I Wish You All the Best
Booklist Reviews 2019 February #2
When 18-year-old Ben comes out as nonbinary, their parents heartlessly throw them out of the house. With nowhere else to go, Ben calls their older sister, Hannah, whom they haven't seen in 10 years, and she mercifully agrees to give them a new home. Hannah's husband, Thomas, is a teacher and arranges for Ben to enroll at his school, where Ben quickly meets Nathan, who has been assigned to help orient them. Extroverted, ebullient, and always smiling, Nathan is a bit overwhelming at first, but gradually Ben accepts Nathan's overtures of friendship—and is it possible that their friendship might blossom into something more deeply felt? First, however, Ben must find the courage to come out to Nathan. The question is, can they? Deaver's first novel deals with a complexity of serious issues that are, generally, well handled. Yes, Ben can sometimes be annoyingly self-pitying but gradually grows out of that habit, while Nathan remains a wonderfully sympathetic character throughout. Withal, Deaver's novel is a welcome addition to the growing body of LGBTQ literature. Grades 9-12. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.
PW Reviews 2019 March #3
In an emotionally complex story about finding acceptance and redefining family, 18-year-old Ben is rejected by their parents when they come out as nonbinary. They're taken in by their older sister, Hannah, who was also driven out by their conservative and judgmental parents 10 years earlier. Together they have to learn how to advance from estranged siblings to a true, caring family while Ben works to complete senior year at a new high school. And as Ben cultivates an art practice and receives the love and support of rediscovered family and of new friends, including handsome neighbor Nathan, they begin to come to terms with their trauma. Debut author Deaver portrays Ben's reaction to the difficult situation, including panic attacks and anxiety, with care and empathy, and readers will be filled with joy and hope as Ben begins to grow toward self-acceptance. Ben's voice shines through with courage and vulnerability as they learn, slowly, to feel valued and deserving of respect. A powerful illustration of the ways that compassion and love can overcome intolerance. Ages 14–up.