Review: If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars
Amanda Hardy is the new girl in school. Like anyone else, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is keeping a secret, and she’s determined not to get too close to anyone.
But when she meets sweet, easygoing Grant, Amanda can’t help but start to let him into her life. As they spend more time together, she realizes just how much she is losing by guarding her heart. She finds herself yearning to share with Grant everything about herself, including her past. But Amanda’s terrified that once she tells him the truth, he won't be able to see past it.
Because the secret that Amanda’s been keeping? It's that at her old school, she used to be Andrew. Will the truth cost Amanda her new life, and her new love?
Just a warning I had an advanced copy of this book that I totally forgot about, I don't know what, if anything, was changed in the final copy of the book, but my review will be based on the advanced readers copy. I was such a fan of this book. I was hooked from the authors notes on. I love how Meredith Russo wrote a message not only to her trans readers but to her non trans readers (me) as well. I could relate to Amanda in ways that I didn't expect. As a girl who just wanted to fit in and be accepted. It was beautiful and while I understand that Meredith Russo did take certain liberties with plot and characterization, I give her two thumbs up.

  • I loved Amanda. Despite the fact that she was terrified, she took delicate steps toward the life she'd always wanted. She also wasn't perfect, and didn't pretend to be. I consider her a fully fleshed out, believable characters. Despite the fact that she was gorgeous and sometimes I get tired of reading about pretty people. (JK... mostly)
  • Amanda's dad. He wasn't in the book a ton, but he was there just enough to make an impact. Although he did his best to accept Amanda, he was practically falling over in fear. It was almost enough to make you feel bad for him. I don't know anything about being trans or being the parents of a trans child, but I wouldn't be surprised if this was how a lot of parents reacted. Fighting to understand and accept, while terrified of what may happen.
  • The ending. Without spoilers, I want to say that I though the end of the book (in regards to Amanda's friends and Grant) was perfect. It wasn't a neat and tidy bow (like something you may see on the Lifetime Channel), but it was very realistic and satisfying.

Didn't Like:
  • I didn't actually dislike anything. I think my struggle was in wanting to know more as a non trans person. Why didn't Amanda want to say what her birth name was, why didn't she want to talk about her genitalia (ugh, the sounds so dumb. No one wants to talk about their genitalia and you shouldn't be forced to). I can assume it was because she was trying to set Andrew behind her and couldn't do that if she kept talking about being a boy, but what do I know. I'm just guessing. I would have liked to know a little more about her surgery, but again, the bulk of the story was about Amanda finding Amanda, not Andrew turning into Amanda. 
  • At the end of the day, I, as a black woman with natural hair, can understand how exhausting it is to explain yourself all the time. "No I have never gotten a sun burn" "No this isn't all my real hair I got extensions" "Why you ask, because I can." "Yeah, fine, you can touch my hair" "How do I get it like that you ask..." Yes we need to educate people on these things, but it's freaking exhausting sometimes, and sometimes you just don't feel like it. While I would have liked to learn more about a person being trans through Amanda, I can also understand why we didn't. Besides, I'm a librarian, I can just look it up.   :)

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