I didn’t know what to expect from this book when I bought it, which is exactly why I did. YA Contemporary isn’t a genre I’m wildly familiar with, and I only had a passable knowledge of what it means to be an inter-sex person (otherwise and archaically known as a hermaphrodite).
The story itself is about Kristin, a teenage girl who discovers she was born intersex, and what happens when her secret is revealed to the entire school.
First of all, let me say that Gregorio can write. This is the first book I’ve read from this author and I’ll happily be returning to her shelf. What could have been a clunky, complicated “after-school-special” novel was none of the above (see what I did there?). Instead, it was wonderfully written, beautifully paced, informative and engaging – I was hooked from page one.
Told in short, snappy chapters which keep the intensity of emotion and plot at a constant high, NOTA was an eye-opening insight into what life could be like for an inter-sex person. The characters and their reactions were all very believable and, sadly, I did not find it difficult to believe that high school students (and, indeed, their parents) would react in such an immature and vicious manner: bullying Kristin for something she cannot help and until recently had no idea about.
Despite Kristin’s very poignant and unsurprising reaction of denial, anger and depression, the story is not all doom and gloom. In fact, you find yourself rooting for and applauding her as she seeks help, finds out who her real friends are, and builds her life back up from this shattering discovery. In the end, the message of the story is clear, that a person should be loved for who they are, not their chromosomes.
Highly recommended reading. I absolutely loved it.