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Ben is a vulnerable teen who gets kicked out of their home for being non-binary. Ben moves in with their sister, Hannah and her husband. Slowly things start to come together. This was an incredible story and I hope teens find it on the shelves. It's important to see this kind of representation in YA books, and even better when it's such a well-written heart warming story. There are some difficult scenes, but the positives help balance the book. I could not put this book down and I think that teens will find it and love it too. 5/5 stars - SAPL Read It & Review Contributor
Oh, my heart. This whole book broke my heart and put it back together again. Nathan is the sweetest character to ever exist and I only wish that every enby (non-binary) person had someone so caring fighting in their corner. This book is hard to read at times and trigger warnings on emotionally abusive parents, depression & anxiety. Hopefully this book will teach the importance of proper pronoun usage and understanding the weird emotional struggle some of us have with asking for the right pronouns to be used.
Okay, first of all, hands down, Ben is the most relatable and loveable character I have ever "met" in a fiction book. I loved every minute of Ben's life story in this novel, except almost every minute that involved their parents. Their interactions with their parents are highly cringe-worthy and heartbreaking. I cried during their first panic attack because it reminded me of some of my worst panic attacks. I laughed in almost every moment Miriam was a part of in the book because they are so comfortable in their own skin. I'd highly recommend this book. It was not only educational for me but it was also such a great work of realistic fiction from an Own Voice perspective.
I Wish You All the Best is such a groundbreaking book that will let multiple people feel seen.
Trigger Warnings: misgendering, homophobia, anxiety, depression
When Ben finally decides to come out to their parents that they're nonbinary, everything goes south and Ben's out on the streets in just their socks. They call a sister they haven't had any contact with in 10 years to come pick them up and they begin living with them. Ben just wants to get through the last half of senior year unnoticed but they meet Nathan, a charming and humorous student who gets asked to show Ben around on their first day at their new high school, and feelings start to grow. Trying to deal with the rejection of their parents, depression and anxiety, as well as if and when they want to come out, Ben has a lot of their plate.
So much happens within just the first three chapters alone that my heart breaks for Ben and all I want is for them to have a happy ending. I believe this is a book that needs to be added to everyone's reading list.
- It really dives into how being closeted, even slightly, can affect mental health.
- How living a life that isn't 100% true to you is agonizing (in Ben's case, misgendering).
- The book, in my opinion, shows what it's truly like to have a panic attack and trying to figure out the triggers and then going through the steps to try and calm your nerves.
- It shines light on those who haven't really had much light shined on them in mainstream anything. There is a pansexual character in the book and so far, I've only read one other book with that representation and it made me smile.
- The book also brings up the struggle of figuring out "how and why do I want to label myself?" Rather that's to live your life to the fullest, to connect to others, or to give yourself a sense of being, everyone's reasons are different and Ben's story mentions that quite a bit.
Though I understand the book was focusing on Ben's journey as they begin coming out as nonbinary and trying to work through their anxiety and depression, I do wish some of the relationships were more flushed out. I feel like scenes were just glazed over and I just wish I would see more of Ben's friendships grow.
It can be difficult to find a story with non-binary teen characters, particularly one that highlights the myriad of internal struggles unique to those exploring their gender identity. I WISH YOU ALL THE BEST does so with care and honesty, and will be useful to any reader who may have questions about their own identity. The story acknowledges very difficult challenges (family, school, relationships, expression) while also sharing the benefits of learning to love yourself, friendships, therapy, and love.
If you're looking for a fast, delightful read, this book is for you. I Wish You All the Best is one of the very few books I've read with a non-binary protagonist written by a non-binary person. I love it. I can't express how much I treasure this book. Representation is important. This delightful love story is important.
I'm excited to see what Mason Deaver writes in the future. I will read anything they choose to publish.
Books with nonbinary main characters, especially written by nonbinary authors are rare, but needed. what makes this book even more amazing and rare is that it is about a nonbinary character who was assigned male at birth (AMAB), the story highlights how being AMAB and defying the norms of masculinity can affect a person. With the few books with nonbinary or gender non-conforming characters, it is common for them to be AFAB (assigned female at birth) so having a narrator who is nonbinary and AMAB is rare and much needed. This is a beautiful book.
Very much a tween romance book. I would have loved it 10 years ago but now I'm old and jaded. Still great for what it's trying to be!
This is such a beatitful and so incredibly important book and I feel in love with the writing, the characters and the story. Ben's voice is wonderful and you feel their pain, their doubts, their emotional vulnerability. However, I do think that I would have loved more of a development in terms of the side characters - Nathaniel and Ben's sister especially had no real impact to their story and I wished there was more time spent on flushing out their characters as well.
A sweetly written, hope-filled book about a young teen accepting their identity as someone who is non-binary, and finding people in their life who will accept them for who they are. An extremely important Own Voices novel of self-discovery and self-love that everyone should read.
Vulnerable, lovely, and ultimately, hopeful. I hope this book finds its way to the readers who need it.
What a great book. I loved Ben and I could really feel the struggle that they were going through. This is a book that every person should read.
This #ownvoices novel about a non-binary teen should be on everyone's essential reading list for the year. I think fans of Becky Albertalli's novels will love this one and any teen who is looking for a wonderful new contemporary novel. I highly recommend it to both teens and adults.
You will adore Ben De Backer! This is a much needed Own Voices story about a non-binary teen's struggle with coming out to unsupportive parents and dealing with anxiety and mental health issues. Though Ben's story has its heavy, emotional and painful moments, it's mixed in with charm, a bit of romance, lightness and a hopeful ending.