Thursday, April 23, 2015

None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio [Review]

None of the Above4.5 out of 5 Robots!

None of the Above by I. W. Gregorio
Genre: YA Contemporary
Release: April 7, 2015
Hardcover: 352 Pages
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
My Copy: Publisher
Reviewer: Shannon

Book Summary:
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?

(Courtesy of the Publisher)

Shannon's Thoughts:
I love that this book exists.  It takes a somewhat well known, but very misunderstood condition and really explores what it means to be intersex.  It helps dispel a lot of the misinformation out there while also showing a range of reactions to the condition.  

Here is what I liked:
**I loved being on Kristin's journey.  She starts the book on the top of the world.  She's popular, has a great boyfriend,  and has a track scholarship for college.  She decides to lose her virginity to Sam on the night of the Homecoming dance.  Things don't go well.  Concerned, she goes to an Ob-Gyn for the first time and that's when her condition is discovered.  She is obviously shocked.  She eventually confides in her two best friends, who are seemingly supportive, but then the school finds out and all hell breaks loose.  I thought Kristin's reactions were very realistic, but I also liked that she found strength and sought out help instead of being completely in denial. 

**I liked how Gregorio teaches us about intersex through Kristin.  Sometimes it comes across as a little like a PSA/Very Special Episode, but mostly I appreciate all of the logistical information and the willingness to explain certain questions.  I also liked that she introduced us to other intersex girls too so we have multiple points of view on what it is like being intersex.

**I also loved the discussion about sexual orientation, gender identity and biological sex and how they are all different.  There is a neat scene where Kristin's doctor explains the difference between all three.  I thought it was a good, clear way to explain how the three are related but not mutually exclusive.  

**Kristin's journey is very emotional and heartwrenching.  I thought Gregorio did a great job showing her ups and downs and struggles with her condition.  Sometimes I found Kristin incredibly naive, but mostly I just really felt for her.  Especially since she had the added bullying problems on top of trying to sort out her new identity.

Here is what I didn't like:
**I was a little put off that the only males who were accepting of Kristen's condition was her friend Bruce and her dad.  Other males in her life reacted horribly, even violently.  I don't doubt that these can be realistic reactions, but I would have liked to see a wider range of reactions from males.  I think it is doing a little disservice to males to assume that most guys would react so terribly and violently.  

**I would have liked to see more resolution between Kristen and Sam.  Sam does not take it well and things between them unravel very quickly.  But I would have liked to see more interaction between them once Sam finds out.  I felt like his reaction was so strong that I would have liked to see more where those strong reactions were coming from.  I just wanted a little more exploration of their relationship.

**I wish Bruce was more developed.  I thought he was a great friend for Kristin, especially since he went through his own situation and could relate to a lot of what Kristin was going through.  But he was almost too perfect and lacking in some personality.  I felt the end was rushed between them.  


No matter what my complaints are, this is a very important book.  It was compelling, emotional, and well written.  It sheds light on some very "hot" topics and does it really well.  I highly recommend this book!  I also think this would make a fantastic book club pick too.

Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.


  1. I had no idea this was the subject the book was about. Thanks for the review, I will definitely check it out now.

  2. I've definitely heard a lot of reactions saying that it can be a little clinical and that pretty much...everyone acts terribly haha. I AM planning on picking this up as soon as the library gets it/it turns to May (only two more days!!) but I am thinking that this book is going to feel even heavier than I expected so...I'm going to have to make sure to pick up ALL THE FLUFF as well. And bribe myself to read it instead of being intimidated and putting it off.

    1. Actually, I don't consider it a "heavy book" at all! Don't be intimidated. It is very accessible. That's one of the reasons I really liked it! I think you will like it a lot actually. Even though it veers occasionally into Very Special Episode, I think it is very well written. But I am dying to know how you feel about the male reactions. I feel like this book takes place in a very small, narrow minded place. I think of my male friends, and while some of thing may have been weirded out, I can't imagine any of them reacting so violently.



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