CAITLIN FOOTE RECOMMENDS NONE OF THE ABOVE BY I.W.GREGORIO
Kristin Lattimer seems to have it all together: She is a successful high school athlete with a college scholarship lined up; she has a popular track-star boyfriend who she is ready to take the next step in their relationship with; and she was recently elected homecoming queen by her classmates.
All of this suddenly changes when a routine trip to the doctor reveals that Kristin is intersex. Although she outwardly appears to be female and has always identified herself as female, she discovers she has male chromosomes and certain male ‘parts.’
While Kristin is struggling to come to terms with her diagnosis on her own, her diagnosis gets leaked to the entire school and her peers are anything but supportive. Kristin’s once seemingly ideal life has crumbled before her eyes and she must rely on herself, her family, a support group, and an unlikely friend to re-discover herself and whether she fits into the category of male, female, or none of the above.
I.W. Gregorio, a practicing surgeon, was inspired by an intersex patient of hers to write None of the Above. Gregorio tackles many difficult issues in this book including gender identity, gender discrimination, and bullying. The novel also brings to light the plethora of resources and supports that are available to people diagnosed with intersex conditions and works to end the stigma surrounding intersex. I learned a lot about my own perceptions of what it means to be intersex and the effects in can have on a person’s life. I think this book could be extremely valuable to any student who is either going through a similar situation of being dejected by their peers or a student who simply wants to learn more about the LGBTQIA2S+ community.
After reading The 57 Bus, I became more aware of my reading gap with LGBTQIA2S+ texts. I decided to seek out a fiction book that could fit into this category. I specifically chose None of the Above because I had never encountered a text that addresses what it means to be intersex, let alone a text that uses the term intersex rather than the outdated ‘hermaphrodite’ (a struggle that comes to light in this novel).
Caitlin Foote is a pre-service teacher completing her B.Ed degree at UNB with a classroom placement at Oromocto High School. She is enjoying expanding her love of YA novels in order to relate to and recommend books to her Grade 9 ELA students.