If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publication Date: May 3rd 2016
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT, Romance
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.
The thing with If I Was Your Girl is that it’s not exactly entertaining, enthralling, extremely interesting or surprising.
Instead, it’s important, eye-opening, thought-provoking and emotional.
It all depends on what you want. If you want to read a book that you’ll breeze through while laughing and smiling and just having a great time, If I Was Your Girl is not the right pick.
This is the type of story you read because you want to learn more about the LGBT community, want to support them in an indirect way or try to understand their lives and themselves better.
Or maybe you want something inspiring to remember that there is still goodness in this corrupted world.
It’s a beautiful story about a transgender girl named Amanda who wants to survive high school. After recent heart-shattering events, she is sent to her father’s house to finish her senior year in high school and start anew.
She makes many friends, even lands herself a boyfriend. Life is good to her. She has never been happier. But of course, all good things come to an end, and she is again faced with terrible obstacles.
I was half bored as I was reading this book. It helped that the chapters and the story itself were short and that there were no unnecessary scenes or long descriptions – it was very ‘‘straight to the point.’’
I didn’t have a problem finishing the story thanks to all of that, but I wasn’t that impressed by it. You see, transgender or not, Amanda goes through situations with her parents and peers similar to almost any member of the LGBT community. And since I have read more than a hundred LGBT/MM romance/FF romance books in my life, it was nothing new from my perspective.
But I still loved the main character, and even though the romance is not exactly surprising or swoon-worthy, it’s still very sweet.
I have seen countless reviewers complain about the sugar-coating and lack of authenticity, and I’m left perplexed by that. What happens to Amanda is harsh. She did get it good at first – the friends, the boyfriend, the attention – but I didn’t feel as if it wasn’t realistic. You may wonder, ‘‘What does she know? She’s not transgender!’’ To which I reply, ‘‘Indeed, my friends, I am not, but a world where it is impossible for people like Amanda to have such loving parents, make true friends who will stick with her no matter what and get such a beautiful happily ever after is not a world I want to live in.’’
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