Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “May the Best Man Win” as Want to Read:
May the Best Man Win
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

May the Best Man Win

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  819 ratings  ·  351 reviews
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 b
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published May 18th 2021 by Roaring Brook Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about May the Best Man Win, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Z.R. Ellor The illustrator is J Yang and you can find his portfolio here:

I'm absolutely thrilled at how well he captured the characters an…more
The illustrator is J Yang and you can find his portfolio here:

I'm absolutely thrilled at how well he captured the characters and heart of the story!(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.55  · 
Rating details
 ·  819 ratings  ·  351 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of May the Best Man Win
Aug 24, 2020 marked it as to-read
Shelves: to-buy, queer
enemies to lovers has never seen a cover this gay and gorgeous
anna (½ of readsrainbow)
gay enemies to lovers AND second chance romance AND the mc is trans???? i truly feel god in this chili's tonight ...more
daph pink ♡
Dec 16, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: queer, 1-star, ya
Tbh this book would have been a winner if -

~ Jeremy would have been less annoying
~ Less drama , more conversation
~ Side character would have been given more exposure.

Honestly I have nothing to say there are better reviews here. Ignore this. I am personally sick of all the anticipating reads being turned into disappointment.😢
I'm so sad I didn't love this the way I wanted to. This was one of my most anticipated books of the year, the premise sounded like everything!!! A trans main character competing with his ex-boyfriend for homecoming King? It sounded like the cute fluffy hate to love rom-com I needed. But this was anything but that. I found the main characters to be really frustrating and hard to root for. They were super mean to each other, and they crossed the line so many times and did things to each other that ...more
Tucker  (TuckerTheReader)
Aug 21, 2020 marked it as not-released-tbr
hi yes i would like this yesterday

| Goodreads | Blog | Pinterest | LinkedIn | YouTube | Instagram
with a concept like this one, i never thought i would have to say this, but...may the best man win is perhaps the worst and most infuriating book i've ever read. the diverse cast of characters and elements i love couldn't even save this, unfortunately.

there are a few things i just didn't like, but there are also lines and events i thought were straight up problematic. let's start with the more personal things though:

- when i started reading this book, i noticed it switches from very light-hearte
Z.R. Ellor
Dec 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Content notes for MAY THE BEST MAN WIN: homophobia, transphobia, sexual harassment, bullying, death of a family member.

In writing this book, I wanted to tell an honest story about trans identity and the terrible weight placed on queer teenagers struggling to find their place in an uncaring society. Jeremy and Lukas attend a school that says it cares about their well-being, have families that profess to support them, but when it comes to tackling the obstacles in their paths, they and their frien
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
Review to come!!

CW: transphobia (including misgendering + deadnaming), homophobia, death of a loved one, bullying, ableism, use of r-slur, sexual and physical assault
Apr 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ownvoices, arc, queer-lit
CWs: sibling death; ableism and internal ableism; misgendering, deadnaming, and transphobia; homophobia; bullying; racism; references to sexual harassment/assault; references to abusive parents and divorce; underage drinking; infidelity; graphic physical assault

This book is not a rom-com. It's a story about two hurt, twisted, angry rivals projecting all of their pain, rage, and deep-seated need for affirmation onto their school's race for homecoming king. It's intense, and the stakes are hig
atlas ♡
May 19, 2021 rated it did not like it
This was one of my most anticipated reads of the 2021 so i'm very disappointed. The cover, the summary, everything about this sounded amazing. Angry gays? Rivals to lovers? Second chance romance? AND a trans main character? I wanted to love this so much but i just couldn't.

I had many problems with this book but first off, the characters. Specifically the main ones. As a transmasc (and non binary) person i was really excited to meet 𝗝𝗲𝗿𝗲𝗺𝘆 𝗛𝗮𝗿𝗸𝗻𝗶𝘀𝘀, our main character. He's definitely my least f
Umm why are all my most anticipated reads disappointments this year? 2021 is by far the most disappointing year in terms of new releases, arcs, and just finding a good book in general.

Anyway. Based off the cover and synopsis this seems like exes from enemies to possible lovers but there’s not really any romance. I don’t care if there’s romance or not necessarily but I thought that that was such a great idea. I wanted a light hearted rom-com with trans rep!! Plus, Lukas is autistic and coping wi
Honestly, I'm mad at myself more than anything for not liking most of the new releases this year (especially considering that I am VERY much infatuated with the covers (such pretty covers)). Like, I swear I tried- I just can't if the main character(s) is a huge jerk.

The thing with this book is that Jeremie was honestly so impossible to empathize with. I feel like the more I read about his narrative, the more I just want my head to explode. He is so selfish, self-centered, and just completely awf
Alexandra Overy
Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to read an early version of this book, and let me tell you, YOU ARE NOT READY FOR THIS AMAZING-NESS.

Full review TK, but trust me you want this beautiful, queer book in your life!
This is a book I can tell is gonna be divisive. Because Jeremy is such an unlikable character. Which is why he’s the trans character we need. Jeremy reminds me so much of me in high school, and so many other trans teens I’ve met. He’s angry, selfish, and dramatic. He struggles heavily with internalized transphobia and toxic masculinity. Hes so raw and realistic, and his struggles reflect how life often is for trans teens. He’s scared and vulnerable, and often takes that out on the people around ...more
Nov 28, 2020 added it
DNF @ 12%


“You want the crown? Take it. May the best man win.”

