Thursday, February 12, 2015

'None of the Above' by IW Gregorio


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?

This is what I would call a thinking book. For me, thinking books bring up long periods of silence and thoughts swirling in my head. They make me, normally, think, 'Humanity is such a cruel race.'
With this book, as well as the ongoings of my personal life, I kept thinking. It's not a good or bad thinking. Just thinking.

I liked how Kristin got through it. She had to reach out to people. She had to uncurl. She had to be friendly. She had to accept her diagnosis. I liked it because it shows that with these things need you to accept them. You can't deny them. They are part of you.
Her diagnosis didn't change her. She was still the same person. She wasn't changed because of her intersex condition. She was still, and always will be, just Kristin. 

It portrayed humanity's hypocrisy and cruelty in a way anyone could understand. How we hate and rage. Over the smallest of things. Oh. Yes, she is definitely a man. She shows the outward characteristics of a female. And she thinks she is female. So why should it matter that her chromosomes say otherwise? I'm not sure. 
I've read a lot of books in my time. Most recently, it seems like the trend is revealing how cruel humanity is. It's a simple fact. We have North Korea's prison camps ('Escape from Camp 14'.) The civil wars that make children fight with guns and grenades instead of playing in the sand ('The Way They Bared Their Souls'.) 
I'm not sure if the world is just made for this. Or if humanity adopted their cruelty. Or if it mutated and grew into this mass of black hatred. 
Books like this portray humanity perfectly. We bully our best friend. Our greatest alliance. All because of a single change. A single revelation.
How cruel... 
(I know this is very opinionated. I know. I am trying not to rant. I really am. It's just a topic that I care for. I've seen what hatred can do. I'm afraid of the side-effects. But I'm also scared for humanity. We have so much cruelty in our blood. It's hard to ignore. And it's on the rise.) 

And the condition itself. I have honestly never heard of intersex before this book. (I'm ashamed to admit I don't know all the sexual orientations as well... I need to brush up on my LGBT.) This is an interesting condition. It's biological. But it carries psychological aspects. As an aspiring psychologist, I am eternally fascinated with this. The psychological aspects, I mean. 
Kristin told the world she was a woman. But she isn't? Or is she? The 'lying' she tells brings about bullying. Half of the bullying seems to come from fright of the condition. Is she male? Is she female? Questions, I imagine, many intersex ask. Who are they? Are they still themselves? The answer to these questions determined their fate. It determines so much in their lives. Who they want to hang out with. Who they avoid. 
Being different isn't a bad thing. It makes you special. That isn't ever a bad thing.

I don't deny the cuteness of the relationship. It was quite cute. And I applaud Darren for his acceptance. He is quite kind. I wish there were more Darrens. We need more Darrens. The accepting type. The kind type. Those who will take people for who they are. (I, in fact, am quite judgmental.) I'm happy that our main girl Kristin found such a kind boy. She needs more people like him. 
They were so sweet around each other. It seemed...mildly convenient that Darren was working at the hospital. And mildly convenient they bonded over that. Kristin is a good person. She is a kind-hearted soul. She definitely needed someone like Darren. On our worst days, we need people to pick us up. Brother or sister. Friend or mother. Lover or cousin. We need people to help us. No matter what isolated people think.

I didn't like Kristin's original personality. (Pre-diagnosis.) She was the type of girl I hated. Looking back, I might be a bit foolish for hating Pre-diagnosis Kristin. But gosh. She got on my nerves. She was annoying. A very, very girly girl. I'm not a big fan of girly girls. As people or characters.
 I know that's rude. You're probably wondering how rude can I be! Ranting about a poor girl before she learned the truth. Well. She was quite annoying. Admit that. You can't blame someone for a massive personality change. You really can't. I didn't really like her. (That is evident.) And you can't just look at her after her diagnosis. She is still Kristin before and after. 

Josh also got on my nerves as well. He was a stupid jock, really. He didn't care for love. He didn't really care for Kristin. Kristin was a bit blind to not see that. But she was young and, supposedly, 'in love'. That's such a lie on his part. He turns on her. I hoped he would at least apologize. Or make up a little. Not that I wanted them back together. Oh no no no. I wanted Kristin to see that he could be nice. Putting up a mask to protect honor is stupid. A stupid thing to do. But at least he would have understood.
Though, without Josh out of the picture, we wouldn't have adorable couple! I guess that's one thing he's good for.

Sunny with a light fog

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