Saturday, June 27, 2015

None of the Above

None of the Above
I.W. Gregorio

Published 2015

First Sentence
"Dawn is my favorite time of day."

Publisher's Description:

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?

Dear Reader,

This was a really hard book to rate. I wasn't really thrilled with the plot but the subject matter was a nice smack in the face (I almost wish I got smacked a bit more). Intersex, it sounds like some space term, something futuristic. We learn so early on that females have xx chromosomes and males have xy, what we aren't told (growing up) is that this isn't so cut and dry... variations do exist. I think that knowledge is something that the public should be taught early on, just the same way kids are now being taught that families/homes come in all different shapes, sizes and gender. Right off the bat this book had me, once the main character finds out and her mind automatically goes to the negative term of "hermaphrodite". I loved how the awareness was wrapped around her feelings, the truth of how people would feel upon hearing the news reflects her own reaction.

It's something that would be really hard to imagine, finding out you are considered both sexes, and that you can't reproduce. This is one of the things that had me slightly disappointed... there wasn't much in the book about her lack of reproductive organs. I know how extreme those emotions would be for me but maybe it would be so overshadowed by the other (learning your intersex) that it was rightfully placed on the sidelines. I really liked how the Author had the characters knowledge slowly develop (along with the reader). She portrayed that pain very well and it would be hard not to sympathize with the main character. However, I do wish that the plot itself was a little more solid, it was another wishy washy background piece that I didn't feel connected to at all. I wanted Kristin to overcome it all but I didn't really understand the reward in the end.

Ultimately I would recommend this one to anyone unfamiliar with intersex, any and all teens, adult parents of teens and pretty much anyone who wants to open their mind some more. I think this is a nice blend of informational with a splash of teen angst, and even though the plot didn't grab me, it wasn't enough to leave a bad taste in my mouth. If anything I'm coming away from this book with more knowledge and a better understanding, one that I think everyone needs to be enlightened by. I foresee this book becoming challenged and banned in schools but I can honestly say this is as tame as a baby kitten, the sex scenes are very light and it would be the perfect book to open up the eyes of the youth to something that happens in nature. I think the important message is that this is something that naturally happens in the world, you can't deny that, I just don't see an argument to be had here. I think this is why I'm surprised this is a topic that hasn't been dealt with much, but now I take a bow to the Author... pave the way to enlightenment, I'll stand behind you.

Happy Reading,

None of the Above

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