None Of The Above | Fans Of The Impossible Life | The Word For Yes

Brief Reviews of None Of The Above by IW Gregorio, Fans Of The Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa, and The Word For Yes by Claire Needell.

None Of The Above by I.W. Gregorio is the first book I’ve ever read about a person who is intersex. I found myself browsing Hoopla and as I am prone to do, I downloaded it. The reason for downloading was that it was on my need to review pile and with my commute, it just seemed like an intelligent, reasonable choice. I get to listen to an interesting contemporary audiobook and knock out a review book at the same time. Plus, my reading just has not been as diverse as it could be these days.

None Of The Above is about this girl named Kristen Lattimer. Kristen has recently been voted homecoming queen and should basically be having the time of her life. In fact, she decides it is the night to lose her v-card to her boyfriend, Sam. Unfortunately, this results in abnormal, excruciating pain. So, Kristen decides to go to the doctor. There she discovers that she is actually intersex and has internal male genitalia in addition to outward female genitals. Her chromosomes are not what she expected.

Gregario writes a fascinating book about gender, sexuality, and even biological sex. She handles the topic with sensitivity as well. I thought that she did a great job explaining the difference between gender and biological sex and sexual orientation. As a teenager, and even as an adult, I found it informative in a non-lecture way.

I thought that the characters were quite realistic. Kristen’s reactions to her “diagnosis” felt authentic. Her boyfriend Sam’s reaction, terrible though it may be, rings true for a popular high school athlete. I even thought her friend Vee seemed real with her jealousy over homecoming queen and then her frenemy actions. Characterization is done very well in None Of The Above.

The audiobook was the perfect way for me to experience None Of The Above by I.W. Gregorio. It is narrated by Caitlin Davies. None Of The Above is 7 hours and 20 minutes unabridged, but of course I listened to it at 1.25x speed. I found myself really engaged by the audiobook. Davies really has a way of taking on the characters so every event and emotion feels realistic. In all, I would not hesitate to recommend this via audiobook. It is available on Hoopla, if your library has it as one of your cardholder benefits.

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Fans Of The Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa is kind of a different sort of book. I mean, I do not think I have read or listened to a book written in quite the same style as this book. So instead of being written in just first person or third person, Scelsa’s book has three perspectives with first, second and third person marking each perspective chapter. This creates a unique reading experience where I truly believe mileage will vary.

Fans Of The Impossible Life follows three main characters  – Mira, Jeremy, and Sebby. Mira and Jeremy attend Saint Francis Prep which is a rather classy school. Sebby attends the public school. The three teens are from seemingly different stages in life and sides of the railroad tracks. Mira’s new to Saint Francis after a bit of a breakdown at her other school. Jeremy is a shy and quiet art nerd. Sebby is a foster kid who happens to be gay and seems to typically be the life of the party, but he’s carrying some darkness inside too. The three begin to really form their group bonds after Jeremy begins an art club and needs a certain amount of participants.

So, I think that if you’ll enjoy Fans Of The Impossible Life if you like books with characters that have issues,but persevere beyond their issues. I mean, the three main characters all have had upsetting life events, but they survive. I think this book has a lot of hope in it, despite some relatively dark and harrowing bits. I also found that the characters were all complexly rendered, making for such an interesting and insightful listen.

The audiobook is well worth borrowing on Hoopla. There are three narrators. Imani Parks narrates Mira’s chapters. Michael Curran-Dorsano narrates Jeremy’s chapters. MacLeod Andrews narrates Sebby’s chapters. The audiobook is 7 hours and 49 minutes long. I of course listened to it at 1.25 speed, which was just fine. It goes by pretty fast too. I mean, if you’re looking for a profound sort of book to pad your goodreads challenge, this is a great audiobook to pick up.

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I was actually really looking forward to The Word For Yes by Claire Needell. It had appealed to me, because I appreciate books which provide a good storyline and information about topics near and dear to my heart. The Word For Yes is about consent and sexual assault. The topic matters to me as I spent six years in the Victims Advocacy field. Unfortunately, though, I just merely felt this book was an okay read. It was nothing that I feel evangelistic about recommending.

The Word For Yes follows three sisters – Melanie, Jan, and Erika. Melanie is the youngest and a bit of a popular girl. Jan is the oldest and she’s starting her first year living on campus at Brown University. Erika is in the middle – she’s tall and beautiful and has modeled, however, Erika is more science minded. The three girls live in New York City with their parents who are separating. Their dad is headed to Hong Kong to write a book. Their mother is a fashion editor.

What happens is one of the sisters is sexually assaulted at a party, where the other sister is also in attendance. Jan is off at college figuring out her relationship with her high school boyfriend. The girl who is assaulted was incredibly drunk and feels like consent is murky. However, the sister who was not assaulted feels like, no this is assault and feels the need to tell someone. There’s a bit of an exploration of rape culture with a slut walk and everything.

I suppose my main qualm with The Word For Yes is that characterization felt so weak. Jan, Melanie and Erika were all kind of one dimensional. There was really nothing unique or special about each character. They had their roles to play and sure there was a little bit of character growth, but not enough to wow or impress me.

I will give the book credit though for an excellent afterword about sexual assault and consent. I felt like it was relatively informative and even delved into victim blaming. Although, there were some parts that did come across as holier than thou, advising teens if they go out to drink they won’t find Mr. Right. Which, whatever, I felt like that was a bit much. However, some of it was just very valuable information.

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.