Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Release Date: April 28th, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, YA
Source: Received in exchange for review
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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?
I’ll just start off with the thing I want to say most: None of the Above is such an important book. I myself have always been lucky, in the sense that if I want to see myself reflected in fiction, I don’t have to look far. There are plenty of girl protagonists, there are plenty of white protagonists – so many books on my shelf reflect me in that way. But there are also people who have to look very, very hard to see themselves in fiction, if at all. People who don’t fit into the typical mold.
That’s why None of the Above is so important. Because its protagonist is Kristin, and she is intersex. None of the Above portrays the struggles she has to go through, mentally and otherwise, while also honestly portraying a teen’s life and all that comes with it. There is drama, there is romance, there are friends, but most importantly, there is Kristin. The book follows her as she finds out she’s intersex, the initial denial and shock and all that comes afterwards.
Kristin doesn’t have it easy. She has many questions about herself, her identity, and worries whether she can still be seen as a girl if she has an Y chromosome. I am no expert on what’s it like being intersex (in fact, I knew pretty much nothing about it before None of the Above), but what the book shows us feels honest and real. Kristin’s journey never felt forced to me, and it broke my heart to see her have to deal with all these confusing emotions, worries and questions.
Though of course None of the Above mostly focuses on how Kristin deals with finding out she’s intersex, there’s also a storyline and underlying themes I approved of. Though for Kristin it seems her life has changed in an instant, it also goes on and Gregorio portrayed that really well. Her personal life doesn’t suddenly stop, and she has to deal with others as well as herself. None of the Above also has themes of friendship, finding out who you are, and acceptance.
There is also a romance in here, but it’s very light. The love interest is very sweet and is mostly Kristin’s friend rather than her boyfriend. He shows her that even though she believes otherwise, people really do accept her and see her for who she is. The romance was cute, though it didn’t set my heart aflame. But really, it didn’t have to – it’s not the point of this book.
In all, I think None of the Above is just very important, both for intersex teens out there and people like me, who didn’t really know about it but wish to be educated. Kristin’s journey was raw and real, and the underlying themes of love and acceptance made for a hopeful but realistic read overall.
~Thank you Balzer + Bray for the review copy!~
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