Book Review – None of the Above by I. W. Gregorio


None of the Above Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, GLBT

No. of pages: 352

From Goodreads:

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?  

Page border by Casey Carlisle

I loved this simply because of its subject matter.

Although there are some mixed feelings – on the one hand, the subject matter is fascinating and heart-touching and was dealt with intelligently and compassionately; on the other, I felt there wasn’t enough going on other than the main plot. The characters could have been developed more. An arc or two thrown in.

There were some issues that had me grinding my teeth – I felt there were too many times Kristin, our protagonist, contracted a bad case of verbal diarrhoea. Only because it lost a sense of reality. Girls with secrets like this don’t go and just blurt them out. They bottle them up, let it eat them up inside, and hopefully, a very close friend notices something is up, and manages to drag out the issue before the girl ends up doing self-harm. Psychological issues like this weren’t even hinted at – and given the author is surgeon who deals with the intersex community, I felt was a big disservice.

This book illustrated a lot about bullying and ignorance. Many of the taunts Kristin suffered didn’t even make sense because the idiots bandying about awful words were – in all the definitions of the word – stupid. I was angry for Kristin, I was embarrassed for her, I pitied her, but most of all I just wanted her to open her eyes and get her to stop putting herself in the position where she needed to defend herself.

She shouldn’t have to.

But I’ve known people in similar situations and they usually keep quiet. Be it for their own safety, or shame, or a million other reasons. Again, Kristin’s actions did not make a whole lot of sense other than the author forcing Kristin into a situation to illuminate a point…

Again, some other scenes that urked me were most of the kissing scenes, which progressed into some extremely intimate touching… going from never been kissed, to a full on snog and finger insertion – in a paragraph – and was insulting and not called for. It served no purpose other than the author trying to assert a point that had already been proven. Maybe I’m a prude, but there is no way in hell I’d let a boy do that to me during a first kiss!

I know it sounds like I’m bagging this book, when in fact I think it is original and brings up pertinent points and a new type of heroine. It helps educate the reader about something they may never (knowingly) get exposed to in real life. I believe we need more positive stories about the GLBT community. This novel is amazing, I just feel the story was forced to go places it shouldn’t have and missed others that were important to Kristin and her journey. Let’s hope, that in the least, it can start a dialogue, or reach some of the intersex kids out there, so they know they are not alone.

Gregorio has an easy enough to read style, a bit clunky (but maybe it was because I chose to take issue with the story) – but a novel that lends itself to be completed in a day. I would have liked to see heavier subject matter – it felt too light (trying to be a romance novel) for the issues of a girl discovering she is intersex. I also feel the rest of the cast were overlooked and underdeveloped for the sake of this topic as well.

A valiant little book that I’d recommend to anyone.

Overall feeling: Eyebrow raising!

None of the Above Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

None of the Above Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

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