Don’t have time to read the entire review? That’s okay! Scroll down to the very end for a TL;DR.
Content Warnings: parental abuse, misgendering, transphobia, homophobia, anxiety, panic attacks, suicide idealization, underage drinking
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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.
Y’all, Mason Deaver can write. They have such an incredible ability to make you completely feel the words on the page in a way few other authors can. Deaver wasted no time in getting us right into the story and that was something I really appreciated. In the first chapter, when Ben was preparing to come out to their parents, I could literally feel the pit in my stomach I would get any time I had to talk to my parents about something important. Deaver’s writing did that. It made me uncomfortable, but in a good way that enabled me to understand exactly what Ben was feeling.
Sometimes the world is too loud…i wish you all the best by mason deaver
This was the first book I had read with a character using they/them pronouns and I am so thankful that this representation is finally going to be available to those that need it through an own voices novel. I Wish You All the Best is such an important story and it is going to impact so many lives. Ben, like so many enby teens, just wants to be accepted for who they are, and this novel will show them that it is possible.
I Wish You All the Best is incredibly character driven and I really loved that. Hannah and Thomas were so wonderful and compassionate. It was great to see how hard they were trying to respect Ben’s preferences and how they would apologize when they messed up and made mistakes. Nathan was so precious and the happiness that exudes out of him was contagious. He is such a bright spot in Ben’s life and I’m glad he was included in this story. Ben was complicated in the best way. Seeing them go through the process of learning forgiveness, trust, and self-care was incredible when at the end you think about where they started from.
Overall, I really enjoyed Mason Deaver’s enby book baby. I can’t say that it’s one of the best things I’ve ever read, and honestly I couldn’t tell you why. The characters and story were great, but something that I can’t pinpoint just felt off for some reason. But this really is such an important book and I hope that it gets into the hands of every single reader that needs it. I Wish You All the Best is a hard hitting, emotional, and necessary story that is more than worth the time it will take you to read it.
TL;DR: I Wish You All the Best is a hard hitting, emotional, and necessary story that is more than worth the time it will take you to read it.
All quotes should be checked for accuracy against the final published novel.