I Wish You All The Best
Written by Mason Deaver, published by PUSH, an imprint of Scholastic, 2019
On New Year’s Eve, in a small town in North Carolina, high school senior Ben finally works up the nerve to say those three little words to their parents, “I am nonbinary.” At first, relief floods over them, but then the yelling starts. Ben’s dad says, “You need to leave.” Next, Ben finds himself barefoot and without a coat walking in the chilly night air. He decides to make a collect call from a payphone to an older sister named Hannah, who they haven’t seen or spoken to in ten years, since she walked out on their family and never looked back. Ben asks Hannah to please come and pick them up.
Excerpt from the book:
Yesterday actually happened.
It takes me more than a few minutes to realize it wasn’t some super vivid nightmare, or a fever dream or something. It was really real.
I came out to my parents, and they kicked me out of the house.
To think I’d been ignorant enough to believe it’d go well. I really did. I thought that we could still be this happy family, no secrets between us. I could actually be me. And I should’ve known better than that.
And now everything is over.
I don’t know whether to cry or scream or do both. It feels like I’ve done more than enough of both. And it feels like I haven’t done enough.
And at some point, I know I’m going to have to crawl out of this bd and pick up the pieces, but right now it can be just me. Just me, these four walls, and this bed.
The universe doesn’t have to exist outside this bedroom, and that’s perfectly okay.
Ben has moved in with his estranged older sister Hannah and her husband Thomas, who he had never 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. Ben does have an additional ally in Mariam. Mariam is a famous nonbinary YouTuber who posts lots of videos and vlogs online on all things trans. Their videos are the reason Ben knows what they identify as, and when Ben initially mustered the courage to come out to someone, it was Mariam. Ben and Mariam have become close via the internet over the past year and Ben finds comfort and support in their friendship.
Ben’s attempts to survive the last half of senior year at his new school unnoticed are thwarted when Nathan Allen, a funny and charismatic student decides to take Ben under his wing. As Ben and Nathan’s friendship grows, their feelings 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.
Mason Deaver is a nonbinary author who can be found at: https://www.masondeaverwrites.com
I Wish You All The Best is their first novel and won the Pink News’ Best Young Adult Book Award, as well as being named one of Cosmopolitan’s 100 Best YA Books. An interview with the author about this book can be found at: https://www.geeksout.org/2020/03/06/interview-mason-deaver/
This book review was submitted by Stand with Trans board member Barb Shumer, who is a retired public librarian.
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