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I Wish You All the Best Paperback – May 5, 2020
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"Tender and bursting with humanity, I Wish You All the Best tells a heartwarming queer love story without compromise." -- Meredith Russo, Stonewall Award-winning author of If I Was Your Girl
"A beacon of hope in a broken world. We all need this book." -- Nic Stone, New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin
"Emotional and heartfelt... This is the sort of novel that goes beyond being important; it has the potential to save and change lives." -- Kacen Callender, Stonewall Award-winning author of Hurricane Child and This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story
"I Wish You All the Best reminds us that, when we open up to love, we have the capacity to become our most authentic selves." -- Adib Khorram, Morris and APALA Award-winning author of Darius the Great Is Not Okay
"A truly unique and beautiful debut." -- Adi Alsaid, author of Let's Get Lost
"Profoundly poignant and often swoon-worthy... a stunning gift to the world." -- Jay Coles, author of Tyler Johnson Was Here
"An important and inspiring novel about identity, acceptance, friendship, familial relationships, and the people who become your family." -- Sabina Khan, author of The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali
"A soft, sweet, and incredibly important story about a nonbinary teen finding their voice. This book is going to be so important to so many people." -- Alice Oseman, author of Radio Silence and Heartstopper
"A welcome addition to the growing body of LGBTQIAP+ literature." -- Booklist
"An honest coming-of-age and coming-out story... Deaver's treatment of Ben's nonbinary identity creates a realistic portrayal of their journey toward self-acceptance... through sympathetic characters and a hopeful narrative of empowerment." -- Kirkus Reviews
"A powerful illustration of the ways that compassion and love can overcome intolerance." -- Publishers Weekly
About the Author
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I happened to see in Mason Deaver’s Instagram story that hoopla had the audiobook for I Wish You All The Best a bit more than a week early. I was SO EXCITED because I have a hoopla account via my local public library. Since this doesn’t affect first week sales and this is one of my most anticipated books of 2019, I decided to dive in head first. I’ll put the TW/CWs at the end of this post. Let’s jump right into the review!
The characters in I Wish You All The Best were so amazing. Ben De Backer is now my child and I will defend them with my life. Seriously. They’re all so well written that from the very beginning I was fully invested in everyone on the page. It is obvious that Mason Deaver put their heart and soul into these characters. The representation offered is beautiful and each character could easily walk right off the page. I especially loved seeing the slow burn between Ben and Nathan. Slow burns are my new fave.
There is one thing that I knew going into this review I would need to talk about so here we go. I went into the novel knowing that there would be amazing non-binary representation. It was just as amazing and more as what I was expecting. However, there was something else that I wasn’t expecting and it took me completely off guard. I don’t know how to share this other than to quote so….
“Touch aversion can be common in people who deal with panic attacks or people dealing with anxiety. In fact, there are some people who are just born or developed that way, like asexual or aromantic people.”
I… was not expecting this? When I got to this part of the story, I was so surprised and overwhelmed that I wept. Like full-on-ugly-cry-don’t-talk-to-me-I’m-not-fine wept. I had to pause the story and walk away for a few minutes. This book is the first time I’ve seen any rep for being touch averse, which I am. I never thought I would see that represented at all and even now I’m tearing up about it a bit.
I Wish You All The Best is a contemporary novel, which means it’s a realistic fiction set in modern times. The majority of the story takes place in Raleigh, North Carolina. I haven’t been to Raleigh, but I do live in another large city in the southern United States, so it wasn’t hard for me to get a feel for the environment. Also because of that though, I’m not the best judge of the large-scale world building. Honestly, I’m the worst at that with contemporaries anyway. But each of the locations was given enough of a description that it was immersive so do what you will with that knowledge.
The story itself is perfectly paced from beginning to end, with twists and turns at just the right moments. I would even go so far as to say that I Wish You All The Best is a work of art. I can’t say I loved every moment of it because there were parts that were meant to make the reader uncomfortable (and I was) but this is a book I’ll definitely be rereading in the future.
I Wish You All The Best was right up at the top of my most anticipated 2019 releases list. There is so much hype surrounding it. And it still manages to exceed all of the high expectations placed upon it. I can not wait to read more from Mason Deaver in the future.
