I WISH YOU ALL THE BEST starts with main character, Ben, coming out to his parents as nonbinary. They are confused and furious, and kick Ben out of the house. Ben contacts their estranged sister who they haven’t seen or heard from in ten years, and moves in with her and her husband. The story is all about Ben picking up their life in a new school, making new friends, rekindling their relationship with their sister, trying to let go of their parents, coming to terms with their identity, and even falling in love. As you can imagine, it is an extremely emotional read.
Mason Deaver does an outstanding job of handling the feelings one has leading up to coming out and also explaining the worldview of a nonbinary individual. There is also a lot of discussion of mental health in this novel, and it is treated delicately and positively. After a lot of pushing from their sister, Ben decides to see a therapist and learns just how helpful that can be, especially after going through a traumatic experience.
One of the best parts of the book is the developing relationship between Ben and Nathan, the first friend Ben meets and their new school. Nathan is a kind-hearted, open-minded soul who Ben finds comfort in. Watching their feelings for each other grow will warm your heart. The story is also filled with a cast of plenty of other well-developed, interesting, and diverse characters. One of the most lovable ones is Mariam, Ben’s nonbinary internet best friend and online sensation who travels the world talking to others about being nonbinary. They helped Ben come to terms with their identity, and provide great support during the duration of the book. Sometimes best friend characters in YA books are boring or pushed aside, but Mariam is a hijab-wearing, advice-giving, star in this book.
There are a lot of heavy topics in this novel, but it is one of those stories that should be required reading for all teens. The premise is unfortunately a very real situation a lot of youth still face in this day and age, and there are still many kids and adults who don’t understand what nonbinary means. There are so few books out there, especially for kids, with nonbinary protagonists. It is so important to publish more and more books like these, and I WISH YOU ALL THE BEST sets an amazing precedent for hopefully many more in the future. This book is a gift to the world and everyone needs to read it.
CRITICS HAVE SAID
- “A first purchase for most libraries.” –Jenni Frencham, Indiana University, Bloomingtonα
IF YOU LOVE THIS BOOK, THEN TRY:
- The Music of What Happens by Bill Konigsberg, 2019
- What if it’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera, 2019
- History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera, 2017