None of the Above
Author: I.W. Gregorio
Publication: April 7th, 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Format: Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ+
Read: November 2015
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
A groundbreaking story about a teenage girl who discovers she was born intersex . . . and what happens when her secret is revealed to the entire school. Incredibly compelling and sensitively told, None of the Above is a thought-provoking novel that explores what it means to be a boy, a girl, or something in between.
What if everything you knew about yourself changed in an instant?
When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place. She’s a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and she’s madly in love with her boyfriend. In fact, she’s decided that she’s ready to take things to the next level with him.
But Kristin’s first time isn’t the perfect moment she’s planned–something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy “parts.”
Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin’s entire identity is thrown into question. As her world unravels, can she come to terms with her new self?
Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
This is honestly one of the most powerful and eye opening books I’ve ever read. It’s one of those contemporaries that’s important not only for it’s content but for the way it presents that content. It’s honest and deals with identity, loss, bullying, friendship and what gender is all about. There’s a lot of raw moments that make you sit and think twice while there’s also very typical teenage screw ups and decisions that are not the best or the smartest but make sense for the situation the main character finds herself in.
Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
The best part about this author’s writing style is that she has personal knowledge on this type of condition because she treated a patient with it. She took the time to research and make sure to have all the facts traits which makes the feeling of this story accurate but also relatable in a way that nothing is too confusing. It’s a very emotional read, not heavy, but one that deals with life changing infomation. It’s informative and descriptive without taking away from the emotional and mental effects this kind of situation has on a realistic person.
Characters – 5 out of 5 stars
Characters are what make or break a book for me and the characters in this book are some of my favorites. When it comes to the main character, Kristin, she’s strong in a way that you don’t see coming. After she has her diagnosis, she’s very unsure and emotional about a lot of things: her life, her gender, her identity and her future. And with so much upheavel she did have a tendency to be childish and immature at times when it came to her decision making. But what I really loved about her was her hopefulness. She slowly but surely started to see her new world and what it could offer her. She was very family oriented and began to take steps into acceptance not only for herself but also for her father. The rest of the side characters are part of a range of real and honest types of people. They’re interesting in how they manage Kristin’s condition because it’s something that you’re never prepared for and while I don’t want to say that the ugly comes out when things get tough, you really do find out who your friends really are when you are thrown a curveball in life.
This is one of the most important books that I’ve ever read and it’s so amazing to me that it’s Young Adult literature.
The plot is eye opening. We follow Kristin who after an attempt to have sex with her boyfriend, which ended upbeing more painful than she thought, she finds out she has AIS (Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome) meaning she is intersex. I don’t feel comfortable trying to explain what that really means but I can recommend this book until I die because I feel like everyone should be informed and knowledgeable. But obviously, her life turned completely upside down once everyone finds out about it. A lot of awful things happen because of the reveal of her condition, with her boyfriend and her friends and her classmates that resulted in not only bullying but also isolation. I love that this story is more about her personal growth and her understanding of herself than everything else. She has so much to learn about who she is and how she wants to identify herself. There’s so much to learn and discover and find out. Not only coming to grips with her condition but with what her future is going to be. There’s up and downs, bad decisions and a lot of emotional reactions but it’s such an important story to tell. And my favorite part of it is that it comes from a real place and a real situation that the author briefly saw.
Kristin is a solid character. She didn’t necesarily blow me away or make me fall in love with her and her personality but I was more focused on her circumstances and how she dealt with them which was the center of the story. But what I really liked about her was her voice. She had childish and immature moments, she shut herself out from the world but her thoughts were honest and real. Things that you would never think about, she had to because her world changed forever. And it makes the reader think, what if I had to deal with this? How would I react? How can I judge her actions in a such a crazy situation if I’ve never been there?
The side characters all served a purpose and they were not as represented as with usual in contemporaries but that didn’t make them any less fleshed out and real. I think when it comes to plots like this where such an insane things happens, the “bad” sides of people come out. People push you away, they abandon you and they react in a way that’s not as supportive as you want them to be. But that’s real, even your closest friends don’t know what to do with such a big change. And the people that you pay less attention to, who know you less may be open and accepting and you’d never known it before. Something I just wanted to mention really quick is that this book has little to no romance, which may turn off some people. I can’t reiterate this enough, this is about the condition, about what that means to someone and how that affects them and those people around them.
I love this book and I want absolutely everyone to read it because it’s so important.
So that’s it for this review! Let me know if you’ve read this book or if you’re planning on reading it. Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you on my next post!