“You can have anything once you admit you deserve it.”
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.
Received this book from Usborne Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
A book about a trans girl, written by a trans woman? I knew I had to read it as soon as I came across it. Books about marginalized people are so rare (though I admit the scene is ever so slowly starting to change now) that it'd come as no surprise to you when I say this was my fist ever book about a trans protagonist, and to be honest? I'm glad this was. This truly wonderful and enlightening book not only gives us a story about a trans girl, it also goes on to normalize her experiences, and honestly, that's all I could have ever asked for in such a book.
“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.”
Amanda is a transgender girl who moves in to live with her father after her transition and start over at a new school. She goes to school, she makes new friends, she falls in love. Life is finally turning for the better...or is it, really? Wherever she goes, Amanda feels her secret weighing her down, and she has to constantly live in the fear of people somehow finding it out.
I must admit there's nothing new when it comes to the storyline itself- it's what you'd see in any contemporary novel that deals with love, friendship, self-acceptance and topics concerning marginalized people. However, what truly sets this book apart is how the author has managed to weave a story of this type of story around a trans girl. Meredith Russo has come up with a brilliant Own Voice story that normalizes trans experiences, and that should be reason enough for you to pick this book up.
“I’m not brave,” I said, smiling despite myself. “Bravery implies I had a choice. I’m just me, you know?”
I loved the characters. Amanda was a very strong, brave person, and I felt truly proud and happy seeing her character growth. She found herself some really amazing friends, who accepted her for who she was despite this being a town filled with people owning cars that flaunted bumper stickers about being a "proud homophobic". Grant, her boyfriend, was amazing, and so were her parents. I loved seeing her relationship with both her mom and dad- the former, who accepted her right from the word go, and the latter who took some time coming around. In fact, all the relationships were very well portrayed- kudos to the author again.
Despite things being undeniably tough for Amanda, however, the author does also choose to keep things relatively "easy" for her, as she herself mentions in the Author's Note at the end of the book. In the author's own words, she has, in some ways, "cleaved to stereotypes, and even bent rules to make Amanda's trans-ness as unchallenging as possible". Amanda knew how she felt about herself from a very young age. Her parents were willing to understand her and were accepting of her. They were able afford her surgery and she was able to start hormones much earlier than she could have in the real world. She was exclusively attracted to boys, she was fully feminine and she could pass as a girl effortlessly. However all this is what makes the author succeed in explaining to us that this is just another story of a teenage
girl- albeit with a different medical history than most others.
"I’ve seen trans people in movies and TV shows, but judging by how unrealistic and shitty bi characters tend to be, I’m gonna assume I know nothing."
If I Was Your Girl is a very important book. It is eye-opening. It's the need of the hour. It is truly wonderful and enlightening, and I'm glad I read it.
The story idea: 4/5
The realization of the story: 5/5
The characters: 4/5
The cover: 5/5 -Love the colors so much!
Enjoy factor: 5/5