would have found it even more beautifully haunting.
Now I think I’ll go sit on the steps of my back deck, in the darkness of the woods, spliff in hand, and continue absorbing the echos of the prose that made me feel all the feels.

Thank you to Emily Dalton, Kate Rudd, Andrews McMeel Audio, and #NetGallery for an audioARC of #BeStraightwithMe in exchange for an honest review. Review will be posted on NetGallery, Goodreads, and Facebook.

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Depending on your lens, there are a few ways you could describe this book:

1) College students Emily and Max transform their mutual animosity into deep friendship, and then passionate desire, settling into sometimes cold indifference and sometimes fiery anger. Calling to mind Sally Rooney’s fictional “Normal People”, variations of this on-again/off-again cycle (interspersed with other relationships and casual encounters) continue until the two eventually move on and fall out of touch. “It’s a sweet, pleasant surprise,” Emily thinks, upon receiving from him a bouquet of sunflowers, “Yet here we are still, almost five years later, chasing after the ghost of an apocalyptic horse, trying to bring it back to life just so we can continue beating it to death."

2) A memoire in which Emily reduces her young life to a series of boyfriends, focusing primarily on the painful journey of falling in love with her gay best friend, Max, and losing him as both a friend and lover when things ultimately don’t work out. Told in the first/second person (I/you), you could call it a pained love letter to "the one that got away".

3) Emily reflects on all of her failed relationships, including her failure to resist her gay best friend’s romantic and sexual advances, and later her failed attempt to make permanent his “straight” relationship with her. She sums it up best when she cheekily tells Max and his latest boyfriend about her unruly hair, “Some things you just can’t force straight, am I right?”

4) An exploration of love and intimacy, of the lines we insist must differentiate friendship from sex and romance, and of the expectations and restrictions we impose when putting ourselves and others into gender and sexuality boxes.

Also, I really like Kate Rudd’s narration here; her voice feels well-suited to the mood and style of this piece.

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This is a beautifully written and very moving book.
I found myself riding the emotional waves along with Max and Emily.

I had to take some time at the end to just absorb and process it all.

Very good.

I voluntarily read and reviewed this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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I rarely read/listen to memoirs but the cover and description were intriguing: A straight girl and her gay best friend fall in love. It was quite a roller coaster of a relationship. Lots of emotions felt throughout, you can feel the happiness when things were going well and the agony and despair when things weren’t going well. Loved the poetic writing and narration was perfect. #netgalley #bestraightwithme

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I have to admit that I have developed a love for audio books over the past year or two. Which is PAINFUL for my physical book loving/sniffing self to admit. Yes, I sniff books, don’t judge me. But especially since the onset of COVID-19, as a healthcare professional, my time significantly decreased and my need for some form of relaxation significantly increased so audio books have become essential to me.

When Be Straight With Me popped up in my recommended feed I… was hesitant. Memoirs are so far out of my wheelhouse/comfort zone that I am pretty sure the zip code is somewhere around the 90210 area when compared with my east coast self. Not only is it not entirely my favorite, Be Straight With Me was written in second person POV which is something I don’t think I’ve ever read before and I wasn’t sure I would like.

First off, the voice actor, Kate Rudd, was an EXCELLENT choice to narrate this story and she did an absolutely stellar job. So much of the success of an audio book is the actor chosen to narrate and Kate was the perfect person for this.

Here’s the thing. First, second, or third person POV… I have learned it truly doesn’t matter if I am engaged and invested in the story. That, without a doubt, can be said about Be Straight With Me.

It is hard to sum up my feelings on this book (yeah, I know, not exactly the best thing for a book reviewer to admit, but there it is) because the depth of the story was profound and personal.

Emily meets Max at the beginning of her sophomore year of college. She hates him and he acts like a jerk intentionally and they basically spar with each other. But, as sometimes happens, the fighting becomes a point they actually enjoy rather than a true battle. And a friendship is born.

But it isn’t the typical friendship because of their constant banter, which is something I truly love, but also because as they grow closer an unusual physical attraction develops between them. Why unusual? Well, see, Max is gay. Not bisexual, not pansexual, not demisexual, not any other color in the LGBTQ+ rainbow. He is gay.

But he loves Emily. And he loves her with a depth that manifests into a sexual relationship with them. This, as you can imagine, causes all kinds of confusion between both of them. And, although they enter into a relationship, there isn’t a full discussion on this. Brief mentions, yes, but never do the two sit down, soberly, and discuss how this can possible work.

