Title: If I Was Your Girl
Author: Meredith Russo
Publisher: Usborne Publishing
UK Release Date: 1st June 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, LGBT+
Amanda Hardy is the new girl at school.
Like everyone else, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is holding back. Even from Grant, the guy she’s falling in love with.
Amanda has a secret.
At her old school, she used to be called Andrew. And secrets always have a way of getting out.
A book about loving yourself and being loved for who you really are.
Note: I have written this review using the tips laid out in this blog post by Vee at I Found Myself Reading, because, as a cis person, I wanted to make sure I didn’t accidentally write something transphobic. As per their advice, I have linked to another review at the bottom of this post which was written collaboratively by a cis person and a trans person. However, if you read something you think is not right, please let me know – in the comments, via Twitter, by email – and I will be more than happy to change it right away to something more suitable.
If I Was Your Girl is a book that I think pretty much everyone has heard of at this point – whether that’s because you’ve read the book, written or read a review, seen something about it due to recent publicity, as it was chosen for the second round of the Zoella Book Club – and honestly I think all the attention is well-deserved.
“Everybody’s got a past,” he said. “That don’t mean you can’t have a future.”
This book was just full throughout of phrases which I think are so important, and are the kind of words which should be printed on posters and pinned up where everyone can see them. I read If I Was Your Girl on Kindle, and as I read, I highlighted away. In fact, I loved some of the quotes from the book so much that I’ve peppered in a few throughout this review to show you exactly how beautiful they are. Not only were there these amazing words through the book, but there were also some gorgeous descriptive phrases I also felt like I had to highlight. The book was just such an emotional one, and read with such feeling, that it really finds a way into your heart as you read.
“You can have anything,” she said, “once you admit you deserve it.”
I really liked the characters in If I Was Your Girl as well. I loved how Amanda’s friendship group had people with a wide range of personalities and interests, as it meant that Russo explored a variety of characters, and that interactions were kept fresh, because Amanda – and the reader – was always learning something new about her friends. Grant was possibly my favourite character (well, most of the time), as he was generally very sweet towards Amanda, and so affectionate and kind. I did occasionally find his actions slightly unrealistic, but I loved the romance all the same.
I deserved to live. I deserved to find love. I knew now – I believed, now – that I deserved to be loved.
The plot of the book centres around Amanda trying to find her way in a new town, navigating through friendships new and old, as well as some unanticipated boy troubles. I felt like I knew roughly how the story would end, but I was not expecting the spilling of secrets to come from the person it did, and this really surprised me while reading! There were also flashbacks throughout the book, with scenes from before and during Amanda, which I thought added a lot of depth to the plot, and helped the reader understand Amanda better as a character, although occasionally I could become confused with the timeline of the past three years of her life.
This Own Voices book is one that will leave you a little wiser. Whether you come away from it knowing more about what life can be like for trans people, or if you can take comfort from it (for example, if you are not cisgendered or are questioning your gender identity), it is one that I will definitely be recommending in future.
Note: trigger warnings for a suicide attempt and sexual harassment.
http://www.onwednesdays.net/if-i-was-your-girl/ –> the review mentioned above