Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Published: May 14, 2019 by: Push
Rating: 5/5 stars
CW: homophobia, transphobia, mis-gendering, parental neglect, anxiety and panic attacks
When Ben comes out as non-binary to their parents, their parents immediately react with hatred and kick Ben out of the house. With nowhere to go, Ben reconnects with their estranged sister and her husband, and the couple take Ben in and begin to reconcile the past. Ben is forced to attend a new school and meet with a therapist to cope with their anxiety disorder. While at their new school, they befriend Nathan, a charming and energetic student who shows Ben that there is hope even in the darkest of times. Nathan's and Ben's friendship begins to blossom into something more, and Ben soon learns that family does exist where you least expect it.
This book was a whirlwind of emotions. There were moments of anger, frustration, sadness, but also times of joy and renewal. While this book deals with some very emotional subject matter, it is ultimately a tale of triumph in a young non-binary teen's life. I think that this book is a great example of a coming of age story for non-binary teens who need to know that they do belong.
Ben is an incredibly well-rounded character. They go through a variety of stages throughout the book, as they start at their lowest point, and eventually come into their own. Ben at the beginning of the book is completely different to Ben at the end of the book, and this development was so wonderful to see. While this book does start off very hard for this young character, you will end up rooting for Ben through every of their milestones.
I loved the character of Nathan and the sunshine that he brought to the book. While Ben goes through very low points for obvious reasons, Nathan was always there to lift them up and to offer some support and sometimes humour in tough situations. I haven't read a book in a while with such a strong sunshine character, and Nathan certainly fulfilled this role. He was a great addition to the cast of supporting characters.
I also really loved Ben's sister and brother in-law. Things start off very awkward when Ben arrives to their sister's house, as they haven't talked in forever. While having a non-binary sibling is new and unexpected for Ben's sister, she grows, apologizes when she makes mistakes, and commits herself to getting pronouns right and making life a little easier for her sibling. This was great to see.
I also loved the therapy representation in this book. Ben is dealing with some serious mental health issues, which all becomes amplified due to parental neglect. Their therapist is understanding and patient, as well as incredibly open to the unique needs that Ben has given that they are non-binary. I enjoyed all of the scenes between Ben and their therapist and how therapy has a positive impact in Ben's life.
Overall, I loved this book. You will get angry at Ben's parents for the pain that they put their child through, but I also think it's important that readers know that there is hope at the end of this novel. While tough issues that face non-binary teens need to be talked about, non-binary joy should also be shared, and this book does just that.
Have you read I Wish You All The Best? What did you think?
Emily @ Paperback Princess