I enjoyed that that this was an own voices novel about a nonbinary teen, something even in lgbt Young adult books that is not written about or talked about as much as it should be. Especially not AMAB who is non-binary, or least I have sadly not read many books where that was the case. I enjoyed that even though the books has lots of various queer experiences non of them feel forced for the sack of diversity alone and non of the characters feel like they are just to be tokens nor do they feel like their whole personality is their sexuality or gender identity. Even Nathan , the love interest, who is revealed to be bisexual toward the end of the book, a revelation that feels honest to the character and the story and not just a "choice" by the author to make sure their characters can end up at the end.
Mentioning the romance by the end I was rooting for them to get together because it was a journey to get there. It was obvious that they had feelings but it always felt like their friendship mattered way more and that they were not certain the other felt the same. Too often friendship is thrown aside because the romance matters more or that an author rushes through the friendship stage to get to the romance. It was nice to see that often moving from one stage to another takes time and that not only is it worth it but the time before becoming more than friends is important that that it matters.
I like that the book deals with the messier parts of coming out and that sometimes the best option at the moment to to distance yourself from those people that can not except you even if they are family and even if you know you still love them. Too many times it seems to end up with a happy ending an author will have characters that are not accepting suddenly be overly accepting by the end. In particular novels and if it makes sense in terms of character development the the plot this can be a good thing but too many times it comes off as rushed and unrealistic. Life is messy and as much as it would be wonderful if everyone would finally accept their lgbt+ family in some cases that either takes time or in some cases just doesn't happen. So I really appreciate that author didn't attempt in the final few pages to tie everything up with a nice red bow by having the parents magical come all loving and accepting. Again real life is filled with "endings" that are not always nice and clean and happy.
I also like that therapy is presented in a positive light without being an instant cure all. That it is actually present as work from both sides . That and that medication is not some wonder drug that cures all your problems. I like that it took time for Ben to be comfortable wish their therapists and that at times they were not comfortable sharing certain things til later on in the novel.
I also really liked that the author did not shy away from saying that bisexual and pansexual people freaking exist since so much in Young adult novels if someone likes more than one gender their sexuality either gets skirted around to avoid using one of those labels or it's "I don't use labels", which is fine if that in itself is discussed but usually it is a get around to avoid using bisexual most often or just pretending both pansexual and bisexual people don't exist. Mentioning the no labels thing feel it is important to mention that I like that even though several labels are used for various people Ben , though comfortable with their non-binary label, is not as firm on a sexual label and is still figuring it out though they do preferring more masculine presenting people. I believe they say bisexual with a type or something of that , which I feel is even more rare in books in general so that was nice to see as well.
I think my only gripe about this book is that I am still a bit unsure exactly how Ben and Mariam are friends. Get that Ben watched their videos and that they are both nonbinary and course talked and found out they have several interests in common but just that getting to know each other is not really talked about. From the sounds of it Mariam is a popular uploader , so popular in fact that they get to met celebrities are during the course of the books going on tour to give various speeches about their experience . I am not saying it is impossible for them to be friends but just if Mariam's channel is as popular as it seems I am not sure I buy that one day they say Ben's message out of the possible hundreds or even thousands of messages they receive and they just so happen to decide to reply to Ben's . Just I can see various other teens who are also nonbinary message to say how Mariam's videos spoke to them and such. It is a small gripe , though and maybe Ben messaged when Mariam's channel was smaller .
Overall though think the book is is a wonderful coming of age story of finding yourself, first love, and trying to make the best in a world or family that is not always loving or understanding