Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Review- None Of The Above (I. W. Gregorio)

None of the Above


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?



After a bad experience trying to have sex after prom, Kristin visits her OB/GYN as a precaution as her mother had died a few years earlier from cervical cancer. However, the visit is more than she is expecting and after some questions and an examination, the doctor is suspicious Kristin may have a chromosomal abnormality which causes her to externally look female, but internally carry male hormones and have internal male structures. The book covers her life as she learns to accept her new diagnosis, which she is having a tough time dealing with. This is all made worse when people at her school find out. The lack of support she receives from her peers, and the start of bullying, both emotionally and physically at one point, go to show how ignorance breeds fear and hatred.

Kristin is a strong character overall, but also allows herself to show weakness. She has a tough time dealing with all the information being thrown at her all at once, and goes through the stages of grief as a result. The supporting characters were also important in the overall shaping of the novel. There are the best friends, Faith and Vee, who upon discovery of Kristin’s disorder attempt to be supportive but there is also tension and confusion for them as well. Then there is her dad, who tries to help in the only way he knows how, by researching everything from A to Z and offering his own support while encouraging her to reach out to others who are in the same position as her.

This book proved informative, while also remaining engaging and entertaining. There were a lot of important educational messages about AIS, along with messages on bullying and acceptance. The fact that it was written by a surgeon who has encountered people with this disorder before provides an authentic and likely well researched novel.

Diverse novels always leave me with a lot to think about. None of the Above was a particularly interesting one which brought to the forefront of my mind many a question of how I would feel in the situation of Kristin. If I had been told that I had internal male sex organs, or that my chromosomes weren’t the expected XX of a girl, how would I feel? How would I deal with this knowledge? How would I learn to adjust to the idea of never carrying a child of my own?

Reading these kinds of novels are so important for young and old alike, because it teaches us to empathize and put ourselves in the position of the characters, and just maybe if we do that in our everyday lives a little more often the world could be a better place.


So the romance between Darren and Kristin seemed somewhat unnecessary to me. I thought they could have just remained friends, instead of turning it into a romance and right at the end too. Or if the author was determined to make it into a romantic relationship then Darren’s girlfriend, who conveniently broke up with him right before him and Kristin get together seemed such an unnecessary character. She didn’t really serve any point to the plot, and if Darren had been single for the book the romance would have come across much more genuine at the end than the rushed and opportune ending that we were left with. Other than that I did like their romance and I thought it was particularly sweet, especially since they had known each other when they were much younger. 

My Rating 4/5

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