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If I Was Your Girl (2016)

by Meredith Russo

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1,2136016,529 (3.97)7
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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This novel about a trans girl in her senior year of high school was beautifully told by a trans author. Amanda Hardy, nee Andrew Hardy, moved to Lambertville, Tennessee, where her estranged father lives, to get a fresh start after she is beaten up in a woman’s bathroom in Atlanta, where she was living with her mother. Amanda, who “passes as a woman with little to no effort,” quickly makes good friends. Amanda’s father never coped well with having a son like Andrew, who enjoyed wearing girl’s clothes and did not like to play sports, never feeling at home in the body she was born with. The tension between Amanda’s parents over her identity had caused her parents to split up. Things got so bad for Amanda in Atlanta, harassed by homophobic bullies, that she tried to commit suicide. Only after that did she get help in the form of a support group, who helped her transition via hormones and surgery when she turned eighteen.

In Lambertville, going to football games and parties with her new friends, she meets and falls in love a handsome boy, Grant Everett. It was a complication she did not expect; her plan was to have a quiet, anonymous senior year before going to New York for college, where she figured she would fit in better. Grant calls her “one of the prettiest girls [he’s] ever seen” and that no girl he kissed before every made him feel the way he did. Although Amanda tries to tell Grant about herself, he tells her that whatever is in her past, he does not need to know. However, she is outed in a public way at the homecoming dance by someone she trusted. The story is not really a romance and the ending is left ambiguous, but the romantic parts were sweet, and I feel Ms. Russo gave us a good glimpse of trans life. I don't think the writing was strong enough to earn four stars, but it was definitely a high three-star rating.
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  bschweiger | Feb 4, 2024 |
My usual "I'm not the right audience for this" YA disclaimer applies. I am almost always annoyed by teenagers in real life and in books. However, I thought the book was super interesting even if I think the behavior of the high school kids is a little hard to believe in the long run.

I think reading books from this POV is important for people so if you feel the same way you know you aren't alone and if you aren't the same it's good to get a glimpse of what that experience is like. It serves us all to try to learn more about people.

Last but not least I was INCREDIBLY annoyed with how often the author chose to use the word ain't. 99% of the dialogue is perfectly eloquent and then she throws on ain't. Totally took me out of things.
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  hmonkeyreads | Jan 25, 2024 |
I was hesitant to embark on what appeared to be an "issue" book. I am so glad I dove in, because it felt like a human book, and while the character has a unique perspective, the feelings and relationships all felt very real. I think my favorite think was the nature of the friendships, and the ways in which those relationships were more important, and even more life saving, than the romantic story that seemed to drive much of this novel. I am very much looking forward to this author's next books, whatever they may be. ( )
  mslibrarynerd | Jan 13, 2024 |
Read this now! And read the author's note at the end. This is a great book. ( )
  nogomu | Oct 19, 2023 |
CW spoilers, suicide, rape, outing, mental distress.

Huh. I don’t know what to think about this book. This book is quite raw, it covers a lot of difficult topics that our society doesn’t like talking about, in particular when they happen to trans folk. But there are a lot of gaps left, both story-wise, but also in how suicide, rape, and being outed as trans on more of a meta level are dealt with. It’s a good book in the sense of bringing up these difficult topics, and for cis folk it surely could be eye opening to the “trans experience”. I’m not sure I’d recommend this book to a younger me, I would have needed to talk about some of the heavier stuff in the book - heck, I think I need to talk to someone about this at my current age. ( )
  DoctorWho42 | Mar 29, 2023 |
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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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