Rating: 5 stars
“None of the Above” by I. W. Gregorio forces its readers to think about many issues. The story is about Krissy, a girl who is elected Homecoming Queen at her high school. She is popular, she has a boyfriend, and two best friends. But throwing a shadow over her wonderful life is the fact that her mother died a few years ago of uterine cancer.
After attempting sex with her boyfriend, Krissy realizes that something is wrong and she goes to her friend’s gynecologist for an exam. During the exam, her doctor realizes that Krissy doesn’t have the standard female equipment. She incorrectly tells Krissy that she is a hermaphrodite (an archaic term not used by doctors at this time).
Krissy, understandably, is confused, bereft and depressed. Is she a boy? She has two internal testicles but she also has breasts and a female figure. She is a talented runner and hurdler — but is that because she is really a boy? What does she tell her boyfriend? Her friends?
When word leaks out, Krissy is bullied and she stops going to school.
The story is beautifully told with many layers to the story. It’s not just about what is accurately called being “intersex.” It’s also about friendship, family, bullying, fitting in, and even homosexuality. The author brings up interesting questions. If one has testicles, but is for all intents and purposes a female, does falling in love with a guy mean that one is a homosexual?
The point Gregorio ends up making is that love does not depend on the chromosomes of the person you fall in love with so much as who that person is.
It’s a wonderful and wonderfully told story, but it’s not for the faint-of-heart. There is sex, cursing, drinking and much talk of sexual identity. So this is not a young adult book that would be appropriate for a fifth grader.
But for reading about gender identity. belonging, discrimination, and identity, this is a great book. Highly recommended for older middle school students and high school students. And teachers. And parents.
Please note: This review is based on the final hardcover book provided by Balzer & Bray for review purposes.