A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know None of the Above is a novel that educates teen readers about what it means to be intersex, as the protagonist, Krissy, was born with both male and female characteristics. Krissy is bullied both online and at school, and people say hateful things to and about her. She's attacked at a club by a man when he realizes that she's the intersex teen he's heard about. There's some swearing and drinking, as well as some frank sex talk: After Krissy has very painful sex with her boyfriend, she meets with doctors and they discuss body parts, menstruation, hormones, and dilation kits to help her grow her very short vagina. She has to have surgery to remove her gonads. Krissy has a supportive single father and a good friend she meets through a support group. She eventually learns to stop letting "other people define who -- and what --" she is. The author provides additional resources (books and websites) for teen readers to check out. None of the Above could open up discussions about gender identity and cyberbullying.
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What's the story?
Krissy is a track star and homecoming queen with a popular boyfriend. After a painful first-time sexual experience with her boyfriend, she visits a doctor who suspects Krissy is intersex (or "what some people call a hermaphrodite"). She doesn't have a uterus and quickly decides to have surgery when she learns she has gonads. She tells her two best friends about her diagnosis at a party, and suddenly rumors are flying all over school: Her locker is vandalized, her boyfriend breaks up with her, and her coach says she can't run on the track team until there's an investigation to make sure she can compete in the girl's division. Will anybody be able to accept her -- and will she be able to accept herself?
Is it any good?
NONE OF THE ABOVE follows a pretty typical "problem novel" formula, and readers might find it more educational than entertaining. But the book does provide solid information about what it means to be intersex, and it will challenge teens to think about some pretty big questions, such as: What does it mean to be a girl or a boy -- and why do only those two categories exist?
There are now lots of books about gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transsexual characters that make readers think about gender and sexuality; author I.W. Gregorio -- a surgeon who's worked with a young patient with Krissy's diagnosis -- should be applauded for widening the tent even further.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Krissy's diagnosis. Have you heard the term "intersex" before?
Krissy gets bullied by former friends, and someone even threatens her physically. Does this reaction seem realistic? What would happen at your school?
What would you do if someone was posting mean pictures of one of your friends online?
- Author: I.W. Gregorio
- Genre: Coming of Age
- Topics: Great Girl Role Models, High School, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Balzer + Bray
- Publication date: April 29, 2015
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 18
- Number of pages: 352
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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