Hey everyone! One thing I love about this year is the diversity that a lot of books are having, especially involving LGBTQIA. There are more books coming out with Lesbian and Gay teens and I was so happy to discover None of The Above, a novel about a teenager who is intersex.
You may have seen my post featuring this book in One Day More, a couple months ago because I loved it.
Tonight I am going to be reviewing None of The Above by I.W. Gregorio, a book I have been SO excited about since I saw it up on Edelweiss.
Published: April 7, 2015
Genres/Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Social Issues, Sexuality
Source: Edelweiss VIA Balzer + Bray
Rating: Four Stars
Disclaimer: I received an E-ARC curtesy of Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins) and Edelweiss, this in no way influences my opinion or this review.
What DOES influence my opinion of this book is the awesomeness that this book contains. If you don’t know what it’s about, here’s the Goodreads Summary for you below:
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?
Cover Thoughts: I love how the cover is mostly white and uses the “O”s in the title as sort of fill-in circles that are given to students on tests. I love how each of them is filled with a different color symbolizing male, female or “none of the above”. It’s really original.
First Line: Dawn is my favorite time of day.
Before The Book:
As soon as I heard about None of The Above, I knew I had to read it. This is the first book I’ve heard of that features an intersex teenager. I can’t imagine what it would be like to find something like that out. I am preparing myself for some serious feels now.
And serious feels I felt, mostly those of anger. None of The Above was raw and heartbreaking.
This is a book everyone needs to read. A lot of the characters in None of The Above jump to the wrong conclusion about Kristin (or Krissy) when they found out she is intersex. In turn, they react cruelly and turn away from her. It is heartbreaking, inspiring and moving.
None of the above was such a huge eye-opener for me. Going in, I knew the very basics of what being intersex involved, physically at least. I was still ignorant on the actual scientific details though. None of The Above was really informative but didn’t beat you in the head with the information. It was gradually given and realistically told over time as Krissy and her dad learned more.
Before Krissy discovers she’s intersex, she’s happy, well-liked (she was voted homecoming queen after all), has a great boyfriend, two best friends and she’s a star runner in school. What could be better? This all comes crumbling down when the first time she tries to have sex, it’s extremely difficult for her. She gets an appointment and finds out she’s intersex.
I can’t imagine being in Krissy’s shoes. One night, she wins homecoming queen, quite unexpected and a week later, she learns she’s intersex. Specifically, Krissy has Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, a form of the many intersex conditions there are.
I found Krissy’s reaction to be very realistic. She was scared, she was worried, and she didn’t know who or what she even was anymore. Did the testes she had make her more of a guy? Was she a girl because she never got her period? Was she now going to be a lesbian? Her confusion was so thoroughly portrayed as she dealt with it. I love how she worried about a lot of the preconceived notions that people have who aren’t familiar with intersex.
What was really realistic was how people acted when they found out Krissy was intersex, including herself. Her friends didn’t understand, her jerk of a boyfriend was a jerk, she was taunted at school because no one wanted to try to figure out what intersex really meant.
My heart ached throughout reading None of The Above because Krissy had almost no one to turn too. She didn’t know anyone in real life who was intersex and all her friends and classmates didn’t understand it.
Both of Krissy’s friends irritated me in None of The Above. Sam, Krissy’s boyfriend wasn’t any better. I just wanted to shake all three characters and tell them to really try to understand.
If that wasn’t enough, Krissy ends up getting tossed off her running team because other teams filed complaints about it. That was really frustrating to read because running was all Krissy had to really depend on. Later cyber bullying happens, real bullying happens and everything just escalates.
I love how much the topic of being female came about. This was a topic that was hit on a lot because Krissy was a woman who had male chromosomes. She didn’t have her period and didn’t grow hair, but did that make her less of a woman for what she didn’t have? Besides sexuality and gender, None of The Above also dealt a lot with self acceptance and confidence. Krissy went through a lot of turmoil trying to figure out who she was. In the midst of all that is romance, which I really liked because it was overshadowed and only played a small part in None of The Above.
I like how she came to grips about herself though in the end. What I really loved is the support that Kristin found. Although her friends had basically deserted her, she found support in a group, she made a friend she could relate to, Gretchen. I loved Gretchen, I like how she poked fun at herself and helped Krissy get through this. She found others, Darren and Julia, that weren’t going to let her being intersex get in the middle of their friendship and treated her like she wasn’t different at all.
I loved Krissy. I like how she dealt with who she was and how just because she was intersex, it didn’t mean it made her any different from who she was before. I like how she found true friends through her diagnosis. None of The Above dealt with intersex very realistically. At the end of the book, there is an author’s note that talks about the research Gregorio did when writing this book.
One small thing stuck out to me in None of The Above. It happens when Krissy is trying on her dress with her two best friends. She mentions how they were friends since before they were born.
We’d literally been friends since we’d been born, when our mothers bonded in a postnatal yoga class.
That line reminded me of Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants. 🙂 Overall, I really loved None of The Above and I’m so glad I.W. Gregorio wrote it. I only wish it was longer and I found out more about Krissy as she dealt with being intersex.
~Quotes From ARC~
(May be changed in final copy)
Say something often enough and you’ll believe it.
I knew it was stupid for that sentence to hurt. It wasn’t like Shakespeare wrote it with me in mind–he was talking about how Shylock’s daughter disguised herself as a boy to escape his house.
I lost myself in the numbers, and in the equations that I could actually solve.
Was I still my dad’s daughter, or should he start calling me his son?
They say that the best hurdlers learn to compartmentalize. They break down each race into its components and when they perfect the little things, the big picture comes together naturally. So I focused on one piece of my life at a time.
That was when I realized that life was a multiple-choice test with two answers: Male or Female. And I was None of the Above.
Some people eat comfort food,; I take comfort runs.
Maybe I was a glutton for punishment. But this I believed: It shouldn’t be possible to unlove someone so quickly.