Book Review: If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo


Reviewed by: Savannah
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Format: Hard Cover
Page count: 288 pages
Rating: 5/5 stars
In stock: Yes

Let’s start off, as usual, with a little synopsis from GoodReads:

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?”

I’m just going to start off by saying I could not put this book down. I managed to read it all in one day, which has not happened to me with a book for a while. While this book was about a transgender teenager, it was not really any different than most YA novels. Now don’t get me wrong, it was still a really great read – it just wasn’t groundbreaking to me. There was the typical girl meets boy, they fall in love, and then something happens and the relationship gets questioned. You know, the super typical YA scenario. I am a huge fan of YA though, so I was not put off by it being typical. I hope it won’t put you off either, because it was so good. But maybe that’s the point – that the story can be so typical and shouldn’t be regarded as different. However, I found that with the flashbacks featured in the story it gave it a new and exciting twist. The flashbacks are probably the most heartbreaking part of story as it follows Andrew’s transition and provided a small pause from the main plot, but also worked well into explaining Amanda as a character. This book is not only about love, which I find important to note, but it also features the importance of friendship. There are even some family aspects included.

As the author notes in the back of the book, I think it is important to keep in mind that this book is not the be all and end all of the transgender experience. It is fictionalized and fairly apparent in many places that some aspects are being made up for the story to flow smoothly. So I would not read this if you are trying to learn about the transgendered experience. However, I imagine it could be a very useful read to start conversations on the topic. Amanda is so strong emotionally and this is apparent all throughout the story, making her a great character to read about. It’s obvious she has experienced many things and they have only made her stronger.

While the description provided is very clearly trying to show this story in the light of being a love story, my favorite part was the story line about Amanda’s friendships. There were some aspects that were totally relatable to high school friendships, and yet the group of girls that Amanda is friends with end up being my favorite part. They all have fun together, but obviously have each others backs if anything bad happens. I’m all for a story about friendship, especially a good friendship with no drama.


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