Tag Archives: LGBTQ+

Book Review: I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver

I Wish You All the Best   

Author: Mason Deaver

Publisher: Push

American release date: May 14, 2019

Format/Genre/Length: Hardback/Teen & YA LGBTQ+ Romance/336 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

It seemed like a good idea at the time. Coming out to his parents as non-binary, that is. Being honest  with them about who they really were. But for Ben de Backer, the truth quickly turns ugly when his horrified parents arbitrarily kick them out of their house. They have nowhere to go and nowhere else to turn except to Hannah, the older sister they haven’t spoken with in ten years, now married and living an hour away, in Raleigh (at least according to her Facebook).  Surprised to hear from her brother, she agrees to pick Ben up and take them to her home.

Ben tells Hannah the reason for what happened, and she is surprisingly supportive. Ben meets his brother-in-law, Thomas, who teaches chemistry at the local high school. Hannah rallies behind her brother, telling them they can stay with her and she’ll help him out with their needs – such as enrolling in school, buying new clothes (they left with only what they were wearing), as well as therapy. Ben isn’t sure about the last, but they agree to try. While waiting in the office on their first day of school, Ben meets a nice-looking affable fellow student named Nathan. Is it Karma that Nathan is assigned to show Ben around the school? They become fast friends. Maybe life will be better here…it certainly can’t get worse.

Or can it? As Ben’s feelings for Nathan grow, they’re afraid to say anything, afraid to lose him. Nathan is certainly supportive of everything Ben does, including their art, and encourages Ben to display his work at the student art show. How will Nathan feel when he sees the portrait Ben drew of him? Will they ever be accepted for who they are?

I really enjoyed reading this book, and loved Ben so much! I felt for him when he was kicked out by his parents, knowing how that feels, and was thrilled when Hannah stepped in to anchor his world. There are some wonderful characters, including Ben and Nathan, Meleika and Sophie, Hannah and Thomas, Mariam, and more. Ben’s fear of not being accepted for who they are is understandable, and only goes to show that we must all work hard to erase the negativity surrounding those who are not what others consider to be “normal”. In other words, a new “normal” needs to be established where pre-conceived notions of gender and sexual identity need to be rearranged. I think this book will go a long way toward doing that.

Kudos to Mason Deaver for writing such a beautiful and meaningful book. I look forward to reading more of their writings.

Book Review: Boys Run the Riot, Vol 1 by Keito Gaku

Boys Run the Riot, Vol 1     

Author: Keito Gaku

Publisher: Kodansha Comics

American release date: May 25, 2021

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/LGBTQ+/240 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Ryo feels as if he is living a lie, just because he appears to be a girl when he knows, inside, that he is a boy. But it’s not as easy as telling everyone the truth, because that just isn’t going to happen, and he knows no one will accept him if he does. So he does what he can. Each morning when he leaves the house, he stops in the train station bathroom to change into more comfortable boys’ clothing and put on a binder. Chika is his good friend, but he hasn’t even told her how he feels.

A new student arrives in Ryo’s class. His name is Jin and he should be a third year but was gone for a while and is repeating second year. The teacher directs him to the seat behind Ryo, who wonders how this guy can want to draw attention to himself the way he does. Ryo is seen by most people as weird, but how can he help that when he isn’t even allowed to be the person he is inside? And when he is with Chika, he can’t help but wish he was born a boy.

After school, Ryo goes to a new pop-up clothing store for a brand he really likes, but just as he reaches for a T-shirt, another hand reaches for it at the same time. Turns out the hand belongs to Jin! Jin thinks it’s great that they have the same taste, and he wants Ryo to make a brand with him, sell T-shirts online. But Ryo runs away.

Later, Ryo and Jin begin to talk, and Ryo starts to think maybe they should do the brand thing. But he is more afraid of what people think than Jin is. Jin thinks Ryo is more creative, so he can design the shirts, while Jin will take care of the business aspect. They make their first shirt and go to the Photography Club to see if they can borrow a camera to take pictures for promotion. That is where they meet Itsuka, the sole member of the club. He loves taking photos and uses a vintage camera his father gave him before giving up on his own photography career. But Itsuka is himself suffering from peer pressure and isn’t sure what to make of Ryo and Jin at first.

Just started reading this today and I already love this series! You don’t see a lot of transgender main characters in manga, especially not trans boys. You have to feel for Ryo, having to hide who he is because of society’s assumptions about him. I like both him and Jin and think they have the makings of good friends. Ryo’s revelation regarding how he feels didn’t bother Jin one bit. He tends to embrace the truth and isn’t afraid to show it. I look forward to reading more about them in the future.