Tuesday, April 26, 2016

ARC Review: If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

If I Was Your Girl A big-hearted novel about being seen for who you really are.

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. 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 in. 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 she used to be Andrew.

Will the truth cost Amanda her new life--and her new love?

If I Was Your Girl is a universal story about feeling different--and a love story that everyone will root for.

Review: 5 Stars

At the time of starting to write this review, it is October 2015 and I just finished this book a day ago.  I was lucky enough to receive this as a bound manuscript, and I read it pretty much as soon as I got it, and I couldn't put it down.  I loved this book.  It had a storyline about a character that is currently pretty rare in YA books, which needs to change.

The narrator of this book is a trans girl, and the author is also trans, so this is a book that fits the #OwnVoices that was started on Twitter in 2015.  I have read very few books with trans girl narrators, or really with any trans person as a narrator.  I think this is definitely underrepresented in YA, and there are people out there who need these stories.  As someone who is cis, I do not understand what a trans person experiences, but books like this are helpful to me to have more insight into this so that I can understand better.  Also, this book avoids the problematic "acceptance narrative" of a trans person, which is in a post here: http://www.gayya.org/?p=3108. Instead of having this issue, this book has a trans character telling her own story.

Anyway, the narrator of this book is Amanda, and I loved her character.  She was a really good person, and a great friend.  She definitely had struggles, especially with figuring out whether or not she wanted to tell people that she was trans.  She didn't really want people to see her as anything other than the girl that she really is, but she also didn't want to feel like she was being dishonest with people that she really cared about. 

I also really loved the friend group that she met when she moved to the new town.  She found a great group of female friends, who loved her, though they didn't know her secret right away, of course.  Not all of her friends are perfect.  They are flawed but they are good people to her, and they are the kind of friends that she needs.  I love the message of acceptance that was prevalent in this book.  I also loved that there was some other diversity among her friend group.  

I also loved getting to see her developing relationship with Grant.  Watching him fall for her showed that a straight boy can fall for a trans girl.  Of course, he didn't know that she was trans when he first started falling for her.  I don't really want to give away how everything with their relationship happens, but I can say that the book ends on a hopeful note for them, after he knows that she is trans, but still loves her.  It shows that this doesn't make any difference in love.

Her relationship with her dad, who was the parent that she lived with during this book, was a complicated one.  He hadn't been particularly accepting of her back he thought she was probably a gay boy, and he always had tried to get her to do masculine things with him to be more masculine.  He has trouble accepting the fact that the person that he thought was his son is actually his daughter.  But, though it takes him some time to really show it, he definitely loves Amanda. It is nice to see his progression throughout the book. 

I recommend this book for:
-trans people
-people who want to learn more about what life is like for trans people
-people who want a good story


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