Author: I.W. Gregorio
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: 7. April 2015
Rating: 1./5. Stars
TW: homophobia, lesbophobia, transphobia, interphobia, forced outing, suicide jokes, rape jokes, trigger warning jokes
Diversity: LGBT Characters
Summary: What if everything you knew about yourself changed in an instant?
When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place. She’s a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and she’s madly in love with her boyfriend. In fact, she’s decided that she’s ready to take things to the next level with him.
But Kristin’s first time isn’t the perfect moment she’s planned—something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy “parts.”
Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin’s entire identity is thrown into question. As her world unravels, can she come to terms with her new self?
Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of this book on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I really wanted to like this book. It speaks about really important things, like gender identity and obviously about being intersex and dealing with that, but Oh My God. There are so many problems.
First off: So Many Slurs. Honestly, if you can think of a derogatory slur for LGBT people: it’s in there. While there are some parts of the story where these slurs are called out as words one shouldn’t use, there is also the terrible passage where the good cishet boy Darren uses all the slurs, ranking which words LGBT people should have a reaction too (gay is ok but dippy, q**** is cute, lesbian is classy sounding and the only bad word is the f word) and it’s supposed to make us like him? I wanted to DNF that book very badly at that moment. But shhh, he’s definitely an authority on homophobic slurs because his dad is gay and he hated him for coming out, like he should have stayed in the closet so his son doesn’t have to deal with his dad being happy :/, give him a hand, please!
There’s a lot of homophobic/transphobic bullying going on in the book, a suicide joke, the predatory lesbian stereotype, the use of PTSD as a joke, rape jokes and trigger warning jokes bc uwu trigger warnings are a joke (both by the lovely white cishet dude, we are supposed to care about… sure…) and of course, the constant use of the H-Slur, which is the only slur the author addressed at the end of the book, but since she is not intersex I feel super weird about her reclaiming that slur. I mean I’m also dyadic, but why keep using slurs after explaining that it is a word that is derogatory towards intersex people? It just felt really bad.
There is also absolutely no mention of trans people or of trans intersex people and also nothing about nonbinary people. Especially the lack of awareness about trans people, when a lot of the character’s slurs are directly targeted towards trans women was bad. The MC also constantly equates womanhood to having a vagina and a uterus (which is why she doesn’t feel like a woman anymore). A lot of that is certainly because she is sixteen and not at all educated on LGBT issues, but it was not good to read. While she never outright states that she feels better than trans women, she definitely insinuates it a lot. The slurs used against her are wrong, because she is a woman, not because those slurs are words you shouldn’t use. At least she’s not trans. At least she doesn’t have a penis. At least she has a vagina like a real woman. I mean seriously?
Then there is a scene where Krissy gets sexually assaulted and this worst case scenario is the thing that gets her out of her depression. Let me repeat that: Sexual assault is used as a catalyst for character development. Without any long-term issues. No, she goes on and gets a happy ending because being sexually assaulted taught her the meaning of life and that she had to accept herself being intersex. What. The. Fuck.
The writing wasn’t that amazing either, the pacing was weird at times and the characters were flat.
I liked that there was one intersex girl who was a lesbian and I heard that the medical part of things was explained well, but honestly none of that can save this book for me.