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If I Was Your Girl Hardcover – May 3, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—After a violent incident in her Atlanta suburb, Amanda moves to small-town Tennessee to make a new start with her estranged father. Finally living openly as her true self three years after she, then known as Andrew, attempted suicide, Amanda needs the safety and relative freedom of a fresh beginning. A new set of risks and opportunities open up to her as she makes friends with a group of girls harboring their own secrets, navigates a tense relationship with a father who is terrified of what the world will do to his child, and begins the first romance of her life. This is everything a coming-of-age novel should be—honest, complicated, and meaningful. Amanda navigates the teenage world with a cautious bravery that will grip readers by the heart. Russo, herself a transwoman from Tennessee, handles every issue in the story—from pot and promposals to hormones and support groups—with a deft hand, both gentle and honest. The result is a narrative that transcends the typical "issue" novel to be a beautiful tale in its own right. VERDICT A highly recommended purchase for any collection serving teens.—Amy Diegelman, Vineyard Haven Public Library, MA
Stonewall Book Award Winner
Walter Dean Myers Honor Book for Outstanding Children's Literature
iBooks YA Novel of the Year
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
A Zoella Book Club Selection
An Amazon Best Book of the Year
A Goodreads Choice Award Finalist
A Barnes & Noble Best YA Book of the Year
A Bustle Best YA Book of the Year
IndieNext Top 10 List
One of Flavorwire's 50 Books Every Modern Teenager Should Read
"This new novel for teens breaks new ground...powerful." ―O Magazine
"A beautifully rendered YA novel . . . the first written by a transgender woman about the transgender teen experience." ―San Francisco Chronicle
"A vivid, compassionate portrait of a teen finding her place." ―The Washington Post
"An illuminating debut guided by hope and overwhelming kindness.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review
“A necessary, universal story about feeling different and enduring prejudices…full of love, hope, and truth.” ―Kirkus, starred review
"This is everything a coming-of-age novel should be―honest, complicated, and meaningful. Transcends the typical 'issue' novel to be a beautiful tale in its own right." ―School Library Journal, SLJ Popular Pick
"Amanda's story is neither overly sentimental nor didactic. A thoughtful, truthful, and much needed coming-of-age tale." ―Horn Book Review
"Russo, a trans woman, writes with authority and empathy, giving readers not only an intellectual but also an emotional understanding of Amanda and her compelling story. Never didactic, this debut is a valuable contribution to the slender but growing body of literature of trans teens." ―ALA Booklist
“Beautiful, smart, and so urgently needed, If I Was Your Girl should be required reading for every teen―scratch that, every person―in America. This book is exactly what YA is for: to break ground, to break hearts, to teach us empathy, to find the universal in the specific. I loved every word. You will too.” ―Julie Buxbaum, New York Times bestselling author of Tell Me Three Things
"Poignant and rare. If I Was Your Girl is the type of book you read and want to immediately share, because it's too important to keep to yourself." ―Julie Murphy, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dumplin'
"If I Was Your Girl is important and necessary and brave, and deeply, electrically inspiring. Read this wonderful book. Just read it." ―Jennifer Niven, New York Times bestselling author of All the Bright Places
“If I Was Your Girl will change minds and open hearts.” ―Nina Lacour, critically acclaimed author of Everything Leads to You
"If I Was Your Girl is real and raw and layered and wonderful." ―Alex Gino, Stonewall Award-winning author of George
"If there's any justice in the world, we're all witnessing a YA powerhouse in the making." ―Forever YA
"Pure magic." ―Book Riot
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Top customer reviews
I found Amanda, our protagonist, to be strong but a little naive and a somewhat whiny - but it worked for her age and to set up her hearts desires. It was easy to relate to the fear and anxiety Amanda goes through and how it is always there, as it would be with anyone hiding a big secret. The treatment of questions about her old name, body parts and surgeries, and how they should never be asked just made sense. It’s intimate and personal and is passive-aggressive, if not a form of bullying to ask if you do not have a close relationship. But it is always one of the first questions out of people's mouths when they discover someone is transgender. It actually taught me some deportment in handling this issue, and for that I am thankful. The last thing I want to do is come across as rude and mean in the face of someone who is going through a difficult journey.
In comparison to the other novels I’ve read tackling transgender issues, ‘If I Was Your Girl’ is the most realistic representation I've read of a trans character to date – with a focus more on the person and their relationships instead of Gender Identity and using it as a plot reveal.
Amanda’s love interest, Grant was a bit of a larrikin. Your typical boy, but with a worldly compassion shaped from his experiences. It was nice to read something that was positive, strong and kinda cute. It brought issues into a real world landscape and gave the characters a chance to react organically.
The violence described in this book that Amanda lived through felt a bit much. I understand it is a real issue for transgender teens, but for me personally, was confronting and didn’t add much to the story. Although, its educating readers to real world fears people like Amanda face – it makes a blunt, horrific point which I find disgusting and devastating.
I didn't like the flashbacks interspersed throughout the story so much. I much prefer the narrative style to discover the past through one poignant moment, or through conversation. Frequent time jumping always pulls me from the story.
I had issue with a few things - but after reading the Author's Note, feel they are less important now. Many things were written in a way about Amanda and her circumstances to make ‘If I Was Your Girl’ easy and relatable, losing some realism. But still, I would have liked some more realistic characters and reactions.
A great book about a girl’s emotional journey into adulthood.
Overall, this was a heart-warming contemporary. The storyline itself felt a little simple. But the character development was great. Pleasant writing style, not heavy with the feels, but enough to hit you with what is important. I read the entire book in a day. Pacing is great, I put the book down once for a short rest.
One little factoid I read somewhere is that the cover model is a transgender teen, which I felt added another dynamic to the novel. I was really impressed with Meredith Russo’s writing and look forward to see what she produces next.
Thank you, Meredith.
The author is also extremely clear in explaining that it is a work of fiction, that it does not represent certain specifically called out aspects accurately for the sake of the story, and that it is _a_ story of transgender experience - not the only one. At 281 pages, it is substantial without being extremely long. Recommended reading
Most recent customer reviews
This was just an absolutely wonderful book.Read more