❋ ❋ ❋
Amanda is a new student in school at Lambertville, Tennessee and all she really wants to do is make friends and fit in. However, she's determined to keep her held down after the events that caused her to transfer out of her old school in Atlanta, Georgia. Then, she meets and begins to fall in love with Grant, a boy who is honest and kind, and she can't help but want to open up to him. She even wants to tell him about her past, but she's terrified what could happen once she does because Amanda is trans and she used to be Andrew.
If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo is thought-provoking, honest, and incredibly emotional novel and a very important story of a transwoman - who after a undergoing horrifying attacks is able to build her life back up in a new town at a new school with plenty of new obstacles. It's a long road to any kind of happy ending. Basically, this book needs to exist. It's a great stepping stone to learn more about the LGBTQIA community, offer support, educate yourself, and more. Overall, it's a great coming-of-age story as Amanda really begins to come into herself and open up to people.
All that said, as much as I enjoyed the novel, it's very streamlined and straight to the point when it comes to dealing with what comes after - some things just seemed too easy, if that makes any sense. I was surprised to realize that nothing particularly surprised me. Maybe that's because it feels very much like a standard YA contemporary romance to me, except that the main character happens to be trans - so much more could have been explored between our cast of characters that I felt like I was missing out on something while reading. By the way, it's very important to check out the author's note at the very end, which goes into the rationale behind some of the decisions when it came to creating Amanda's story, offering many things to keep in mind - which are spoken in the author's own words if you listen to the audiobook. Also if you didn't already know, the author is trans, as is the cover model.
Like I said, this is an important novel that fills some important gaps in young adult literature. Russo's debut novel is definitely worth your time, especially if you're interested in expanding your LGBTQIA reading list. I'm looking forward to what the author does next.
I read this from August 5 - 7, 2016 and my review is also on Goodreads.