When Ben de Backer comes out to their parents, the last thing they expect to happen, happens: they’re kicked out. They don’t know what to do until their estranged sister takes them in and gives them a new home and life. Their new school seems amazing, along with their new friend/crush Nathan.
Why this book?: I’ve been following Mason since I got on Twitter, and watching their journey to publishing this book has been amazing. Plus, it features a non-binary character–like me!
It’s hard to write a review for a book you adore–I’ve learned that when writing my reviews for Mask of Shadows, Ruin of Stars, and even Once & Future. I feel like I’m just gushing my emotions out, and not telling readers anything of import–and I have a feeling this will be just the same.
IWYATB starts off very, very painfully. If you don’t want to deal with a book that has a lot of enbyphobia, then I might wait on this one. However, it was made clear from the very beginning that the book would be like this, and it didn’t come out of the left field like it did for me when I started reading Simon Vs.. It took me a long time to get through the beginning of this book, mainly because of how tough and painful this was. However, it gets so much sweeter and fluffy, and I have to say that this book is worth the pain.
Once you get past the painful beginning, Ben’s story becomes so sweet and fluffy that I could barely contain myself. You get to see Ben go from a negative community to an extremely positive and accepting one, and it gave me so much hope. Mason was able to develop these characters so well, both the ones that Ben had in their life before coming out, and the new relationships they develop after moving in with their sister. I especially loved the relationship that was developed, at first awkwardly, with Ben and their sister’s husband. If Mason’s next books are anything like I Wish You All the Best in terms of writing and development ,you can guarantee that I will be eagerly following their publications.
Lastly, the romance of this book felt so natural and intense. I don’t know if people would call this a slow-burn, but the relationship between Ben and Nathan was developed so naturally, and I just couldn’t get over their interactions. Their interactions with each other made this book so, so amazing, and I just–GAH. It was so, so good, and I don’t know how else to express my love for this book.
Final Rating: ★★★★★
Everything about this novel was so well developed and thought out. Mason Deaver expertly crafted the characters and the plot, and I cannot wait to read more of their work. They’re definitely an exceptional writer, and I’m so happy to have met Ben and Nathan through them. I really hope this book encourages more genderqueer writers to write their stories.
Would I Recommend?
I would say that this book is fairly similar to Simon Vs., so I have a feeling that if you liked that book, you’ll like this one too. If you don’t want a book that also deals with heavy topics, though, I would wait on this one like I said before. However, the pain Ben goes through in this book is so, so important. And the ending is well worth it.
TW for queerphobia, enbyphobia, and misgendering (both on purpose to hurt and accidental). (Let me know if I missed any, it’s been a bit since I read!)
Published: May 14th, 2019
Page Count: 336
Genre: Young Adult/Contemporary/Romance
Synopsis: via Goodreads
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.