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If I Was Your Girl

Review

If I Was Your Girl

After an incident of bullying in her past school, Amanda Hardy is forced to move back in with her dad to start school again somewhere else. Amanda’s determined to keep the fact that she is a transgender girl secret because it was what lead to the bullying in her past school. However, when she starts dating a boy named Grant at her new school, she starts questioning whether or not Grant should know that she’s transgender. Amanda is forced to ask herself the question of what’s the right thing to do: tell Grant or keep the secret. IF I WAS YOUR GIRL by Meredith Russo has scenes/mentions of sexual assault and suicide, along with transphobia/homophobia, so know that going into it.

"I strongly suggest that those who have never read a book following a trans main character to read IF I WAS YOUR GIRL; it is a perfect introduction to the problems trans people face at the moment."

Sadly, this book fell a little flat for me. I do, however, see why it has so much love: this book has authentic own voices representation for trans people. It shows the tragedies trans people often have to face, but at the same time is able to have a positive outlook by the end. Balancing heavy issues along with positive outlooks can be hard to achieve, and this book does that perfectly. IF I WAS YOUR GIRL has the ability to make readers giddy with happiness in one moment, and close to tears in the next.

Every few chapters or so in the novel, we see flashbacks of the main character before she transitioned and before she switches school. This gives readers a better idea of what Amanda’s experience as a trans woman is, which I thought was really important to show. Often we don’t see what it is like for people who only start going through the transitioning process, so I enjoyed to see that happen in this book. There was also a discussion on family, and how often they play a role in someone’s life when they are transitioning, and that part was done well.

Now, I know that a lot of people didn’t enjoy this book because they thought it was unrealistic, but that isn’t why this book fell flat for me. My problems had to do with the writing and characters. The characters, for example, felt a bit one dimensional for me. They definitely needed more time to be fleshed out, especially the romance, because I found it to be a bit cringe-worthy at times.

Then there’s the writing. I didn’t hate it per say, but something about it didn’t click right with me. There were moments where it felt underdeveloped to me; it was a bit obvious that this was the author’s debut novel. However, if you are someone who doesn’t have issues with writing, then this isn’t as much of an issue.

Overall, I still enjoyed this novel, just not as much as I was hoping to. This is a book I would still recommend to people though since it is still an important read and not many people realize how real these issues are. They don’t realize how often these types of things happen. I strongly suggest that those who have never read a book following a trans main character to read IF I WAS YOUR GIRL; it is a perfect introduction to the problems trans people face at the moment.

Reviewed by Marco M., Teen Board Member on August 14, 2018

If I Was Your Girl
by Meredith Russo