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 review might be really short or it might be really long and maybe somewhere in between. I’m not sure what I’m going to want to talk about or how I’m going to review it. But I know I want this book to be on my blog, I want to promote it, and I want to let people know how much I adored it. Trigger warnings: underage drinking, suicide idealization, anxiety, panic attacks, depression, parental abuse (emotional and physical), misgendering (purposeful and accidental), homophobia, transphobia
I’ve been looking forward to this one for awhile. I’m so happy that a non-binary person is the main character and that they get a happy ending. I knew I wanted to read it.
This book is so raw and so real. It’s real in that the story is told realistically, the characters act like teens, the situations are so true to real life. It’s also real in they way this seems like a little piece of someone’s soul. It feels like Deaver put everything they had into this book and it shows.
This story made my soul ache and my heart melt. There are tough situations and hard conversations and Ben is uncomfortable and sad and lost. Despite this, so many of the scenes made me grin and made me really happy. Hannah asking which pronouns Ben uses and the use of they/them pronouns throughout. I know it was kind of given that they/them pronouns would be used, but it was still really awesome to see.
One thing I really liked was how therapy was portrayed. I haven’t read a lot of books where therapists/therapy were shown in such a realistic light. At least to me! Ben’s therapist doesn’t have all the answers and she doesn’t give them the magic piece of advice that fixes everything. Appointments are hard and tiring and scary at times. And progress is slow, but it’s there. Ben’s mental health is different than mine, but I really felt it and I really related to it.
All of the characters were so well rounded. The side characters were just as prevalent and there as the main characters and I fell in love with them just the same. They really added another layer to the book.
I’m not sure how to describe how good this book is. It’s so well written and non-binary teens are going to love it. It’s sad and heart wrenching, but worth it. I want everyone to feel the feelings that this book made me feel. I don’t know how to describe it, but I do know that this book needs to be read.
Thank you for reading!