Pronouns are important.
Gender is Fluid.
Friends are the family you don't get you choose.
Let people be who they are.
Don't be ignorant.
This book is heartbreaking, joyous, magical, and pure all wrapped up in a purple and yellow bow. You need to read this book. Like now. Find a way to get this book into your hands.
Side note, Nathan and Ben have been added to my most favorite characters ever club. I seriously love them so much and feel like I know them. Jeez, books are wonderful.
Top international reviews
When Ben comes out as non-binary to their parents, it goes as horribly wrong as a coming out possibly can, leaving them standing at a public phone calling their sister to come get them. A new life with their sister, a new school, the opportunity to live as their authentic self, and a therapist to help them with their out of control anxiety.
And then there's Nathan, who takes Ben under his wing. Is Nathan just a friend, or could there be more?
This is both a love story, and a story of coming out. I Wish You All the Best has some beautiful moments of levity and romance, but also dark honesty around the difficulty of growing up with parents who refuse to accept who their child is.
Content warnings: misgendering, homophobia, enbyphobia, anxiety, depression, being kicked out of home
I Wish You All The Best follows Ben De Backer after they come out as non-binary to their parents. They have been thrown out of their home and all that’s left for them to do is to phone their estranged sister. She takes them in and Ben has to start at a whole new school, make new friends and find a whole new life.
This book is so stunning. It both made me happy and broke my heart. There is no other word for this bar “Groundbreaking”. With so few books out there even featuring non-binary supporting characters, this book from ownvoices author Mason Deaver is incredibly important.
Whilst I’ve never been thrown out of the house by my parents for being who I am, there were a lot of moments and struggles Ben went through where I felt I could relate a lot. They struggled a lot with anxiety and depression, which is something I know a lot about . I felt like Deaver covered these topics incredibly well and I loved that they included Ben seeing a therapist. I feel like a lot of YA contemporaries skirt around therapy or just show it in a bad light. There are a lot of good therapists out there and it really can help.
Whilst this book was quite a hard read at times, Deaver balanced humour along with the pain and sadness really well. This book feels hopeful. There are of course a lot of times with a lot of melancholy but Deaver does a wonderful job in reminding the reader that things can eventually look up. They also do a fantastic job of finding moments of humour in severe sadness.
I loved the different ways that Deaver examined familial relationships through Ben. We see Ben’s opinion of their parents and their sister change through the process of coming out. They feel like Hannah left them to be stuck with their parents, and whilst dealing with that whilst living with Hannah they realise that it wasn’t the situation they originally thought.
Nathan is a sweet cinnamon roll and I absolutely love him. He takes everything in stride and is just such a positive force in Ben’s life. I personally would like to have seen a little more of Nathan and Ben’s relationship but this is for my romance loving heart more than anything.
I honestly adored this book and I am so excited for whatever Mason Deaver comes out with next.
There will be many more eloquent and detailed reviews out there listing all the things to love about this story, and maybe about flaws too, but I couldn’t see or feel any while reading. All I felt was like I was being *seen*. From Ben’s struggles to come out to telling people their pronouns to finding their place in this new world they were thrown into after their parents kicked them out.
The bigotry and trans denialism and hatred their parents threw at them was as painful as I expected, the misgendering they were trying to deal with when they just couldn’t make themself come out yet again had me twitching and flinching along with them. But the pain wasn’t all there was. There were amazing friends, wonderful and lovely moments, quiet reprieves and heartbreaking revelations once they started to confront some of their emotions and demons. And their sister. It was… amazing. It was amazing to read and to feel and to watch, least of all because Nathan as a friend and LI was such a bright and lovely light throughout the whole book.
I could go on and on, but the core of my review will remain this: I needed this book very much, I’m still thinking back on it whenever I feel like I need a reminder that I am here and valid and good just the way I am and that all of us queer beans deserve to have a solid support system, great friends and an accepting family, biological or not. We deserve to be happy, to find our way however we want or need to, and that we are *here*, and we’re here to stay, no matter how much hate people throw our way. That is all. I love this book with my whole heart and I will carry it with me always.