I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver
Ben is non-binary. When their parents kick them out, they must go to live with their sister and her husband, and they end up at a new school for their senior year.
After their parents reaction, they’re too worried to come out to anyone but their sister. They don’t feel like they belong at school, but when a boy named Nathan takes them under his wing, things begin to change.
Queer, young adult, contemporary
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.
This is an important book for a variety of reasons. A non-binary character is incredibly rare, so this book is a rare example of this kind of representation. It deals with very harsh subjects such as transphobia and being kicked out by your parents. For this reason, it can be hard to take and even triggering for people who have been through this kind of experience.
Yet it also shows Ben coming to find their place in the world. It sends a strong message that just because someone is related to you biologically, you aren’t obligated to continue spending time with them if they abuse you.
Ben goes through one of the hardest experiences a young person can go through, but they find support and love from those who matter. The romance is very cute and slow-burn, with great chemistry.
While Nathan and Ben are well-developed, many of the side characters are not. They felt very flat and prop-like, which could have been worked on. This was particularly noticeable with Nathan and Ben’s two friends, who had little to no development and ended up feeling pointless.
This was a detractor from the story, but not enough to make it not worthwhile. It’s a great YA about feeling comfortable in your identity and standing up for yourself even if it’s your own parents that are hurting you.