It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme started by Book Journey. The folks over at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers have given it a children’s/YA spin. I thought it would be a fun way to recap last week’s reading and give a sneak peek of my TBR pile.
Last Week’s Books:
A few weeks ago, one of my 8th grade students was very excited to bring me a donation. She had just read None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio and loved it so much that she asked her mom to go out and purchase one for our middle school library. I know, right?!? How awesome is that!
I had seen the book at Barnes and Noble and had heard just a little about it–that it was about a teenage girl who discovers that she is intersex. After skimming just a bit, I knew that not only was it a book that deserved a full reading but also one that I would need to evaluate before adding to the collection.
Krisitin Lattimer is an 18-year-old high school senior who experiences horrific pain during her first sexual experience with her boyfriend. Her subsequent (and first) gynecological exams determines that she is intersex, specifically AIS, with external female characteristics but male chromosomes, testosterone, and internal testicles. While Kristin is still reeling from the news, she tells her two best friends in a moment of panic. Soon her diagnosis spreads throughout the school and almost everyone responds with cruelty, especially her (now) ex-boyfriend. The rest of the story follows Kristin as she learns more about her condition; seeks support from AIS groups, both online and in person; homeschools while trying to gain the courage to attend high school again; and makes new friends.
At times, the book borders on textbook-ish, giving readers lots of medical information; however, the author assumes, correctly, that most readers will not be familiar with the intersex condition. But most of the time, readers will empathize with Kristin, experiencing with her the confusion about her condition and the heartache of rejection.
Ultimately, I have decided to talk to the student who donated the book and explain that I feel it is too mature for our collection. It is not the subject of intersex that makes it so, however. There are multiple sex and heavy make-out scenes as well as drinking, fake IDs, and rough language. I also checked the reviews, which all recommended at least 9th grade and up. I asked myself if I would add the book to the collection if all those elements were present and an intersex character were not, and I decided the answer would be “no.” I intend to ask her if I could send it up to the high school she will attend next year or if she would like the book back. At a recent meeting I booktalked this title to both high school librarians, and they are eager to add it to their collections.
Currently Reading/Listening To: