Review: If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo.

26156987If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo.
Published May 3rd 2016.
288 pages.
Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:
Amanda Hardy is the new girl in school in Lambertville, Tennessee. Like any other girl, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is keeping a secret. There’s a reason why she transferred schools for her senior year, and why she’s determined not to get too close to anyone.

And then she meets Grant Everett. Grant is unlike anyone she’s ever met—open, honest, kind—and Amanda can’t help but start to let him into her life. As they spend more time together, she finds herself yearning to share with Grant everything about herself…including her past. But she’s terrified that once she tells Grant the truth, he won’t be able to see past it.

Because the secret that Amanda’s been keeping? It’s that she used to be Andrew.

If I Was Your Girl is a compelling book which approaches a subject I don’t really know much about — being transgender. It was enlightening to read about this and I’ll definitely look for more books with trans main characters. There’s so much depth to this story; with discrimination against the transgender community, even from other members of the LGBTQ+ people, and fear for their safety, it’s heartbreaking to read.

For as long as I could remember, I had been apologizing for existing, for trying to be who I was, to live the life I was meant to lead.

The story picks up after Amanda has transitioned into her true self, which I found very interesting. It did have flashbacks to when she was still figuring out how to be herself and be true to her identity. Those chapters were touching and of great importance to the plot. It helped me understand trans people in a way that I didn’t think possible before.

Amanda is looking for a fresh start, she just wants to be a normal teenage girl and worry about grades, making friends and really just fit in. So when she starts going to this new school and it’s accepted by everyone so easily, I was afraid this would turn into a Mean Girls situation. With the pretty popular girls taking to her so fast and all.

Luckily, that didn’t happen. In fact, one of my favorite things about this book is the girls friendship. It is so important and pure, I loved that there wasn’t really any animosity between them. It’s also very important to highlight the fact that their reaction to finding out their friend is a trans girl wasn’t to break the friendship or anything like that, and to actually learn more about what does that entail so they could be better friends to Amanda.

Another side of things that I loved seeing, was how it affects the parents. It isn’t easy, and not all parents are so accepting of it, in fact, most of them aren’t. Which is a sad reality, and I liked how it showed their struggle to help their child and how they tried to understand the best they could. It was a great development, especially with Amanda’s father.

Anything, anyone, is better than a dead son.

I believe the romance wasn’t really the focus of the story, and I’m so grateful for that. It did have its moments, of course. Grant was a good character, and he was important to Amanda’s development but it wasn’t something I was too interested in. And even though I can understand his reaction to finding out his girlfriend is transgender, it still disappointed me.

The development throughout this book was what really made me love this story. It gives you an insight on what’s coming to terms with yourself about your identity as transgender is really like. And the ending was so important, it showed how far Amanda has come, and that it doesn’t matter what Grant decides, she’s okay with who she is and she’s not hiding it anymore.

I wasn’t sorry I existed any more. I deserved to live. I deserved to find love. I knew now – I believed, now – that I deserved to be loved.

This book isn’t perfect, but I feel like that’s irrelevant at this point, because it tells a story I think everyone should read. In a way, it changed the way I view certain things and I’m so glad I decided to pick this up.

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