Ben DeBacker has the highest hopes for coming out to their parents. They’re their child after all – surely they’ll understand. Instead, they find themself kicked out and crashing with their older sister, who they haven’t seen in ten years. Ben is forced into a new life with Hannah and her husband and decides to only come out to them and their new therapist. But when a charming student at their new school becomes determined to befriend Ben, they may find that their parents’ rejection was only the beginning to a happier life.
I believe that when you love a book, it’s in one of two ways – either you — or it takes up residence quietly in your heart and in the back of your mind for weeks. I Wish You All the Best is turning out to be the latter. This book was so impactful in so many ways. The writing is absolutely beautiful and immersive, the characters vivid, and the story ultimately full of hope. It truly shows that your family isn’t always the one you’re born into, but the people you choose to let into your life. Despite their parents’ expectations of Ben, they learn to follow what they want for themself and do what they want. They form relationships with people who love them for who they are, not who they want Ben to become.
The discussions of mental health in this book were amazing as well. It’s not easy to be kicked out, constantly misgendered, and expected to be someone you’re not to fit in. Ben struggles with anxiety, depression, panic attacks, and the weight of their family situation. Hannah may be wonderful to them, but she still abandoned them with their parents, and that isn’t something that can be overcome overnight. Even at the end of the book, Ben is still struggling with their mental health. I really appreciated that they weren’t totally “cured” by their relationships. Rather, they spend the story learning to cope with mental illness and are still loved unconditionally. I Wish You All the Best was a wonderful story that really explored the complexities of being a nonbinary teen and finding your family in unexpected places.
Yours in love and literature, Page.
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