“I’m not brave,” I said, smiling despite myself. “Bravery implies I had a choice. I’m just me, you know?” – Meredith Russo, If I Was Your Girl
Title: If I Was Your Girl
Author: Meredith Russo
Publication date: 31st June 2016
Goodreads rating: 4.00
Genre: LGBT, YA, Contemporary, Romance
I personally purchased a copy of this book. All views are my own and are not influenced in any way.
This review is spoiler free. I talk about aspects of the book, but nothing that gives the plot away as a whole.
*Trigger Warnings – Violence, transphobia, transmisogyny, suicide attempt, physical abuse, rape (talked about), sexual assault*
Amanda Hardy is the new girl at school.
Like everyone else, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is holding back. Even from Grant, the guy she’s falling in love with.
Amanda has a secret.
At her old school, she used to be called Andrew. And secrets always have a way of getting out.
A book about loving yourself and being loved for who you really are.
Overall opinion of the book:
I actually own two copies of this book, a physical and iBook copy. I completely forgot I bought it on the iTunes Store and then received a physical copy of it for Christmas last year. It was so handy being able to switch between a physical and ecopy whenever I needed, especially as I sometimes forget to put the physical copy in my handbag. I thoroughly enjoyed If I Was Your Girl. Although it includes heavy and sometimes upsetting content, the book was an insightful and important read. There were many parts that were heartwarming and lovely too.
If you’re not familiar with this book, it follows the life of a teenage girl called Amanda, who is transgender. The author, Meredith Russo is a trans woman herself, which I didn’t realise until after I finished reading the book and read the author notes. Given this, Meredith is able to provide a more accurate and detailed depiction of the realities of being a trans woman, especially regarding hormone tablets and what it means to be transgender. This book is such an important read and I would definitely recommend it to everyone. It allows readers to gain a better understanding of the difficulties transgender people have to go through.
Without giving too much of the plot away, the book not only discusses Amanda’s transition, but also people’s reactions to it. If I Was Your Girl brings to light the issues of transphobia and the violence associated to it. These parts were difficult to read as it’s horrific to think that people would ever act violently towards another person for being transgender. But this is a reality for many people and it happens all across the world. It’s a real issue that this book rightfully brings to light. I hope that people reading this book will understand the strength and courage transgender people have to transition in a world that isn’t always accepting of this. As the quote I chose above emphasises, trans people don’t have a choice in how they feel and should equally be given the right to live their life as the gender they identify with.
Meredith Russo explains at the end of the book that transitioning isn’t always as simple as it was portrayed in Amanda’s situation. Many people don’t have access to hormones until much later in life and trans people don’t need to have had “the surgery” to be seen as “valid”. What this book does however, is help cis-gender people to have more of an insight into gender being a spectrum, rather than something that is rigid and cannot change. There are also numerous telephone numbers and websites people can ring and visit if they are going through similar situations at the end of the book, which is very helpful.
The overall plot was interesting and I really liked Amanda’s character. She was so lovely and genuine. I enjoyed reading about her blossoming relationship and seeing her character grow throughout. She becomes a strong and independent female. I also liked her group of friends, there’s also bi rep in the book too! Also, there were plenty of geeky references to things like Star Wars.
Meredith’s spelling, punctuation and grammar was flawless, although correct me if I’m wrong, but shouldn’t the title be If I WERE Your Girl, or is that just me? She writes brilliantly and approaches the subject in an honest, open and real way.
I would certainly recommend this book, it was an important and heartwarming read. If you enjoy character development and coming of age stories, then this is definitely the book for you. Although If I Was Your Girl centres around trans issues, it focuses on so many aspects of teenage life too, including relationships, romance, friendships, sexuality and religion. It’s a book that has so much depth and I think Meredith Russo is a fantastic writer.
The book flows seamlessly and I loved her writing style. Amanda is such a likeable main character and I eagerly wanted her relationship to work out. The book drew me in from the start and I enjoyed following Amanda’s journey. It’s easy to see why If I Was Your Girl was previously selected for the YouTuber Zoella Zoe Sugg’s) Book Club with WHSmith as it’s a thought provoking and moving read.
If you would like to purchase this book, you can do so here:
Have you read this book? What were your thoughts on it? Let me know in the comments below. 😊
Book cover and synopses
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