Before I start, an important note: This is not a romcom! Don't let the cover fool you! Of course, there are fun and lighthearted moments, but this is definitely a lot heavier and more intense than a romcom. (Not in a bad way, but just be aware of that going in!)
Also, trigger warnings: transphobia, homophobia, bullying

May the Best Man Win was a rollercoaster of a read. I think I felt pretty much every emotion at some point while read
Sep 06, 2019 marked it as to-read-so-bad-it-hurts
I really should have a hate-to-love shelf by now because clearly, I'm unable to resist those books especially the queer ones. ALSO, A TRANSGENDER MAIN CHARACTER ...more
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell
omg why is May 2021 so far away I WANT IT
Sara L.
May 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Friends to lovers stans
What am I honestly supposed to say? GO READ THE BOOK!

Ok, so I was deceived by the cover. This is NO romcom! This book needs a trigger warning so here it is: (view spoiler) It's not really spoilery but I put it under a spoiler tag.

Jeremy Harkiss is a cheer captain, student body president, and an overall role
Sofie |
omg I'm so exciteeeeddddd




Thank you NetGalley and Macmillan Audio for the eARC for review!

Do not let this incredible cover fool you. This is not a fluffy, easy story.

TW: Transphobia, dead naming, misogyny, bullying, attempted sexual assault, harassment, violence, homophobia, ableism

Exes Jeremy and Lukas have a lot on the line with the Homecoming king title. For Lukas, it means stepping out of his late brother's shadow and earning a sure acceptance into one of th
Update (5/18/21): Happy Release Day to this awesome book!

E-ARC generously provided by Macmillan Children's Publishing Group through Netgalley in an exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much

Trigger Warnings for: transphobia, grief, homophobia, ableism

5 stars. Don’t let the cover fool you: May the Best Man Win is a complicated and masterfully written queer YA masterpiece that contains just as much bite as it does romance. As a seasoned reader of YA starring teens of the LGBTQ+ communit
wow!! another anticipated release that i have very complicated feelings about!!! no one is surprised at this point ,,,

this is going to be a complete mess of a review because !! i have no time to edit it but if i don’t write and post it now i never will skdkdkdkd

there were some things that i REALLY didn’t like about this one. first of all, there’s this one point where a character is talking about being encouraged to use they/them pronouns rather than he/him because people wanted him to be,,,half
laurel [the suspected bibliophile]
Lovers to exes to enemies to lovers.


This was a trainwreck. In the BEST way.

Full RTC.

I received this ARC from NetGalley (and Edelweiss) for an honest review
May 18, 2021 rated it liked it
Happy release day beautiful book!

*An ARC was provided by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

This was a defiant read filled with all the soft, heartfelt tidbits that make YA good and all of the rightful indignation of teenagers that makes YA great. This book tackled issues like privilege, queer rights, transphobia within queer spaces, and bigotry (to name a few), all to the backdrop of ex-boyfriends fighting for the homecoming crown.

Highly recommend.
May 23, 2021 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2021-s-books
Aug 24, 2020 marked it as maybe
i read the word "ex" and i said "i need this." ...more
tw: intense transphobia, ABLEISM, inner ableism, deadnaming (offpage), r slur, f slur, bullying, homophobia, familial side character death idk,, many more.

god... here we go.

i just didn't enjoy a single page of this. and i'm so easy to please. how did this happen?

as most people wrote, i too will start by saying i was so excited about this book. the way it was marketed from it's summary to cute cover art, everything looked so rom-comy and just, nice? if you didn't get the memo by now, it is not e
May 11, 2021 rated it it was ok
DNF at 33%. I wanted to like this book so badly but the characters are just SO unlikeable. I was really excited for this one, it has trans rep AND autism rep and it sounded like it was right up my street. However, Jeremy is a really crappy character, he's horrible to everyone and seem intent on destroying all of his relationships. The way he broke up with Lukas was so cruel, and I knew then that there was no way he could ever become likeable in my eyes. Lukas isn't as unlikeable as Jeremy, but h ...more
☔️ lin chuchu
May 29, 2021 rated it did not like it
white trans people LOVE to demonize lesbians and be racist
Alanna ❦
Dec 04, 2020 marked it as to-read
Shelves: cant-wait, lgbtq
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Challenge Corner: May the Best Man Win by Z.R. Ellor --> Starting May 16th, 2021 26 13 May 19, 2021 01:42PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Combine Editions 2 10 May 07, 2021 04:40PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Sky Blues
  • As Far As You'll Take Me
  • She Drives Me Crazy
  • Meet Cute Diary
  • Jay's Gay Agenda (Jay's Gay Agenda, #1)
  • One Last Stop
  • Can't Take That Away
  • These Feathered Flames (These Feathered Flames, #1)
  • Between Perfect and Real
  • Perfect on Paper
  • Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating
  • Trouble Girls
  • Ace of Spades
  • Lost in the Never Woods
  • Cheer Up: Love and Pompoms
  • In Deeper Waters
  • If This Gets Out
  • Cool for the Summer
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Z. R. Ellor (he/him) is the author of YA contemporary novels MAY THE BEST MAN WIN and ACTING THE PART, and the 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.. Find him online at ...more

Articles featuring this book

  Here at Goodreads, we've noticed that a funny thing tends to happen when we start talking about audiobooks: The same few titles get...
59 likes · 15 comments
“like being useful,” I say. And busy. Busy keeps my mind off things.” 0 likes
“We can find common ground once everyone in this club worships me.” 0 likes
More quotes…