I am adding more and more queer contemporary books to my TBR and loving it! When Macmillan sent me an ALC of May the Best Man Win I was so excited! There are books you don’t get to and then pop back into your life! Keep reading this book review to see my full thoughts on this emotional story of second chances and friendship.
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.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Tw transphobia, misgendering homophobia self harm,
May the Best Man Win is a case of Dual POV done so well. The audiobook narrator brings both of these POVs to life as we are able to witness a case of best intentions not gone to plan. There’s so much space between the things we intend and what can happen. All the layers of miscommunication and misinterpretation. Ellor’s characters have open narration that leaves their vulnerabilities on the page.
With a fantastic set up of exes competing against each other for Homecoming King, May the Best Man Win is a nuanced look at past mistakes haunting us, and our decision about who to be for the future. While it seems totally like a light and fluffy contemporary, May the Best Man Win is gritty, emotional, and intense. It was hard for me to pick a favorite main character because even in their mistakes and flaws, we can see all the ways they’re trying, hurting, and loving. The ways that Jeremy doesn’t always succeed as a friend. Or how he feels like he cannot be who he wants to be, even out as trans, because of him trying to be more “manly” for their respect.
Characters and Themes
Or Lucas’ questioning rep that had my heart in my throat. All his mistakes which have cruel and emotional consequences. The ways he doesn’t understand Jeremy’s pain, or how his actions will hurt the ones he loves. May the Best Man Win allows us to see the interactions from both sides and all the layers in between. How we can feel fueled by our rage at the world and ourselves. That pain and hurt which manifests in our self-absorption. And so even when we cannot agree with their choices or maybe even understand them, the narration allows us to witness their hearts on their sleeves.
All the times that pride eats at us. We can want control of our lives, our situations, and so to try to get a fragment of control can feel intoxicating. Revenge and anger can fuel us, but it can also burn us as well. May the Best Man Win celebrates that we need people around us, friends and support systems. To give up on this idea of perfection. I wish there had been some more SC development especially considering not only how awesome they were, but also how many pieces of the plot they hold up. Overall though, if you adjust your expectations from a fluffy romcom to a more emotional story, then I definitely recommend the read.
(Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links. For more information you can look at the Policy page. If you’re uncomfortable with that, know you can look up the book on any of the sites below to avoid the link)