I loved his book! I loved how it spoke about the experience of a young transgendered woman from her perspective. I loved that it was written by a member of the transgender community and loosely based on her own experience and that it didn't end as I thought it would. It caused me to examine some of my own assumptions or biases during the course of my reading it too, which was so valuable. Excellent YA read!
This charming young adult novel tells the story of Andrew's transition into Amanda and Amanda's journey to self-acceptance while navigating the perilous waters of a small town high school. Parts of the book are based on the the author's real-life experiences as a trans woman. The transgender issues and experiences make this novel worth reading; however, the story itself closely follows the typical girl-meets-boy romance formula.
This is an important book. I enjoyed learning about the transgender community through the eyes of Amanda. Her story is good and honest and raw and I enjoyed the layers and multiple perspectives. I found myself wanting more from this book: more substance, more story (longer -- it's a short ass book), richer language, more detail, and more conflict. It didn't feel like enough for me and I struggled with how it was written, which seemed basic. Overall, it was a good book and I think it is vital and is a great addition to LGBTQA+ literature; I feel as if it could have been more than it was.
This is definitely now one of my favorite books. I read it so fast, it really drew me in and I couldn't put it down. Really worth reading.
There are any number of reasons why someone would pick up this book...for me it was a desire to learn and understand about the issues a transgender individual faces. I rated this book 3 out of 5 stars, because it didn't fully meet my expectations. I almost wish that the comments by the author, Meredith Russo, had preceeded the novel instead of being at the end of it. Amanda Hardy is a post-surgical transgender teen who moves in with her dad after it becomes clear that she isn't safe in her current town. It reads a lot like a Hallmark After-School Special, and although we have glimpses of reality in flashbacks, most elements of this story seem quite unrealistic. Taking it at face value, it is a work of fiction and hopefully teens who are dealing with trans issues or curious about trans issues will read the author's comments and understand that she took considerable liberties with Amanda Hardy's path toward her true self. I am thankful for this story, and especially for resouces listed in the back of the book for teens (and adults) who wish to seek support.
First I'd like to say that this is a sweet and simplistic contemporary YA story about self acceptance, growing up, family and friendship. What makes this book stand out is that the main character is a transgender girl, the author is a transgender woman and on the cover is a transgender model. This is awesome. Sometimes idealistic and stereotypical (which the author herself admits and explains in her moving afterword) this book still encompasses an important message for all people whether trans, mormon, gay, tall, pierced or nerdy, or whatever, that life throws challenges your way (especially in high school) and it's survivable and accepting oneself is the first step. Recommended to all.
Unique because most books about transgender teens cover the coming out/transition. This book starts after Amanda has transitioned. She is at a new school in a new state and no one knows her history except her father. The author is a transgender woman and does a great job of expressing Amanda's feelings. If you read, read the epilogue.
If I Was Your Girl has the potential to be a must read novel that looks at trans-issues written by a trans woman. There's a lot in this novel that gives so much insight into trans issues, and I felt it to be a very eye-opening reading experience, even though I've read plenty of YA novels that focus on being trans. This one, however, I think provides an authenticity that really does make it stand a part.
My favourite aspects of this novel were the flashbacks during Amanda's time as Andrew, and her growing into her transition. These were the parts of the novel that I felt to ring the most true in terms of understanding what it means to transition and the desire for people to accept transition as well. This felt so heartbreaking and truthful, and watching Amanda deal with her family at the beginning of the journey just hurt so much. When it moves into current time and we see more of how the parents accept Amanda, it brings a lot to the story, providing the before and after than I think many trans novels sometimes lack.
There was one glaring issue with this book though: I didn't entirely buy how accepting everyone was of Amanda. It just didn't feel realistic at all, and if anything part of me struggled with how easy a lot of her friendships felt. Everyone barely knows her and yet they confide all their deepest secrets to her. It just seemed very strange at times and it actually took me out of the story on several occasions. However, I will say that it does do a great job of showing positive friendships, which still seems so unheard of in YA.
I will say, however, that everything with Grant felt quite realistic. I wasn't really into the smoopiness of the romance at first, but it did work and grow on me and I understood why the author portrayed the relationship as she did. There's a very nice sense of building in the relationship and the issues that Amanda and Grant face do feel like realistic and challenging. I loved the way in which Grant handles Amanda being trans and how scared he was at first but grows into a mature way of understanding. It's really something special how a lot of their relationship is portrayed and it did win me over in the end.
