Title: I Wish You All the Best
Author: Mason Deaver
Publishing Date: May 14th
Age Category & Genre: YA 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 book has been on my tbr since the first time I saw it. With that beautiful and artsy cover, I just could not not add it on my everlasting tbr. But what actually pushed me to finally pick this up was one of Filipe’s wrap up video I watched on their Booktube account and I was so glad for that night. Filipe said that this was just all about wishing you all the best, and dang, that was so right.
DEEP EXPLORATION AND HEAVY EMPHASIS ON GENDER SENSITIVITY, HAVING DYSFUCTIONAL FAMILY, SEEKING PROFESSIONAL HELP AND CHOOSING THE RIGHT FRIENDS AND FAMILY
I Wish You All the Best is written on Ben’s POV. And it started with Ben coming out as a non-binary to their parents right on the very first chapter. So, if you have an experience with regard to coming out or is just cautious about this topic, I want to inform you that Ben being extremely anxious and working on their courage is the first thing that will welcome you as well as their parents’ homophobia.
What makes this unique for me is how it gives importance to things most people tend to treat as secondary to other themes or topics. I Wish You All the Best heavily emphasizes the use of right pronouns, identification and understanding one’s gender identity and sexual orientation, and the importance of mental health.
I loved how the effect of misgendering someone was shown and teaches us the importance of being sensitive to one’s feelings and preference. Similarly, this book shone a spotlight to the importance of seeking professional help when it comes to one’s mental health. This provides idea on how it actually works inside the four corners of a room between a psychologist and their patient. And I loved that it was a major part of the book. And we actually got to read each sessions. There was also a scene where peer pressure was tackled and its effects were shown. Surprisingly, it also shows us how valid and real having on line friends are. And I liked how it shows that on line influencers – especially those from marginalized groups, can have actual impact on people’s lives. Because THAT IS SO TRUE.
Lastly, I admire the bravery and honesty of this book for tackling the complexity of loving your parents because they are your parents and hating them for making you feel unsafe, unloved and unaccepted. This is such a hard topic to discuss but is relevant and important.
AN ADORABLE SET OF CHARACTERS AND FRIENDS TO LOVERS TROPE
I loved the characters so much. Ben is an amazing and interesting character. As well as the other characters in their life from Hannah, to Thomas, to Mrs. Liu, to Mariam, to Sophie and Meleika to Dr. Taylor. No matter how small or big, they all played important roles in their life.
My heart almost burst because of Nathan and their romance!!! Nathan and Ben’s relationship just made me all too soft and I am so happy a character like Nathan exists in the fictional universe I want to cry. Nathan is bursting with sunlight and warmth and I love all the pun and lol moments he brings. I loved how his relationship with Ben developed from friendship to something more and to something with a label and enjoyed their journey of exploring their feelings. (I’d love a Nathan Allan in my life pls thank you)
I also loved the sibling relationship between Hannah and Ben. How it was explored and restored. Hannah is flawed but thoughtful, loving and open-minded. I totally understood Hannah (I saw parts of me in her) but I also understood Ben. I loved how realistic their situation is and how realistic it was addressed.
TOO RELATABLE AND AND TOO ACCURATE
I Wish You All the Best is written for the non-binary, for the children whose family is not as strong, as close, and as safe as those around them, and for the warriors battling against anxiety, panic attacks and depression in every day of their lives.
I cannot really comment on the non-binary rep as I am not in the right place. But as someone whose constantly battling against anxiety, panic attacks and depression AND experienced the hardships and drama that comes with having a dysfunctional family, I can say that the representation in I Wish You All the Best is ACCURATE AF. Ben’s experience is all too relatable for me it hurts. The way they think, feel and react to certain situations totally make sense to me and something I may have also experienced in my life. I love how it all feels so real, and raw, and honest, I just knew that it was written by someone who also experienced the same.
WHAT TOOK A STAR OFF
I had a hard time connecting to the book at first. I thought the writing was just okay. I didn’t particularly like it right on the very first page because they sounded like robots talking to me. But I eventually got the hang of it and enjoyed the easy flow of its simple writing.
Also, I’m just tired of this cliche where the principal orders this cool, seems-to-be-friends-with-everyone student to tour this introverted transferee on the campus and that being the first time the main character and their love interest meets.
I Wish You All the Best is a deep, raw and beautiful book that wishes non-binary people, children from dysfunctional families and those who are suffering from anxiety, panic attacks and depression all the best. If you identify with the reps in this book, I genuinely think you’d enjoy this.
And of course, I cannot end this without saying…
Thank you for writing this beautiful book and I wish you all the best, Mason Deaver.
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.
Find them here: Website
Have you read I Wish You All the Best? How was it? What are your favorite books about mental health and with LGBTQIAP+ characters? Share your thoughts below!