Book Review

REVIEW If I Was Your Girl

August 14, 2019

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? 

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

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
If I Was Your Girl front cover

My Thoughts:

When I mentioned a while ago that I wanted a sweet Trans girl/Male romance on Twitter, I got a few people recommending this book. As it is own voices I was hopeful and decided to read it especially after Sarah and my Queer Book Chat over on the Aussie YA Bloggers blog.

This will probably be one of the hardest reviews I have ever written because, on one hand, this is a great book and very important. On the other hand, I as a trans girl have a few issues with it. I think my biggest issue is that I felt too many concessions had been made to make sure cis audiences liked Amanda.

Overall Amanda’s transition is so extremely unlikely and speedy it might as well be fantasy. I also thought the book fed into roo many negative Trans Tropes for my personal taste. I did like seeing her supported and making friends and the bond of friendship that sticks through the whole story, but this was definitely the sweet story I was hoping for.

First off I really hated that Amanda kept her transness as a secret especially as she nearly becomes sexual with someone. I just as a transgirl thought this fed negative “trans people are lying about who they are” tropes. This was the big issue I had overall and the one that I think I would have disliked even if I were a cis reader.

As a trans girl though I found a lot of other choices that were made to accommodate cis readers, in the end, alienated me from Amanda more than me being able to see myself in her place. She was feminine, and passed, and had a speedy transition that included full surgery all within a year. She fit standard clothes and had small feet, her nerdy thing was that she played video games, in short, she was plastic and perfect.

The final straw for me was after a forced outing Grant utter my most loathed phrase men say about trans girls “Does this make me gay?” Can we please let this phrase die it the dumpster fire it’s trying to crawl out from?

My final thoughts are this book tells a great and interesting story, and one I think many cisgendered readers would enjoy, as it seems to be written for them in mind, but I just wish it could have been less tragic and more targeted towards trans readers.

I give If I Was Your Girl 3 out of 5 stars.

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo was published 3rd May 2016 by Flatiron Books. You can purchase your own copy at Amazon, Book Depository, Mighty Ape, Whitcoulls, Booktopia or wherever you like to purchase books.

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