Any author will tell you that that waiting for trade reviews is one of the worst part of the publishing business, akin to that nail-biting period when kids are waiting for college admission announcements.

I am so, so thrilled – and, let’s be honest, more than a little relieved – to share that Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal and Kirkus have weighed in with their opinions on This if My Brain in Love – and they liked it! They really liked it – to the tune of two starred reviews!

My favorite pull quotes:

  • ⭐ “Readers will come to this story for dynamic romantic and familial relationships, but they’ll stay for its smart exploration of depression, anxiety, and self-care.” – Publishers Weekly (starred review)
  • ⭐ “Deftly navigating issues of race and mental health, as well as giving voice to the reality of American teens born to immigrant families, many of whom grapple with different cultural and familial expectations, Gregorio has written a heartwarming foodie rom-com.” – School Library Journal (starred review)
  • “Mental illness is no match for love in this diverse, compelling novel… [Gregorio’s] cast of characters authentically navigate their mental illnesses through the twists and turns of a fast-paced plot, and the romance between Will and Jocelyn sparkles. A sweet, entertaining romance.”  – Kirkus Reviews (affectionately known as “Snarkus” to authors who have felt their reviewers’ bite)

Please excuse the brevity of this post – I’m going to go collapse in relief now.

Here’s a picture of my legendary editor, Alvina Ling, holding This is My Brain in Love with its new bling:


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It has always felt fitting to me that the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) annual convention is held on the week before Thanksgiving. There’s no conference out there that makes authors feel so unbelievably grateful for the educators that live and breathe the love of language and stories. For me, this year was filled with more overwhelming gratitude than most, because it’s the first time in five years that I have a new book coming out.

Michelle bullaI’ve said it before: It’s a truth universally acknowledged that an author in possession of a diverse book, must be in want of a teacher, librarian or bookseller to introduce it to a reader. This was absolutely true with my first book, None of the Above, which I was told was a “tough sell” because its main character was intersex. Only by the grace of dozens of teachers, librarians and booksellers is the book still in print – and selling – today.

I was reminded just a few minutes minutes into my signing line for This is My Brain in Love of how wide the impact is that teachers make when one of the attendees, Michelle Bulla, said that she had attended a session of mine in 2015, and that None of the Above is now a reading option in her high school.

Kristin teacher roundtable 1mbThen the next morning, as I prepared for a 8am roundtable organized by the amazing Sarah Mulhern Gross and Mollie Noel on how to teach “contentious” issues using children’s literature, I was approached by Kristin Luettchau, a teacher in NJ who had literally just taught None of the Above in her class – after she had it taught to her in her teacher education program by the wonderful Emily Meixner.



Finally, there were the author friends. Oh, how I have missed them. The whole convention had a “class reunion” feeling, and I was able to hug/get copies of books by/eat + drink/laugh with so many incredible people who I haven’t seen in years. I can’t be more thankful for their friendship, their encouragement, their nagging “when are you writing another book” questions.  Continue reading

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(stolen shamelessly from my Facebook page):

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One year ago, I wan’t sure I would ever publish another book.

My medical practice was (and remains) one of the busiest and most thinly stretched in my county, and I had a proposal in my documents folder that needed a good amount of work.

Then Dhonielle guilted me into getting back to it, and Natalie and Laurieand Kathy and Madcap Retreats gave me the energy and *space and time* to work on it, and my agent Jessica Regel gave me the calm certainty that it was worthy, and then OMG Kheryn Callender and Alvina Ling swept in as Fairy Godparents in a dream team with Ruqayyah Daud.

Still, I could not have done this without an incredible community of writer friends (AbigailSonyaKellyStaceyAishaBeckyRandy, you know who you are), who supported me when I felt burned out from writing, and reassured me that there would still be a place for me in the fold when I came back.

I am so happy that I’ll be back soon!

Huge thanks, also, to the readers and interviewees who have helped me make the book of my heart as authentic as possible. It takes a village to write a book responsibly, and thank you Eric + BasseyOozoLynMarieke, Rachel Simon, Uduak, DK and Regina.

Please save the date for THIS IS MY BRAIN IN LOVE, Spring 2020 from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. It’s a (half*) #ownvoices YA contemporary about navigating love and anxiety and depression across cultures. I like it a lot, and hope you do too.

(h/t Holly Bodger for the tip that it was in PW!)

*The book is in dual narrative!

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I’ve been working on intersex activism for about five years now, and it’s been one of the most rewarding turns in my career. I’ve met amazing intersex adults, even more incredible intersex children, and listened to medical horror stories that would make your hair curl.

So it was an incredible, humbling thing to be asked to participate in the launch this past Tuesday of Human Rights Watch‘s landmark report on intersex genital surgery. Here’s a trailer of the full report, which is available for free online, and is a must read for anyone who likes complex tales with a devastating emotional impact:

Here is a video of the full launch event, featuring Kimberly Zieselman (interACT’s Executive Director, Eric Lohman (a professor who is a parent of a child with CAH), Lynell Stephani Long (intersex activist and interACT board member), and Bo Laurent (widely regarded as the founder of the intersex movement).  My part starts at around 26:00 if you’re interested.

