- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Balzer + Bray (April 7, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062335316
- ISBN-13: 978-0062335319
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 120 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #268,961 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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None of the Above Hardcover – April 7, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Kristin Lattimer embodies the all-American teenage girl. She's sporty, well-liked, cool but humble enough to be shocked when elected Homecoming Queen, with two loyal best friends and a loving boyfriend. Even in the wake of her mom's death from cervical cancer, Kristin's future is looking pretty bright. Until her first time having sex with Sam goes painfully awry, leading to a doctor's appointment that reveals she is intersex. Suddenly, Kristin's life is thrown wildly off-kilter as she struggles with her condition and its impact on her self-esteem, academic life, and most important relationships. The novel is engaging and well paced, with smart young characters. However, their witty banter and sage insights don't always seem to capture a youthful voice—the novel;s pedagogical intent threatens to overwhelm the natural rhythm of speech, making these 17 and 18 year olds sound like medical mouthpieces from time to time. Gregorio's helpful author's note explains that numerous AIS perspectives and sources were consulted in the writing process; it is evident that research was done to give this fictional account realism and nuance. Links and resources about being intersex are provided for further reading. While the text occasionally reads like a fictionalized medical record, this book serves as a useful introduction to the discussion around intersexuality, particularly from a youth viewpoint.—Ashleigh Williams, School Library Journal
“None of the Above is a powerful story of discovering one’s true identity. This book will open hearts and change minds.” (Stephen Chbosky, bestselling author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower)
“[A] provocative and enlightening first novel...will strike a familiar chord with any reader who has felt estranged.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“I couldn’t put this book down—it opened my mind in ways that few books have done before.” (Jacqueline Woodson, award-winning author of Brown Girl Dreaming)
“Noble, daring and necessary—IW Gregorio’s groundbreaking debut is a bittersweet, painful and ultimately life-affirming voyage of identity.” (Elizabeth Wein, award-winning & NYT bestselling author of Code Name Verity)
“Like the beloved physician she is, I. W. Gregorio brings rare knowledge and acute empathy to the illumination of an anatomical difference—and to the teens who discover, in the nick of time, the saving grace of knowing and being one’s truest self. A book unlike any other.” (Beth Kephart, award-winning author of Going Over and Small Damages)
“None of the Above is a sensitive, beautifully written story, told with heart (break) and humor. Gregorio deftly explores the isolation of being ‘other’ in a highly relatable way. Bravo!” (Kristin Elizabeth Clark, author of FREAKBOY)
“Engaging and well paced, with smart young characters…a useful introduction to…intersexuality.” (School Library Journal)
“Sensitive, informative and a valuable resource” (Kirkus Reviews)
“None of the Above rises above most young adult fiction because it has potential to evoke significant change...[A] compelling and touching narrative.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA))
“[A] remarkable novel...Eye-opening and important.” (Booklist)
Top customer reviews
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Kristin Lattimer is sure of a lot of things. She's sure that she and her boyfriend Sam are absolutely in love. She's sure she's going to state in the fall on a full track scholarship. She's sure her best friend would never betray her trust. And she never had any reason to doubt that she was 100 percent a girl. Then, her gynecologist informs her that she has Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, or AIS, which means that although her outsides appear feminine her chromosomes are male and, she's horrified to learn, she even has some boy “parts” inside of her. In the aftermath of this discovery all the things she had been so sure of are one by one stripped away and she is left to start from scratch, answering the question of who she is, who she can trust, and how she wants to live her life.
This is a unique “coming-out” story, because Krissy is coming to terms with a medical diagnosis, being told she is intersex, which then becomes known by others before she is ready to even decide how she wants to identify. Being outed, shortly after she learns this fact about her body, makes coming to terms with this side of her a lot more difficult than it would have been for someone who had time to process her emotions and start the long journey of feeling unity with her genetic sex, her external sexual characteristics, and her gender identity. Krissy is kind of thrown into the deep end of all of this immediately.
This novel is, at its core, a journey of personal discovery. Krissy has to step back from all the assumptions she's made about who she is and redefine her identity. This painful process is well articulated, steering through her sudden body dysphoria, her classmates transphobia, and the way her own fears about what this diagnosis means strain her relationships with everyone else still in her life.
It's thoughtful and emotionally wrought.
