Kristen Lattimer is a high school student who seems to have everything going for her. She has a boyfriend who she loves, she’s a champion hurdler with a full scholarship and she’s just been voted Homecoming Queen. But when she decides to take things further with her boyfriend, the whole experience goes horribly wrong and when she visits the doctor she is diagnosed with AIS (Androgen Insufficiency Syndrome): genetically she is male, although her outward appearance is female. Instead of ovaries and a uterus, she has internal testicles and she will never get her period or bear children.
I liked Kristen a lot and I felt her reactions to her diagnosis were very real. She freaks out, she hides away, she denies what’s happening to her and she gets depressed and then gradually she turns things around and begins to accept her diagnosis. The supporting characters were very well written. Their reactions to Kristen’s diagnosis ranged from outright bullying to anger to acceptance. I wasn’t a fan of Kristen’s boyfriend, Sam, especially after his reaction to her being intersex but I was glad there were characters who were accepting of Kristen’s diagnosis to balance out the bullies.
None of the Above is about what it means to be intersex (what used to be called hermaphrodite), but it’s also a story about friendship, relationships, bullying and tolerance, about what it means to love someone for who they are, not what they are. It also does a great job of setting out the differences between and showing examples of sex, gender and sexuality - distinctions that still get confused. It’s definitely a story that will make you ask questions about yourself and what your reactions would be if you or someone you knew was diagnosed intersex.
The language in the book is slightly clinical at times; there were a few passages that made me wince slightly and jam my knees together and I’ve gotta say, I’m hoping the next book I read doesn’t mention speculums too much! This is really just a minor point though, because in all other respects None of the Above is an incredibly important book bringing some much-needed diversity to YA literature.