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None of the Above Paperback – April 4, 2017
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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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“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)
“Kristin’s struggle with her identity is wrenching and authentically conveyed.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)
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Top customer reviews
So I actually bought an ebook copy of this book for a diverse book event several months ago, but I wanted to read a hardcover copy instead of using my Kindle, due to eye strain. I reserved a library copy when I saw this book on the list for #ReadProud. It’s been on my TBR list for way too long, so I had to rectify that situation.
Kristin was such a great main character. I learned a lot about what it means to be intersex because of this book, so yay for that! I love being able to open my eyes to new things, to be able to understand things more, to keep my mind open/accepting of everyone. My heart hurt for some of the things Kristin had to endure. People, especially teens, can be so cruel.
I’m glad she had a great support system built of family and friends to turn to. I definitely cried during emotional parts in the book. So fair warning, you might cry too. I just know Kristin is going to be okay, especially because her support circle got bigger as the book continued. It really goes to show you that some people are actually good.
There was some romance in the beginning of the book, and then some at the very end. I like the romance at the end better. The ending was perfection. I was beyond happy that Kristin was in a better place emotionally, and that things were starting to look up for her all around.
I can’t say for certain, but I think Darren will be an addition to my book boyfriend list. He was super sweet, but I feel like I didn’t get to see enough of him. I wanted more! I also really loved his mom. Kristin’s dad was another great character; he’s kind of intense after what happened with Kristin’s mom (no spoilers), but he’s so accepting/supportive after Kristin received her diagnosis. More parents should be like him. In addition to these characters, I loved Gretchen, Jessica, and a few others.
I didn’t make many status updates on Goodreads while devouring this book in two days, but here’s a quote I loved: “One day I would find my own place. I couldn’t run there, though, because it didn’t exist yet; I had to build it myself, out of forgiveness, truth, and terrifying gestures of friendship.”
Final note: An amazing book! I’m so glad I picked this book for the final #ReadProud weekly challenge. Get yourself a copy of this book ASAP. It’ll open your eyes and your heart.
Some minor criticism: I see the process of Kristin deciding on surgery a bit too quick. Yet, in Kristin's need to validate herself a girl and feeling more comfortable in her own skin, I see why she was in such a rush. The decision for Kristin to forgive her BFF Faith so quickly for spilling the secret to Sam is also difficult for me to accept. There wasn't much mulling it over.
More character development with Kristin and her friends would've helped round our the story more, showing more depth to the characters. However, the story is written from a teenager's perspective, and a teenage narrator realistically is not writing or thinking like an adult. If I read my journals from high school, I certainly wasn't as insightful as I am in adulthood. This book is geared for a Young Adult audience, but equally engaging and educational for adults who want to read from a teen perspective.
The praises far outweigh the criticism in this book. Kudos to Gregorio to portray unconditional support from Kristin's family. It is refreshing to see that the father-daughter relationship did not falter after Kristin's diagnosis was revealed. The medical terminology and introduction to what being intersex is explained so that anyone can understand it. There is much, much more being intersex, Kristin's type considered more straightforward than others. There are "inbetweeners", or partial versions of AIS with a fleeting mention. Gregorio's book is meant to be a springboard, a point where one can do more research and discovery if so inclined.
All the more important to help promote support in communities. Kristin's story uncovers the deep fear that people feel about things they do not understand, and how terrible and ugly they can be to others because of it. People are faced with these reactions every day when they are considered different and out the majority, whether it be about race, homosexuality, being transgender, or religion. I hope that this book can be a start for some to build a legacy of acceptance and understanding for people who are "othered": we are all but variations on the theme of being human, no matter our chromosomes, genitals, skin color, religion, or able-bodiedness. I.W. Gregorio, write another book. I will read it!
Most recent customer reviews
This book was informative and resonated with me. I really felt with Krissy who one day learns that she's intersex and has to deal with the hurtful rumours as...Read more
When I started None of the Above, I went in blindly, because I couldn't for the life of me remember what the book was about.Read more