Of course, it doesn’t. There is a back and forth where the flame between them flares and smolders, but they always seem to come back to one another. Even when… they sleep with other people. Now, that being said, I just need to add that there is an event where I believe date rape occurred with Emily while she was working on the dude ranch over the summer. She never said it, but I think it is worth mentioning as a possible trigger warning.

Back to the book. Emily and Max eventually try threesomes, which are epic failures, to try to make sense of the twisted convolution that is their relationship.

However, eventually, real life sinks in and certain truths can’t be denied. After college and after jobs are secured, Max and Emily drift apart and Max finds love with a man.

And Emily? I think in the end, Emily—who always hated being the only blonde in a family of gingers, who hated the curls of her hair, who never really felt comfortable just being Emily—finally fell in love with Emily.

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A fantastic memoir that spans the author’s college years and mainly revolves around a complex relationship. Although this particular situation was unique, I think we can all agree that the college environment is ripe for intense and ambiguous relationships and I thought many of the feelings and experiences were extremely relatable. The book was described as a “memoir in verse” and I’m not sure if it was just because it was on audiobook, but the verse part didn’t really come through for me- if you’re not a fan of poetry, I wouldn’t let that deter you from picking this one. It’s also a quick read- the audiobook is right around three hours. If you’re looking for a beautifully written memoir that will make you nostalgic for college in a bittersweet way, I’d highly recommend this one!

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I’m definitely not poetry reader but thought I would give the book a try. I am really glad I did. This has to be one of the best love stories I have read in a while. This was gave me the same warm feeling I got from Paper Town and Fault In Our Stars. Star crossed lovers who have so much against them but try hard to overcome every obstacle. This was very well written and shared so much emotion, I couldn't stop reading it.

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An interesting memoir which as an audio, does not sound in verse as the book version states. Emily Dalton is trying to discover her sexual orientation although leans toward straight more so than not. Typical college student, she takes on various relationships, gay and non-gay. She falls in love with Max (who is gay) and a great portion of the story focusses on him. Filled with stories past and the emotional roller-coaster ride readers can relate to in their own lives, this was an easy and entertaining read.

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Be Straight With Me by Emily Dalton is a memoir told in verse that documents the author's romantic relationship with her gay male friend in college. The memoir moves swiftly and skillfully puts the reader into her experience attending a remote private college in Vermont in the 2010s. Though my experiences in college differed, I identified with Dalton's relationship experiences and ruminations. The narration was a little flat, but the story captivated me and I wanted to keep listening to find out what would happen. I really enjoyed listening to this fascinating, authentic, atmospheric memoir.

Thank you Andrews McMeel Audio and NetGalley for providing this ARC.

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Really interesting book written in a captivating way. I enjoyed it a lot and would love to read more books like this.

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This is a memoir of Emily Dalton and her relationship with her friend Max, who has recently come out as gay. Max and Emily have a very strong relationship, though it didn't start off that way. They didn't get along until later in their relationship. One Halloween they are dared to make out. Their relationship takes a turn from there. After some time, Max discloses that he has actual feelings for Emily. As time goes on, they get closer and closer and really dive into this secretive relationship of theirs leading to them taking it to levels one would never expect a straight women and gay man to take together. They go back and forth with moving forward with the relationship. At points during their schooling, they find themselves apart but still longing for one another. Emily is more inclined to make a commitment, though Max just isn't ready as he isn't quite sure what this all means to him as a gay male. These two really show us that love goes much deeper than two genders that are seen as belonging together go.
When I first started listening to this book, I have to admit, I was a bit confused. The farther I got into it, the more I loved what a beautiful original love story this was. Love doesn't just exist between two same gender or two opposite genders as we are taught. Love is just love. Two people fell in love with each other based on their experiences together and personalities. They traveled together, experimented together, and grew together. I really think it's a beautiful story. I'm not so sure that I can completely understand how this relationship occurred, as its confusing to me that someone who identifies as gay can fall in love with a straight female. Then again, it's not something I've ever experienced.
Thank you Netgalley and Emily Dalton for the opportunity to read this audio book. I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

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This was a very fascinating book. I can't believe it's a memoir and a debut novel as well. Thanks to netgalley I have received an arc of this audiobook and it was amazing point blank.
The way that Emily described her love for her gay best friend and how the relationship unraveled.
they are best friends but somehow that line became blurry. *i can relate *
That fine line between best friend and lover is very complicated and confusing. This was just a great quick listen yet again it was hard hitting. I loved it

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