May the Best Man Win

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed May the Best Many Win by ZR Ellor. Going into this story, I was jaded by one of my last trans YA reads and had checked my expectations at the door. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked Jeremy, flaws and all. He isn’t a perfectly moral character, by any stretch of the imagination, and I appreciated his self-reflections of the flaws he acknowledges. He felt like an authentic teenager with typical teenager drama paired with the unique challenges of being trans.

Another unexpected aspect was that the main plot of the story isn’t romance. Sure, there is a love interest or two, and some back history between Jeremy and his ex that made for extra drama and tension. However, the majority of the story focused on Jeremy, his transition, and the reactions of family, friends, schoolmates, and random people he happened to come into contact with. There are some surprising, maybe even shocking, responses that realistically put into perspective the challenges transpeople face everyday. Jeremey finds he can’t assume everyone understands or accepts him as his authentic self.

Jeremy is brash at times, unapologetically asserting his gender and pronouns when–intentionally or not, maliciously or not–someone misgenders him. He is also selfish and self-absorbed in the ways you’d expect from a high school senior whose goals are the center of his world.

I enjoyed the diverse cast of characters that fleshed out the story. I think such diversity is important for YA books, to show young people that straight, cis, and white aren’t the ultimate traits.

***Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.***

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