If I Was Your Girl is so smart in its depiction, and brave in its execution. I loved Amanda and reading her journey was such an inspiring and engaging experience. There's definitely nothing out there quite like this book, and if you are interested in trans issues, particularly in YA, then this is a must-read for sure.
Outside of the transgender character, this is a pretty standard teen romance. And actually that is the thing that stands out most about it. Transgender people can want the same things as a cisgender kid – caring friends, a cute boyfriend who asks you to homecoming via elaborate Star Wars reenactment, winning homecoming queen – so I’m glad that this book exists to present a scenario where all that happens to a trans girl.
It doesn’t try too hard to do anything impressive, but the typical problem/secret that always comes between the romantic protagonists is, in this case, credibly something that will be a big deal when it comes up. Even though Amanda’s situation could be a lot worse (she easily passes as a girl and is in fact considered very good looking by both genders; she makes high quality friends immediately and easily; her parents come around to acceptance before too long, etc), at this point in history the fact of being transgender seems like enough of a conflict on which to base a novel without piling on excessive miseries. Yet, it doesn’t avoid the violence, depression, and suicide that are, sadly, probably inevitable for any trans person.
The characters felt like reasonably authentic modern kids, and the main character was likable, not overly precious or dramatic. There are no over-the-top maniac villains. It is set in a small town in Georgia, which gives it some nice specificity without exaggerating the “Southern-ness.” I read this easily in one day. This could be a very precious book to a trans person, or an enlightening one for a cis person.
I felt so bad for Amanda and the way she was treated her whole life. It started with her parents, teachers and classmates. All because she didn't fit society's ideal of what a boy should dress like, act like and be like. Andrew was always Amanda on the inside. Not only did she have that to deal with but she also felt responsible for her parent's divorce. I know this was fictional story but it was based on the author's own personal experience and I'm glad she got to write these down to let people that don't know much about the subject understand it a little more.
Amanda is starting her life over in a new town, but she's still struggling against the experiences of the past. At her old school, Amanda was Andrew. She knew from the time that she was small that she was really a girl, so she transitioned with the full support of her mom just before her senior year, and then moved in with her dad to finish high school in a town where no one knew her. She didn't plan to fall in love, but she couldn't help it.
Now she has a difficult choice--should she reveal all to the one she loves? Is it ever possible to leave the past behind?
This is an important book. Even better, it's a well written, immersive story. Amanda has advantages that many teens in her situation wouldn't have, so the story may be a bit idealized. Still, it tells a story that needs to be told--and tells it brilliantly.
Interesting story. While the protagonist has all the problems of being transgender, she also is blessed with perks that many others in her real position might lack: resources for expensive hormone therapy, gender-changing surgery, and counseling. And add to it that she's beautiful and selected homecoming queen. While YA novels about this subject are important, this one doesn't seem the "typical" case today. I might be wrong. It was, however, still an interesting and informative read.
If I Was Your Girl cuts back and forth between past and present. As Amanda settles into her new life in Lambertville, Russo slowly reveals the full extent of the circumstances that drove her there. The flashbacks are largely difficult and painful, while her present involves normal moments with friends, and sweet, romantic scenes with Grant. I was especially struck by the attention to consent, and how Russo seamlessly worked it into each romantic interlude. Full review available at: https://shayshortt.com/2016/06/14/if-i-was-your-girl/
Amanda's story is one that is not perfect, but it still needs to be told. To everyone. This book isn't just for trans readers or trans allies. This marvelously written story of The Now and The Then grasps the life of a teenage girl who finally gets to feel the way she's always wanted. It is written in such a way that all you want to be doing with your life is read it, and when it's done, wish you could read it for the first time again.
Even without the romance, which involved two of the most adorable dorks on the planet, there would be the friendships and family relationships. Those are so well done, you wouldn't feel cheated if they were all that was there. And that's an amazing thing to see.
Did this book have problems? It did. Do I care? Nopity noptiy no. It's trope-based, sure, but it's more about what an author does with the tropes than whether they exist in the first place. Sometimes I just want to read that story.
I just hope Meredith Russo keeps writing.