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?
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While she has developed as a girl, Kristin has male chromosomes, a wealth of testosterone in her body, and embarrassing "boy parts." Shocked and disgusted by the diagnosis, Kristin works up the courage to tell her best friends about it - only to have the entire school, including her boyfriend, find out the very next day.
Kristin must cope with bullying and harassment at school, her own confusion about being intersex, handle a possible surgery and new medication, and try to find a support system for herself, in debut author I.W. Gregorio's powerhouse of a contemporary novel, NONE OF THE ABOVE.
What I loved: The wealth of medical information that was portrayed in a casual and easy-to-understand way. Gregorio shows off her skill as a physician throughout the novel, and it's apparent that she is very good at explaining things in a way that everyone can understand. I came away from the novel knowing so much more about the intersex experience, both from a psychological and anatomical standpoint, and I trust that knowledge gained because of Gregorio's medical and research background.
I also loved the blossoming romance between Kristin and Darren. As soon as they start spending more time together it becomes apparent that they have feelings for each other. They develop a nice friendship, and while sparks fly, they don't ignite in the way that you'd expect. The relationship did progress in a predictable way, but it felt very natural and wholesome. Darren is a well-rounded character that readers will come to love, and he adds a lot of unexpected depth to the story.
What I wanted more of: Absolutely nothing. Initially I was hoping for some additional resources at the end of the novel, and there they were! Suggested resources, additional reading, websites and support groups - it's all there. The author shows the reader where she went to do research, and where the reader can go to find out more.
The verdict: NONE OF THE ABOVE is a fantastic contemporary debut novel by a strong writer and expert in the medical field. Gregorio is a force to be reckoned with - her seemingly effortless prose will capture readers' attention and keep them enthralled all the way to the last page.
Krissy is a normal girl. She's popular at school, has a great boyfriend, and she's an athlete with full scholarship coming her way. But a visit to the doctor changes her life forever when they tell her that's she's intersex, meaning that she's outwardly a girl, but has boy parts on the inside. Krissy tries to deal with this new information, keeping it underwraps, but the news gets out to the school anyway. Now, her entire life in unraveling and she has to deal with bullying everyday. All the while, she has to convince everyone, including herself, that she's still a girl.
I picked up this book mostly because I have never heard of the term intersex, I didn't even know that this was a thing that existed. I was curious and wanted to understand this more. I think this is one of the reasons why this book needs to be important. I had no idea this existed, and I know other reviewers also didn't. This book does not only a great job at explaining what it means to be intersex, but gives a realistic look at what it's like.
This book is also very sad and made me incredibly angry. The main focus is on Krissy and dealing with being intersex, but there's also a focus on bullying. High School kids can be so horrible! The bullying that Krissy had to go through was cruel and no one should have to go through that. That's the sad and realistic thing, though. Many kids have gone through similar types of bullying and I wish that it wasn't like that!
What really does define this book is how realistic it is. I keep using that word in my review, over and over, because this book is so very real! The characters, the plot, the entire book was done so it does not feel fictional, it felt like we were watching Krissy's story. I would also like to mention how this book is very emotional, but it's not all anger and tears. There are bright spots in the book and the entire time we're watching Krissy deal with this, we see Krissy grow and deal with this change in her life. Even though it's a bumpy road.
Overall, this was such a realistic read and I was invested in Krissy's story. I do want more people to read this book. It will give more insight on what it means to be intersex and even talk about other harsh topics that I really think people should be more aware of. Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to what else I.W. Gregorio writes.
I admit, I went into this book a little nervous. Not because of the subject matter but because I was expecting, and received, a lot of medical information and it could have turned into a medical textbook with a side of Kristin, instead of Kristin's story with medical facts. I was nervous for no reason. The medical facts, all the information, fit so well into the story without making it dry.
I really liked Kristin as a character. She was really sweet and caring and there was a reason she was voted homecoming queen so when people who she'd been nothing but nice to turned on her so quickly, it made me so angry for her. Her whole journey was very hard to read but also very powerful and necessary to read. She was almost completely ignorant before she was diagnosed so we saw the process of her learning and all the questions she suddenly had.
I loved the inclusion of the support group. It was nice to see the good side of the internet, connecting Kristin with people who knew what she was going through and who could offer advice. Also, all the research Kristin and her dad did, all so easily accessible to them. I appreciated that the school counselor was nice and wanted to help and do her job. I also appreciated that there were a few classroom discussions held, as in actual schoolwork.
The plot was mainly about Kristin and her dealing with her diagnosis, but also about everything that came with being labeled as different. The bullying, the harassment, the loneliness, the anger, the denial but it wasn't just about the negative. There was acceptance, there was new friendships, there was understanding. The book included a hopeful message and it did so without sounding like an after school special, which I thought was important. This is a message that needs to be heard.
As I said, the book was hard to read because what Kristin was going through was so unfair. It was also very informative and insightful. This is the type of book there needs to be more of, the kind that gets people talking about it. Maybe if there's more talking, there will be more understanding, and if there's more understanding then we'll have more acceptance.
This is like the year of diverse books, and boy, this didn't disappoint. I got a copy of the ARC from The Regulator. None of the Above does not shy away from details or skim over things. It feels very real. Plus, the author is a surgeon, so I trust a lot of the medical facts. The book is a quick read, and on that I'm now loaning to all my friends.
Kristin is pretty cool. It's nice that she's not super confident about everything. She gives her best friend more trust than she deserves, especially after everything that happens. Kristin reacts badly, as anyone would, and really freaks out. While I can't relate to Kristin in intersex terms, I feel like I would act similarly to how she did. You know a book is good when, even if you are very different from the main character, you can still relate and empathize with them.
I can't believe just how mean and nasty her school is though. At least with the environment I've grown up in, I can't believe that that would happen. Ignorance causes people to do crazy things, but I can't believe it would be that crazy.
There is a little bit of romance in the book, which I like. It's also interesting to see people try to understand, but because of their own prejudices, etc, simply not be able to, but do still try to treat Kristin with respect.
I read this a while ago, so I don't remember much about the writing, sadly. I know I enjoyed it, and it was very to the point.
There's a very big world in this story, and after Kristin gets her diagnosis, it gets even bigger. Kristin discovers ways to cope through help on the internet, and even makes some new friends. It is a contemporary book though, and so much of the world we already know. I've never read a book about an intersex character before, but this did not disappoint!