Author: I.W. Gregorio
Published: April 7th, 2015
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Rating: 4 out of 5
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?
There aren’t enough books with LGBT main characters, much less the less well known I for intersex. So when I heard debut author I.W. Gregorio was not only writing one, but writing from their perspective as a Yale school of medicine graduate? I could have done a jig. I feel Gregorio handles a difficult subject with aplomb, though as I’m not intersex it’s not really my opinion that matters.
Gregorio has built a realistic world where people don’t react well to the sudden announcement that their homecoming queen and star runner has testicles. This does include slurs against both trans and intersex people. The language is never condoning and the author’s note at the end gives a very fair explanation as to why the author felt the language was necessary, but I know these words are still deal breakers to some.
And yet, I didn’t feel enough conflict in the story. There are bullies and some misunderstandings between friends, but I didn’t feel any real threat or urgency to explain Kristin’s extended absence. The end does have a violent, sexual assault-y climax, but it’s written in the same laissez-faire style where I couldn’t believe anything bad would actually happen. In the end, the character actually has a great, diverse support system, which is what we want in real life but makes for a less impactful read.