5 stars out of 5 stars
Thank you IReadYA, Push, and Mason Deaver for the advanced reader’s copy of this book.
When I saw that IREADYA was giving a copy of this book at Yallwest I knew I had to get one and if I didn’t I would just buy it. I started reading it at a time that just made sense to me and I cried after reading the first page.After that I knew that I had to keep reading but also didn’t want to read too fast because I didn’t want it to end.
I don’t even know where to begin when I start talking about how much I loved this book. Actually I do know where to begin, I begin by thanking @Mason_Deaver because without them this book wouldn’t be here. Without them I wouldn’t have a book that made me feel a lot less alone, so thank you.
I like being honest with all of you and honesty requires some vulnerability and I knew that posting this review was going to require that from me. I picked this up after a fight I had with my dad in which he insisted my unemployment was due to me using a preferred name over my given name. Now he won’t ever point out that I’m trans, he’ll always say it’s this “name thing,” because he thinks I’m confused. Most times I can shrug off all his comments about me but this time he insisted that this was unprofessional and it looked like I didn’t know who I was. Because of these comments he really made me question my worth not just as a professional but as a person, and question if maybe things would be better if I pretended I was Cisgender. This is why I cried when I picked up this book, this is why I cried every time I read more of this book because so much of what Ben is feeling is what I’m feeling and have felt before.
I Wish You All the Best is a story about a non-binary teenager,Ben, who comes out to their parents only to get kicked out of their house. They wind up reaching out to their sister and moving in with her after not having seen her in 10 years. Ben now has to navigate moving to a new city, coming out to different people, being closeted at school, making new friends, and their ever-changing relationships with others.
How can I even begin to tell you all how much I loved this book or how much it meant to me as a non-binary queer boi?
This was the first LGBTQ+ book that I have read where there is not a happy start to coming out or even a neutral start to someone coming out. It wasn’t just a bit of confusion or denial on Ben’s parents part, it was flat out rejection of their child. It was something that I needed to read because even if my coming out story isn’t as harsh as Ben’s story is, it still took an emotional toll on me.
I loved reading about the complex feelings that Ben has towards their parents and how they don’t know if they love their parents still or how they should even feel. I felt for Ben when they talk about their want/need for a happy family and how they thought maybe it would be good to hear their parents out but also not being sure about it. I wanted them to be able to fix everything and be okay but I also knew that it would be a step backwards and could do so much harm to Ben.
Something else that I loved hearing about in this book was Ben’s relationship with Mariam who was in California. They make mention several times about how they are world’s apart from each other and how Ben needs to make friends closer to where they are at. It just reminded me of how I used the internet as a means to build a community and discover things about my gender.
I didn’t just connect with Ben though and that was one of the amazing things about this book. I was able to connect with everyone in the book and understand each of their perspectives. I loved everyone that came into contact with Ben and wanted them to be able to navigate some of these complex relationships successfully.
I recommend this to all non-binary/Transgender individuals who are struggling or have struggled with their identity. I think it’s really a nice way to connect with someone that reminds you of yourself. I also recommend this to anyone who may want to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community and what it might be like to be a non-binary teenager.
About the Book: When Ben De Backer comes out to their parents as nonbinary, they’re thrown out of their house and forced to move in with their estranged older sister, Hannah, and her husband, Thomas, whom Ben has never even met. Struggling with an anxiety disorder compounded by their parents’ rejection, they come out only to Hannah, Thomas, and their therapist and try to keep a low profile in a new school.
But Ben’s attempts to survive the last half of senior year unnoticed are thwarted when Nathan Allan, a funny and charismatic student, decides to take Ben under his wing. As Ben and Nathan’s friendship grows, their feelings for each other begin to change, and what started as a disastrous turn of events looks like it might just be a chance to start a happier new life.
At turns heartbreaking and joyous, I Wish You All the Best is both a celebration of life, friendship, and love, and a shining example of hope in the face of adversity.
About the Author: Mason Deaver is a non-binary author and librarian in a small town in North Carolina where the word ‘y’all’ is used in abundance.
When they aren’t writing or working, they’re typically found in their kitchen baking something that’s bad for them, or out in their garden complaining about the toad that likes to dig holes around their hydrangeas.
About the book and about the author were borrowed from Goodreads.
You can find this book on amazon or look for it at your local library.