Thank you to the press who have reported on this subject and cast an important light on one of modern medicine’s greatest failures, including the AP, TeenVogue, and Reuters with more to come, including NPR affiliate KPCC, where I’m going to be on AirTalk today (2:39 EST/11:39 PST) with intersex activist Hida Viloria and pediatric urologist Larry Baskin.

I’ve been thinking about intersex for five years, and in addition to being rewarding, it’s frustrating to realize how much more needs to be done. Thank you to Bo and Lynell and Anne & Suegee Tamar-Mattis, and Morgan Holmes, and to the countless people who have been fighting this fight for twenty-four years, for sparking the spark so long ago, and for continuing this often exhausting, sometimes angering, but always important fight.

Things need to change. Here’s hoping that the tide is starting to turn.

More comments and analysis to come.

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Hey, look at Teen Vogue, doing amazing work again:

I’m so delighted to support my intersex peeps by talking about why doctors need to rethink intersex surgeries performed on children before they can rightfully give consent.

Here’s another Op-Ed I wrote earlier this year in Scientific American.

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I’m very proud to have written about intersex in this Newsweek op-ed.  More info on the story behind the story coming soon…



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Instagram royalties

I’ll be honest: When I first went out to agents with None of the Above, part of me worried that traditional publishing wouldn’t touch a project with an intersex main character. For one, it was impossible to write about intersex without talking about testicles and vaginas, and who wanted that? I mean, the word itself had the letters s-e-x in them, so goodbye, sales from people who wanted clean teen.

Even more worrisome to me was just how much ignorance there was surrounding the entire topic, and how many myths there were out there about intersex bodies. True story: One of my first beta readers was really stressed out while reading an early draft of NOTA’s first chapter. She kept on waiting for my main character to pull out her penis during the sex scene (N.B.: most intersex people do not have both a penis and a vagina).

I won’t lie. Sometimes talking about my book to prospective readers feels like pushing a stalled car up a hill. I was told point blank by one of my publisher’s sales representatives that my book was a “tough sell.” Later on, they clarified that it didn’t mean that book buyers weren’t picking up the book – in fact, indie bookstores have been crucial to NOTA’s relative success, and we wouldn’t be on a fifth printing if it weren’t for them. Rather, there was an activation energy of sorts when you told someone about the book, both because it required background info and explanation, and because transphobia—indeed, the phobia of any body that is different from the dominant paradigm—exists.

Times, of course, are a-changing, and the wheel of progress continues to turn. Largely because of the tireless work of organizations like interACT Advocates: Advocates for Intersex Youth, and OII (Organization Intersex International), intersex visibility increases every day. In the two years since None of the Above was published, these organizations have operated on shoestring budgets to increase intersex awareness. These are just some of the highlights of two years of intersex advocacy:

  • May 2016: Four intersex advocates, including myself, presented at the 2016 Society of Pediatric Urology meeting. As a result of the meeting, at least two surgeons postponed surgeries they had already scheduled on intersex children.
  • November 2016: A federal judge ruled in favor of Dana Zzyym, an intersex veteran, who is seeking a passport that reflects a gender other than “male” or “female”
  • December 2016: The UN Committee on Torture formally requested that the US provide information on the number of sex assignment surgeries performed on intersex children.
  • January 2017: The State of New York issued the nation’s first ever intersex birth certificate to Sara Kelly Keenan, who is now 55.
  • January 2017: Supermodel Hanne Gaby Odiele came out as intersex in USA Today, with coverage in Vogue, the NYT, Washington Post and others.
  • March 2017: interACT filed an amicus brief to the US Supreme Court, explaining why transphobic bathroom policies hurt not only transgender students but those born with intersex traits as well.

Despite all these advances, there is work to be done.

  • The nation’s been talking about bathrooms for a while now, and even though the infamous HB2 “bathroom law” was recently repealed, the compromise that led to its reversal also bans any additional nondiscrimination laws until 2020.
  • Emboldened by the recent presidential election, hate groups are thriving, including anti-transgender groups such as the one behind the so-called “Free Speech Bus” that is making a tour across the US. By creating a false equivalency between chromosomal sex and gender identity, the bus erases the existence of intersex people. The irony, of course, is that biology doesn’t justify bigotry—its diversity should promote tolerance.

This last election galvanized a lot of people to put their money where their mouths are. Organizations like Planned Parenthood and the Southern Poverty Law Center saw record-breaking donation levels. With upcoming budget cuts, it’s likely that things will be tighter for a lot of organizations. I will say this, though: interACT Advocates does more with less than most non-profits.

