If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

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Title: If I Was Your Girl
Author: Meredith Russo
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Release Date: May 3, 2016
Genre(s): LGBT Teen and Young Adult Fiction
Page Count: 288 pages
Reviewed by: Natalie
Heat Level: 1.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

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?

If I Was Your Girl is the debut novel by Meredith Russo. One of my reading goals this year was to up my YA reading content. I’m doing fairly well!

After years of bullying and a failed suicide attempt, Amanda Hardy, a high school student relocates to live with her dad. This is a big step considering Amanda hasn’t seen her father in some years.

The way the story is written we get insight into present day Amanda and her strained relationship with her father. We also get a glimpse into her day to day life and adjusting to making friends in a new town where no one knew her before her transition (as Andrew). The author also provides flashbacks throughout pivotal points in Amanda’s life. When she first realized, she wasn’t a boy but a girl. When she wanted to share the news with her parents, when she had her first crush, when she first sees her doctor about starting hormone treatments, and her therapy sessions. It’s all very endearing and heartbreaking at the same time especially since her father seemed to give her pushback every step of the way. Her mother, on the other hand, was supportive despite “mourning the loss” of her son.

Amanda catches the attention of a semi-popular boy at school, Grant, and the reader follows their courtship. It’s adorable. The Star Wars references alone made me giggle. The story is well-written, but it’s also a fictional account of one transgender girl’s experience.

Of course, my nitpickiness reared its ugly head. There are unanswered questions. How were Amanda’s parents able to afford “bottom” surgery? How was she able to have it so early? Most insurance companies require the patient to be 18 or older not 16. How were her parents able to afford her therapy sessions and her medications etc.? If I Was Your Girl had moments that required the reader to suspend disbelief which honestly, made me hate the story for a bit, but then I read the author’s note, and she was very aware of Amanda’s portrayal. I loosened up a bit (a tiny bit).

I guess what irritated me most was Amanda having everything come together for her in regards to her transition. In short, Amanda was an incredibly privileged individual hence my annoyance. In case you missed it, I have issues with suspension of disbelief, LOL.

Despite my nitpickiness If I Was Your Girl is a read I’d suggest if you’re looking to brighten your reading horizons with trans characters featured in YA fiction written by a trans author (which is super awesome).

4.5 stars!

Oh, and it’s currently on sale in eBook format for $2.99 which is a steal. Grab it while you can!

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A copy of If I Was Your Girl was purchased by the reviewer.

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