While I am not this book’s intended audience, if you identify as queer or as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community I could see this book being an essential read. At times heartbreaking but still hopeful, this is a must read.
From Goodreads: 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.
This book does a great job of showing the struggles queer youth face in society while also giving hope that things are changing for the better. I think telling the story from Ben’s perspective was a great choice as it allows the reader to really get into the mind of a nonbinary person. This also made the book hard to read at times because Ben does not know how to deal with all the emotions they are feeling which leads to some bad and unwise decisions. I really liked that Deaver shows the reader that while a lot of what Ben is dealing with is because they are nonbinary, they are also a normal teenager in many respects, like having to make new friends or going to parties. Deaver also does a great job of showing what it is like to be nonbinary and having to choose who you want to be part of your life and who you don’t. Ben has to make some tough, sad decisions in this book and Deaver doesn’t shy away from showing the pain this causes. But, in the end, this book is ultimately hopeful. Ben finds a supportive group of friends and a person he can be his true self with. Their future is looking bright and I appreciate that Deaver wanted to show that people can survive truly dark times in their life and come out on the other side better for it.
I would recommend this book to anyone but especially LGBTQIA+ and nonbinary people AND people who are curious about what being nonbinary means. I highly recommend this book.
Favorite Quote: “Whatever happens”—his grip tightens a little—“I wish you all the best, Benjamin De Backer.” He says it with a smile. “You deserve it.”
Author: Mason Deaver
Published: May 14th, 2019
Rating: 4 Stars