*I received a free copy of None of the Above from Harper Collins via Edelweiss. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *None of the Above by I. W. Gregorio
Published by Harper Collins on 7 April 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult
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?
None of the Above is a tender and strong story about Krissy, and all the things that happened to her once she (and everyone else) found out that she was intersex…
My None of the Above review:
I can’t even imagine all the things Kristen went through in the span of None of the Above, from being elected prom queen, going out with her boyfriend and finally having sex with him for the first time – only to have it hurt so bad they couldn’t actually finish. A few days later, she went to see an ob-gyn to figure out why she was still bleeding, and the news she got then were both devastating and shocking. Because her mom had died of cervical cancer a few years earlier, at first, her dad thought that was wrong with Krissy as well, but what was different about Krissy wasn’t that at all!
The tenderness Krissy’s father was able to show her, even through his shock was heartwarming! She was still his little girl, and he did everything he could to help her adjust throughout None of the Above. When all her fellow students found out about her diagnosis after she told her two closest friends, things became very ugly very quickly! Her boyfriend left her because she was a ‘freak’, mean things were written on her school locker, and a new facebook account was opened in her name, where awful pictures with her face, but both male and female genitalia were on display. And on top of that, she was also excluded from the track team at first, because the school wasn’t sure if she would be allowed to continue to compete as a female.
With her whole world turned upside down, feeling excluded and isolated and extremely confused, Krissy went to the one place where she might find help. None of the Above is about more than being intersex, though, it is about being different in any way, and what it does to a person when those they counted as close friends seem to turn away from the completely. And the story is truly necessary, as a lot of people don’t even realize what it means to be intersex – it’s not as if the person who is born with chromosomes that are acting out a little had a choice in the matter. And several of Krissy’s fellow students treated her like she was a transvestite. While I can imagine that being a transvestite is very difficult, too, that is still very different from what Krissy went through.
I think one of the other things that made None of the Above such a strong story for me is that Krissy found out all of this about herself when she was in her late teens, when there were so many other things changing in her life, hormonal changes, getting ready for college, doubts about the future that most teens go through, and then bam! here’s another big thing that would make her doubt not only her identity, but her whole future as well.
None of the Above is very well written, in first person point of view, past tense, the reader learns about AIS through Kristen, and the medical terms are well explained, as is the emotional stress she went through after her diagnosis. Because she was able to reach out to other AIS people through a web-site and then in person, she coped pretty well with things, despite the trouble she encountered in school, and she ended up with some of her ‘old’ friends coming around, and with new friends being made both in school and elsewhere.
Some of my favorite None of the Above quotes:
Then, the day my mom gave me a spanking when I made a mess in the bathroom because I wanted to see if I could pee standing up like the boys in my summer camp. Had these all been hints of what I might be?
Cupid himself would blush, I was such a freak.
That was when I realized that life was a multiple choice test with two answers: Male or Female. And I was None of the Above.
One of the first things my dad had printed out for me was the AIS-DSD Support Group website. Supposedly they had an email list, and meetings. I couldn’t imagine what they talked about. Hoohoo Dilation and the Care and Maintenance of Your Testicles?
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: