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May the Best Man Win

3.30  ·  Rating details ·  4,047 ratings  ·  1,123 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 Instead of bowing to the bigots and an outdated school administration, Jeremy decides to make some noise—and h
Hardcover, 380 pages
Published May 18th 2021 by Roaring Brook Press
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Z.R. Ellor The illustrator is J Yang and you can find his portfolio here: https://jyangart.com/

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: https://jyangart.com/

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

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Average rating 3.30  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,047 ratings  ·  1,123 reviews

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daph pink ♡
Dec 16, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: queer
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.
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.

in other words? fuck this book.

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-hearted to very, very dark in a matter of seconds. in example, at
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
Apr 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ownvoices, queer-lit, arc
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
Z.R. Ellor
Dec 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
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 friends are left to figuring it out alone—which often results in them taking their frustration out on each other.

I’m a big
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
Tucker  (TuckerTheReader)
Aug 21, 2020 marked it as not-released-tbr
hi yes i would like this yesterday

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Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
This is a really hard book for me to review. I read this over a month ago and it has taken me this long to even scratch the surface of what I want to say. I'll start by saying that while I did enjoy this book, I definitely didn't like it quite as much as I expected to and I think that falls on the way this book was marketed. It was marketed as a queer, fun, second-chance, enemies-to-lovers romance, and while it does have some of those elements, it is MUCH heavier of a story than I went in expect ...more
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
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
Shawna Finnigan
Sep 22, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I keep almost having a heart attack because Goodreads shows my review in the physical edition of this book and not the kindle edition, so to calm my anxiety and make sure my review doesn't disappear, here it is again...

TW// (view spoiler)

May The Best Man Win follows Lukas and Jeremy, two senior boys who are both competing for the spot of homecoming king. The catch is that Lukas and J
Jun 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
(3.5 rounded up)
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!
Shawna Finnigan
Sep 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
TW// (view spoiler)

May The Best Man Win follows Lukas and Jeremy, two senior boys who are both competing for the spot of homecoming king. The catch is that Lukas and Jeremy used to date before Jeremy came out.

This book had been on my TBR since I first heard of it, so I’m glad that I mostly enjoyed it. It wasn’t without flaws, but I found that there were important conversations about w
Jun 29, 2021 rated it really liked it
i really did enjoy this book and definitely recommend it, especially because it has some very important discussions about the way different identities are treated in the queer community, but i’m taking off 1 star because i hate it when people throw around the word “nazi” like it’s nothing. there’s a character in this book who is a complete bigot, but at one point he gets called a “nazi” and whilst he’s a horrible person, he isn’t a nazi.

just my perspective as a jewish reviewer, obviously you don
“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.
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 reading this: anger, frustration, joy, sadness. This book wa
Aug 23, 2020 rated it did not like it
edit AGAIN: when i first read this i gave it 4.5 stars bc i had been so excited for it for so long and it was hard to even give it something THAT low despite...being deeply disappointed by it. but current topics has finally motivated me to give it the rating it has in my heart at last so!! yay!!

i think a lot about how much i thought this book would mean to me when i saw that it was about an autistic boy who was grieving for his brother, and that there was a trans character and that it a queer r
 ⛅ Sunny (sunnysidereviews) ⛅
Ok so after a lot of pondering, I think I'm going to go with 3.75 stars for this one.

I am super conflicted. My rating will most likely be either 2 stars, or 5 stars. Review to come here and on https://sunnysidereviews.wordpress.com/!
Nov 28, 2020 added it
DNF @ 12%


May 23, 2021 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2021-s-books
Sara L.
May 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
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
This book isn't going to be for everyone, because it has a very specific audience and if you are not trans and/or autistic, I'm sorry, but you just don't have the range to understand what it's doing. As a trans and autistic person, I love the exploration of how we always need to be palatable to be accepted and how suffocating that is. This book resonated with me so much, and while of course it's super messy, I could always really understand where Jeremy and Lukas were coming from. I'm really gla ...more
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
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
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
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
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.
- ̗̀ DANY  ̖́- (danyreads)
Jun 21, 2021 rated it did not like it
inexplicably infuriating. completely unlikeable characters without a single redeemable quality. disappointing beyond belief. (the one single star goes to J Yang for illustrating a beautiful cover, thank you J Yang for saving an unsaveable book)
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Challenge Corner: May the Best Man Win by Z.R. Ellor --> Starting May 16th, 2021 26 22 May 19, 2021 01:42PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Combine Editions 2 12 May 07, 2021 04:40PM  

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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 exploring Los Angeles. Find him online at https://zrellorbooks.com/ ...more

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79 likes · 20 comments
“Asking for love as a trans person, with the blunt hammer weight that word carries, feels like walking on fragile, cracking ice. Asking for love as the angry mess I am feels like inviting dark water to swallow me whole. Of course I didn’t want to test his love for me. I knew it would have a breaking point. I just didn’t want to learn where that was.” 6 likes
“Queer identities aren't binary states. There's no such thing as 'imposter queers' because there's no one right way to be queer.” 4 likes
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