So when I say that 100% of the April royalties to None of the Above will go to interACT, know that if you buy a copy of the shiny new paperback—whether it be for yourself, a dear friend, or your local library—it will benefit an organization that is dedicated to shedding light on one of the human rights issues of our time.




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I am over the moon excited to share with you the cover for the None of the Above paperback (coming to stores near you on April 4th!), with its shiny new blurb from Stephen Chbosky, author of the bestselling Perks of Being a Wallflower, and screenwriter for a little movie called Beauty and the Beast (#1 for two weeks and counting).

nota quotePaperbacks are exciting because their printing is not guaranteed – for many reasons, publishers will sometimes release some titles in hardcover only, which is tough for YA authors because teens are much more likely to buy a title that’s $9.99 than something that’s almost twice that. Book clubs are also much more likely to choose a book that’s in paperback… and hey, did I mention that Epic Reads made an awesome None of the Above Book Club Guide?

Over the next week I’ll be announcing a promotion to get book clubs to read NOTA – prize pack will include a Skype visit with your book club, free SWAG and a $50 Barnes and Noble gift certificate. I’ll also be talking about the strides made in intersex awareness in the past two years since NOTA first released, even as I acknowledge how much work there is still to be done.

Here are some other pics of my new arrival:

nota pb all

nota pb insideNOTA pb back

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Today is Intersex Awareness Day, which means it’s our annual chance to shine a spotlight on one of medicine’s most profound failures: it’s treatment of people born with biological differences in sex development, also known as intersex.

The Hippocratic Oath that all physicians take exhorts us to Do No Harm. Yet, for decades surgeons have been causing their patients irrevocable, life-changing harm with well-intentioned attempts to “fix” intersex.

Imagine being a 16 year old girl who is told that they need surgery to remove potential cancerous gonads. Imagine not being told until after this surgery that you have to take hormones for the rest of your life or risk osteoporosis, depression and other menopausal symptoms.

Imagine being a 18 year old girl, about to go to college. Because you have something called Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, you have an underdeveloped vagina – so your surgeon suggests something called a vaginoplasty in which intestine is used to create a longer vaginal canal. But the surgery goes wrong – postoperative scarring causes any sort of penetration to be painful, and only afterward to you find out that you could have avoided the surgery entirely by simply stretching yourself with dilators.

Finally, imagine that you’re one of the two girls above. Your doctors tell you that you’ll never meet anyone like you, so don’t even try. Your parents tell you not to discuss your diagnosis with anyone, not even your best friends – it’s too private, they say. It’s none of their business. When you go to your doctors appointments your mother can barely conceal her shame. Your father doesn’t go to these visits at all.

To imagine these traumas is to imagine being intersex.

Now imagine being able to save someone from these medical horrors – because it is in your power. Because the world is changing as Intersex Awareness increases, as intersex people gather as a community and use the power of their stories to change medical care doctor by doctor, surgeon by surgeon.

Today, I invite you to help in all the ways:

1. If you DON’T know what intersex is: Watch this Buzzfeed video. It’ll make you laugh, and it might make you cry. 

2. If you DO know what intersex is but aren’t sure why it’s important: Read this post where some amazing writers tell you why.

3. Unclear about the harms perpetrated by well meaning physicians? Read this post about intersex and intimacy to understand the depth of the harm caused by unnecessary surgery on intersex bodies.

4. If you’re moved? Please consider spreading the word. Share this post, or the Buzzfeed video, or any of the other articles (hey, even Good Housekeeping has one if that’s your jam). Follow @interACT_adv on Twitter or Instagram or Facebook. DONATE to them so they can continue the incredible work they do on a shoestring budget. Tag someone you know who might not know what intersex is, other than a curiosity. Show them that the girl next door could be intersex, and that intersex bodies are beautiful.

Thank you, and remember to vote with your conscience on November 8th!!

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I’ll be out and about this summer, starting next week when I’m in NYC for the Lambda Literary Awards. Hope to see some of you soon IRL!


  • June 6th, 1pm –  New York, NY: NYU Constantine Georgiou Library (239 Greene Street, 5th Floor) reading with Rebecca Podos (Mystery of Hollow Places), Cordelia Jensen (Skyscraping)
  • June 11, 12pm -Exton, PA (301 Main Street, Exton, PA 19341): B-Fest Exton Barnes & Noble
  • June 12, 1pm – Wilmington, DE: Concord Mall Barnes & Noble (4801 Concord Pike,
    Wilmington, DE): B-Fest Author Signing with Randy Ribay, Sharon Roat, Dianne Salerni and Cindy Callaghan
  • July 17 – Denver, CO: AIS-DSD Annual Conference
  • August 2 – Young Writers Workshop, Colgate University
  • September 24th (details tk) – Boston Teen Book Festival
  • September 26th (details tk) – Falmuth Public Library: Banned Books Week Symposium with Malinda Lo, Amitha Knight
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