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

by Meredith Russo

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Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
3.5. Very important issues discussed. The dialogue sometimes felt a little bland though. ( )
  jawink22 | Feb 6, 2019 |
This review can also be found on my blog.

cw: homophobia, transphobia, violent hate crimes, suicide

I'm not planning to write a proper review because it took me forever to read this (because I started it on audiobook, had my hold expire, and then took a while to get the eBook). The audiobook is excellent, so well-narrated. The story itself is great and I loved it. My only nitpick was that the Homecoming scene felt overly convenient and not necessarily super realistic but that's really quite minor. Overall I'd definitely recommend this! ( )
  samesfoley | Jan 19, 2019 |
I have mentioned before that I am not a YA reader as a general rule. I try when I read YA to rate it through the lens of a person with the emotional development of a high school student, and through that lens I give this book high marks. To my eye (as a cisgender straight middle-aged woman) Meredith Russo did a great job of making Amanda relatable to cisgender, trans and non-binary readers alike. The story is wildly oversimplified and Amanda's experience is so much smoother than it typical, if there even is a typical experience (which Russo herself says in her author's note), but that helps to avoid clouding the main points. Also, why does it have to be realistic? Its not like cis-girls really live the plot of The Princess Diaries. Why can't gender creative people have fun too?

There are issues. The supporting characters were too thinly drawn, all there to make a point rather than to be real people, but it didn't make me crazy. A bigger issue for me, and I think just because I have made my home in Atlanta for most of the last 18 years, they make a big deal about Amanda being from Smyrna as if it is some white, hetero, country exurb. Smyrna is 1st ring suburb. its about 35% African American, about 20% non-native English speakers, and though it does not to my knowledge have a huge LGBT+ population it is 15 minutes from several neighborhoods with very large LGBT populations and not effectively terribly different from being in the city in which approximately 10% of the residents identify as LGBT+. I have lived in NYC, Philly, DC, and Fargo ND and I honestly don't think its a whole lot easier to be trans there than in Atlanta. I am a bit sensitive to the tendency to paint everywhere in the south as intolerant/unwelcoming. Like I said, that probably would not bother most readers.

I listened to this in two long stretches while packing up for a second move in the last 3 months. It is a mini-move since most things were kept in boxes (I was pretty sure there was going to be a second stage to this move) and because I am moving to New York where my entire apartment will be about the size of my Atlanta bedroom. I mention this because normally I would never spend a 4 hour stretch listening to an audiobook, and I think in this case that immersive experience really made a positive difference. For that reason I think for those like me who listen to audiobooks in bits and pieces during our commute or while we make dinner this might make a better text read or best saved for a long car ride. I didn't dislike the reader, she was fine, but her southern accent was way way too heavy for someone who grew up in Atlanta. Again, that is an issue others might not have.

In the end, this is recommended. It does its job well, its a lovely story, and it provides an opportunity for a lot of people who have been tragically unrepresented or presented as caricatures to see themselves in popular entertainment, and that is a wonderful thing. ( )
1 vote Narshkite | Jan 10, 2019 |
Ya lit well done. The author used her own experience to craft a fictional character that would appeal to cisgender and transgender readers for very different reasons. The plot line was intricate enough to keep my "adult" attention. It's more than a first person narrative. There is a bit of a fairy tales aspect to the story and the author is not hiding it. Still a well written, important novel to open minds and help readers along. ( )
  writerlibrarian | Dec 29, 2018 |
There are so many great books for teenagers about trans men and women, but If I Was Your Girl is not one of them. The protagonist, Amanda, is incredibly flat, and the plot itself is completely unrealistic. The first few chapters of the books reminded me of Twilight... you know, where the new girl in the small town effortlessly makes a ton of great friends and everyone in her new school is obsessed with her from day one for some unknown reason. Amanda's story could have been any girl-with-a-big-secret story, as her experience coming out as trans was much too easy and I cannot imagine that trans readers will identify with her. The author does address the "simplified" story line in the afterward, but watering down what is obviously a very important subject serves no purpose. Russo states that she wants her readers to have no barrier in understanding Amanda as an average teenage girl. Give your readers some credit, Russo. There are other ways to achieve this goal without whittling the story down to just another YA romance novel. Overall, this book was unsatisfying and far from realistic. ( )
  bookishblond | Oct 24, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
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The bus smelled of mildew, machine oil, and sweat.
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Amanda Hardy only wants to fit in at her new school, but she is keeping a big secret, so when she falls for Grant, guarded Amanda finds herself yearning to share with him everything about herself, including her previous life as Andrew.

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