Thank you so much to Turn the Page Tours, as well as the author and publisher for giving me a copy of ‘May the Best Man Win’ in exchange for an unbiased, and honest review!! This is my stop for the tour, and you can click the banner below to view the full schedule, and explore other posts!!
Title: May the Best Man Win
Author: ZR Ellor
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press, Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary, Young Adult Romance
Publication Date: May 18, 2021
Final Rating: 4 stars
Synopsis (via Goodreads):
A trans boy enters a throw-down battle for the title of Homecoming King with the boy he dumped last summer in ZR Ellor’s contemporary YA debut.
Jeremy Harkiss, cheer captain and student body president, won’t let coming out as a transgender boy ruin his senior year. Instead of bowing to the bigots and outdate school administration, Jeremy decides to make some noise—and how better than by challenging his all-star ex-boyfriend, Lukas for the title of Homecoming King?
Lukas Rivers, football star and head of the Homecoming Committee, is just trying to find order in his life after his older brother’s funeral and the loss long-term girlfriend—who turned out to be a boy. But when Jeremy threatens to break his heart and steal his crown, Lukas kick starts a plot to sabotage Jeremy’s campaign.
When both boys take their rivalry too far, the dance is on the verge of being canceled. To save Homecoming, they’ll have to face the hurt they’re both hiding—and the lingering butterflies they can’t deny.
Guest Post – Why did you choose to write this book and what was the story behind it?
It took me way too long to realize I could write a book about a trans boy! When I signed with my agent back in 2017, there was very little on the trad-pubbed market starring trans characters, and even fewer ownvoices titles, or titles about trans characters written by trans authors. I wondered what such a book would even look like, and if there would be space for it on the market.
Thankfully, I was able to get in touch with multiple other trans YA authors, and to strategize. We worked together to support and critique one another, and supported each other through the publishing process. Above all, what we agreed on was we needed to have more ownvoices stories by trans authors available for kids. We had titles aimed at cisgender queer white teens, but very little for many other members of the LBGT community.
In writing MAY THE BEST MAN WIN, I wanted to tell a story about a trans character through a trans lens. Some negative stereotypes about trans men include infantilization—the idea we’re too immature to make decisions about our bodies and lives—and toxic masculinity—the idea we only transition to access some sort of ‘masculine’ power over people. Especially early on in transition, we tend to think a lot about how we’re perceived. Am I ‘passing’ as male? Can people tell I’m trans? What negative stereotypes may be on their minds?
In Jeremy, I wanted to capture the stress that worry causes, and how it affects every aspect of your life. He spends so much of the book in ‘fight or flight’ mode, to the point he’s not even always conscious of it. All he knows is, he suddenly has to solve these complex problems, and he’s, in many ways, alone in his search for answers. Running for Homecoming King, at first, seems like an easy answer—but what he really needs is to let go of the weight he carries and rely on the people he cares about to help him. And with Lukas, I hoped to show that Jeremy’s POV is limited, and neither of them really understand what’s going on in other people’s lives. When both of them open up about their struggles, they’re able to understand each other better.
Working on MAY THE BEST MAN WIN has been a life-changing experience, and I’m so grateful for the opportunities I’ve received along the path of bringing it into the world. I’m hopeful to see many more trans books hit the shelves in years to come to help fully capture the rich diversity of trans experiences.
About the Author
Z. R. Ellor (he/him) is the author of MAY THE BEST MAN WIN and the forthcoming adult fantasy SILK FIRE (written as Zabé Ellor.) He holds a BA in English Lit and biology from Cornell University. When not writing, he can be found running, playing video games, and hunting the best brunch deals in Washington D.C.