Title: None of the Above
Author: I.W. Gregorio
Release date: April 27th, 2015 by Balzer + Bray/HarperTeen
Genres: Young adult, realistic fiction, intersex, contemporary, LGBT (QUILTBAG)
Rating: ★★★★★ – 5/5 stars
I received this book for review from the publisher -via Edelweiss- which in no way affects my opinion.
Synopsis: 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?
I want to say beforehand that I completely agree with the We Need Diverse Books campaign. Every single person on this planet is different and so should every main character. There should be no taboo subjects, it’s ridiculous. If it can happen in reality, why should a book about it be banned? Or wrong? None of the Above is an incredible book, it gave me a chance to read about an intersex girl -which is something I have no experience with as I am not intersex, nor do I know anyone who is. One of the biggest reasons that people hate/shun/bully people that are different, is because they don’t understand them. The unknown apparently scares some of us and makes us into cruel beings. By writing diverse books, maybe there will be a little more understanding in the world and a little less hate.
From the first few pages, I got sucked into this book. You meet Kristin, a girl about to go to Homecoming with her boyfriend and best friends. But when she has sex with him for the first time, something doesn’t feel right to her. So she goes to the doctor, where they find out that Kristin is intersex: she has no uterus but testicles. If I wouldn’t have gotten to read this book from Kristin’s perspective, I don’t think I could have imagined what this must have felt like. The devastation, confusion, shame -even though she shouldn’t feel ashamed- you all get to experience it with her. I can’t imagine what it must feel like to doubt the very core of your being. What if you suddenly doubt whether you actually are a girl? All your life, you’ve classified yourself as a girl and suddenly, people doubt that you are. But the fact that Kristin is intersex does not change the fact that she IS a girl. To be honest, my heart hurt for this girl while reading this book. Not just because she had her life turned around, but because of what happened next. Somehow, her entire school finds out.
Little kids often say whatever it is they are thinking, it’s like they don’t have a filter. And you don’t mind because it’s a little kid and they don’t know any better. They didn’t necessarily mean to hurt your feelings. Teenagers however, can be the most cruel beings on earth. We pick each other apart because we are different, and it makes me sick. Kristin became a pariah. Her boyfriend breaks up with her, her track team is questioning whether she is cheating by competing as a girl and barely anyone wants to talk to her. I can’t even imagine. I thought Kristin was such a strong character, she truly was. She kept going and yes, she made wrong assumptions about some people and did some impulsive things but let’s be honest: who hasn’t?
I’ve learned so much about being intersex and most of all, about humanity. I do not think that some people deserve the classification of “being human”. If you are inherently cruel, bully others and only care about yourself: you do not deserve to be called a human. Kristin’s journey in this book was incredible. I read this book in only a few hours because I was so attached to it. It’s her road to acceptance and to being happy again, but I will not tell you whether she reaches the end of the road.
I really enjoyed Kristin as a main character. She’s such a strong person, having already lost her mom and now she feels like she is losing part of her identity as well.Even though I think staying at home instead of going to school is not a solution, I can definitely understand it. If you go from being popular to being the person everyone wants to avoid and laugh at, I don’t think I could face that either. Yet, she tries to accept and recover -from the shock- in different ways.
You also get to meet a few other characters. First of all, Sam, you disgust me. That’s really all I have to say about you. I kind of loved and disliked Kristin”s two best friends -Vee and Faith, if I’m not mistaken- at the same time. You’ll have to read it to find out why. Then there is Jessica, who in my opinion, is an incredible character. And Darren, I admire him. More people should be like Darren or like Jessica. Then the world would already be a bit of a better place. And another important character in this book is Kristin’s dad. In the beginning, I was a bit angry at him. But after a while, I just started to love him. He never faltered in his love for his daughter and tries so hard to make sure she becomes happy again and that she’d still get to fulfill her dreams.
I want to conclude this by saying that everyone should pick this book up. I could go on forever about how much I adored it and it still would not be enough. I.W. Gregorio, you have made the world a tiny bit better and brighter by writing this book.
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