This book was fantastic. The story, conveyed via five (or maybe six?) different narrators, is primarily about Max, a perfect-on-the-surface teenaged boy — attractive, intelligent, kind, well-mannered, popular, the whole nine yards — who is also intersex. Not only that, Max is also truly intersex; his “type” is literally not more one than the other*, so Max has physical characteristics of both a boy and a girl.
Max’s parents clearly love him. Nothing they’ve done has been due to any motivation other than his well-being, including giving him very little information about his “condition” over the years. Now that he’s reached teenhood, it’s becoming more and more an issue as his friends are pairing and re-pairing off, and definitely having sex. He’s actually become known as a tease — one who gets around, on the kissing front, anyway, but one who will go no further.
While on the surface Max is well-adjusted and damned near angelic, all of this is almost never out of his mind. The only people other than his parents (and obviously doctors, none of whom he’s seen in years, incidentally) who know are a couple of family members and some very close family friends who have a son Max’s age. The two are so close they’re thought of and seen as cousins, but their relationship is/causes the chain of events that ultimately determine Max’s, and his family’s course of action.
The use of different narrators is great. Max’s parents and his brother have vastly different perceptions of and perspectives on their family situation, and it’s nifty to get those from the inside.
I can’t imagine how hard it would be to convey necessary information to a reader without is seeming obvious and contrived, and those parts in which the new doctor Max has consulted is doing just that are the only ones that rang even a little false. I think, though, they’re handled as well as they could have been and didn’t diminish my affection for this book one bit.
*I forgot about this and am too lazy to reconstruct. That is actually part of the problem…does Max necessarily have to be one or the other?