None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio (4 out of 5)
This is a stunning story about a teenage girl who discovers she’s intersex. Definition? “Intersex” is a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male. Kristin Lattimer is popular, and just got voted homecoming queen. She’s got a bright future ahead of her, and a terrific boyfriend with whom she’s madly in love. Her first time with her boyfriend reveals that something’s up…and does not feel right. Kristin goes to the doctor, who drops a bombshell on her- she’s a female for all intents and purposes, but she has male chromosomes and male body parts. You can’t imagine reading this book how that poor girl must feel, and that’s the beauty of the way the book is written. With a lot of insight and sensitivity to an issue that’s not often addressed. Kristin must find a way to process this and cope with it, but before she can even attempt to cope, her secret is leaked to the entire school. This doesn’t get better, as you can imagine. Teenagers with potentially new information that’s not the norm? Poor Kristin. You feel for this girl, you really do. She’s got so much promise and potential and a bright outlook; then a stunning disclosure and she’s not sure what to do, where to go, who she even is anymore. Is she a man, a woman, or something in between? Where does her relationship with her boyfriend go, not to mention her family, friends, and her peers at school? Close your eyes, world, but there are people out there who have this condition, and to read a book written about something that I have never seen written about before (and I read a lot!), always gets my vote to read. This was given to the children’s frontlist buyer at work from the Harper rep. First reason I wanted to read it? The title. It’s a Duran Duran song. I know, I’m biased and ridiculous. (agreed). Then I read the back and had to read it. Subject matter that’s not discussed much? Ditto, I’m in. And it was totally worth it.
I think Gregorio has done a splendid job of handling subject matter in an area not widely summoned forth in teen literature. Kristin is a fantastic young role model, and your heart breaks for her when she gets the diagnosis from her doctor. Life isn’t always fun, and there are no punches pulled in the book, but it’s done with such sensitivity and depth that you feel like all of your questions are answered. I really cannot say enough about how much I enjoyed reading this novel. I hope it finds the audience it deserves and I will certainly recommend it when it comes out.
None of the Above is published by Balzer & Bray (imprint of Harper Collins) on April 7, 2015.