April 6, 2015 • Cee • Reviews

iw gregorio - none of the above

None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio
April 7, 2015
Balzer + Bray
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* ARC courtesy of Edelweiss

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?

myreview

I received this book for free from Edelweiss + HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

First sentence: “Dawn is my favorite time of day. “

Wow, I just—None of the Above is a book that everybody has to read because it’s stunning, important, and educational in its portrayal of its characters and the issues they are dealing with. It tackles a condition that is rarely talked about in YA in a thought-provoking way. (Yay for diversity!)

None of the Above follows Kristin Lattimer, whose world is thrown on its axis when she discovers that she is intersex, a condition where she looks outwardly like a female, but has internal male characteristics. When her condition is revealed to her entire high school, she struggles with her own identity and her ignorant classmates who ridicule her. Kristin questions who she is—is she female or male? Or, like the title says, none of the above?

Five Reasons Why None of the Above Is A Book You Need to Read

  • It educates readers on what intersex is.

This book teaches readers about a condition that most people are ignorant about, and it’s a great introduction that isn’t a complicated textbook explanation. Readers get a wonderful case example in the form of Kristin, who is a wonderful and strong teen coping with this life-changing news.

Readers learn about intersex as Kristin learns it. She is told she has androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS), which is “a unique genetic syndrome that causes an intersex state—where a person looks outwardly like a female, but has some of the internal characteristics of a male.” This means that although Kristin is female, she doesn’t have the sexual anatomy or the reproductive organs (like a uterus) that would fit the typical definitions of a female or male. Imagine the shock that must be going through Kristin when she is told she’s intersex!

This book not only teaches readers what intersex is, it discusses the differences between sex and gender, and how intersex is not like being transgender. Really awesome discussions!

  • It’s so honest and brutal. 

Many times throughout the book, I wanted to give Kristin the biggest hug and tell her everything will be okay. She’s trying to cope with this life-changing news that has made her question her identity, and the emotions, guys, it’s so raw and painful. Her reaction is so understandable. You’re just rooting for her! And the reactions of her classmates when they find out is so brutal. They call her extremely cruel and hurtful names like tranny; it tore at my heart! It just shows how incredibly ignorant and misinformed these teenagers are, which I felt like is an accurate portrayal because most teenagers (and adults) have no idea what intersex means.

  • It deals with one’s identity, and who you are when you’re intersex.

Is Kristin female or male? That is a question that Kristin asks her doctor. She’s grown up believing she’s female, and when she gets the news she’s intersex, she goes through an identity crisis. None of the Above does a beautiful job portraying Kristin’s confusion about her identity and explaining the concepts that lots of misinformed people mix up—specifically the differences between chromosomal sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation, which are separate from each other. This book is a wonderful exploration about being intersex and figuring out one’s identity.

  • It deals with the impact Kristin’s intersex diagnosis has on her family.

I love seeing how the people in None of the Above react to Kristin’s diagnosis; there’s just so many different reactions, and Kristin’s dad’s reaction nearly broke me because it was just so emotional. This dad loves his daughter so much, and embraces Kristin’s diagnosis by doing tons of researching and just being frickin’ awesome and supportive. It’s such a great reaction because they’ll get by as a family. Nothing has to really change.

  • It shows readers that there are people who are intersex too!

Kristin is not alone! There are people who have dealt with the intersex diagnosis before. It’s a source of hope when Kristin learns that there are people who have the same condition as she does. She’s not as lonely, and she has a support group that will help her come to terms with her condition and help her find herself again. It’s so great to see Kristin reach out because it’s what she needs in her life—a support system. This book shows readers how important it is to have a support system and how people who are intersex are not alone.

gradeA-

Words you’ll hear about None of the Above: emotional, educational, thought-provoking, and beautiful. (You’ll see these words a lot, and that doesn’t make those adjectives less true.)

None of the Above is an incredible and important book that is about a strong teenager and brings awareness to an important condition that teenagers need to be aware of. It’s a story about struggle, acceptance, and discovery. It does a great job showing the different perceptions and misconceptions of what it is to be intersex. This book opens up a door that allows readers to learn more about a subject that isn’t talked about at all in YA, and hopefully, we get to see more diverse books like this one.

Go read it. Educate yourself.


 

6 Responses to “REVIEW | Reasons Why None of the Above Is A Book You Need to Read”

  1. Katherine says:

    This book sounds really interesting and is pushing the diversity of YA a lot. I hope I can get around to it sometime soon, especially after hearing that this book was not only unique, but a good read as well. Even just hearing about it has educated me so much on intersex people!

  2. Missie says:

    I am so excited to read this one, I have read so many amazing reviews!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

  3. I hadn’t heard of this book or this condition — great review. Definitely going to find/read this book.

  4. Well you summed it up far better than I could! The first and third points are the ones that stuck out to me the most, and when they were discussing the difference between chromosomal sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation, it was like a lightbulb went off in my head! Before I read the book I thought it was about a transgender girl, but like you said, it’s very educational and quickly changed my mind about that.

  5. YAY DIVERSITY! I’m not gonna lie – I feel pretty uninformed when it comes to intersex and what it means or how it feels for someone going through it. So it’s exciting to see this in YA! Looking forward to this one; loved this, Cee!

  6. I plan to pick this one up soon! I am glad to hear it is well done. Thanks for the review!
    ~Megan


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