There is, however, no mistaking this as anything but an “issues” novel. Like if this were a movie, it would be a lifetime movie of the week. So, through research, therapy, and support groups, we are inundated with what it means to be intersex and what it means to be a woman. We get lessons on the definitions of terms; sexuality, sex, gender identity, how they intersect and dovetail and how they diverge. It's good information for those people out there not “in the know.” It's just, as I've said about other YA “issues” novels, you can feel the author attempting to educate you, and at times that intention seems to overpower the more important intention of telling a story.
That being said, I do recommend this book. I think intersex stories should be told and listened to. I think Krissy’s struggle, coming to terms with her identity, will strike a chord with anyone who has become an outsider or worried about where they fit into the scheme of things.
Next, the project scales:
On my Queer Counterculture Visibility Scale, which I invented to quantify how much I felt a book highlights the less visible members of the community, this book does pretty well. There is a lot of prejudice and misunderstanding about people who are intersex, so an intersex point of view character gets a lot of points from me. On top of that, as I said, there are a lot of other things being explored, transphobia, sex vs gender, sexuality. A side character deals with how his father's sexuality affected his own identity when he was younger. A side character, an intersex woman who is more comfortable in her body, proudly identifies as a lesbian. While, most of the main characters are upper middle class and (aside from a few Asian-American characters) white, I did find some diversity in perspective. I'm rating it:
4 out of 5 stars
On the genre expectation scale it does okay. It is very much a “woman finds herself after a difficult truth comes to light” movie of the week kind of story. It hits all the expected benchmarks. I'd like to say that having an intersex main character set it notably apart from other stories like it… but… I'll give it:
3.5 out of 5 stars
Like this one which I've been wanting to read since I first heard about it, and have been waiting and waiting for the library to stock. When they didn't, I bit the bullet and bought a copy of my own.
It is the story of a girl called Kristin who is elected Homecoming Queen, is a rising track star and has a wonderful boyfriend. But when she and Sam decide to take their relationship to the next level, sex isn't the wonderful, pleasurable expression of love she was expecting. A second attempt isn't much better, so Kristin decides to go and see a doctor.
What she discovers about herself is frightening: she's intersex. While outwardly she looks like a girl, she doesn't have a womb. Oh, and she does have testes, she's just never noticed them because they're inside her.
The book explores how Kristin navigates this new discovery about herself and how it changes her preception of herself. It also explores the reactions of the people around her as they struggle to understand (and largely fail) what it means to be intersex.
I really enjoyed this book and hope it becomes widely read in schools and beyond so people can get a better understanding of what being intersex is, and how painful it can be to discover something like that about yourself at a time when you're already fighting to find your true identity on so many other levels.
I.W. Gregorio has researched the subject exhaustively after encountering a patient with AIS as a doctor. The basics of AIS, gender identity, sexual orientation, and controversies within the intersex community are covered in the course of the book without coming off as textbook-y. Gregorio has also cited her sources in the back of the book and listed additional websites for readers wishing to learn more to visit, a wonderful touch. Knowing beforehand that Gregorio is a doctor didn't make me question too much about what I read while I read it, but it was nice to see her research included all the same to fact-check and go beyond AIS.
"None of the Above" follows not only Krissy in the aftermath of her diagnosis, but it touches on a subject YA books frequently shy away from: sex! This is not wank material by any means, but it's realistic. Krissy only ever goes to the OB-GYN because sex had hurt her so much.
There's a lot of scary moments after the community finds out about Krissy's diagnosis. Her protests for still being a girl fall to deaf ears, save a select few. She spirals into depression, another important topic delicately handled.
Not everything is so dark though. She finds friendship in some people who understand or are willing to understand as she teeter-totters with her best friends she's unable to effectively communicate with. Her relationship with her dad is tender - there is a moment where her dad is researching the internet to understand what is going on with her body that almost brought a tear to my eye.
Still. Horrific stuff happens from the people who don't understand and don't want to understand. Towards the end of the book, I almost threw my Kindle and ran out to start a protest. But it was 3 A.M. and I didn't know what exactly I was protesting. I was just angry. While the book itself is fictional, I'm no fool to think the stuff that happened hasn't happened to several people in real life. Ignorance breeds brutality.
"None of the Above" is a must read. I don't care if you're 14 or 104. Those who don't know anything about the letter "I" will learn something, and I suspect those who are intersexed will find solace in their respectful representation in the literary world.
Most recent customer reviews
What I liked about the book was that our main character kept growing and making mistakes...Read more