Review originally published on Goodreads – 2019.
“What if your son told you he was your daughter?”
📖 If I Was Your Girl📖
Disclaimer: I am a cis woman. Please note that my understanding and thoughts are limited to my own experiences.
📚 Series: No
📚 Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, LGBTQ+
📚 POV: First Person
📚 Cliffhanger: More of an open ending, I guess
⚠ Content Warnings: Transphobia, Homophobia, Physical & Sexual Assault, Bullying, Recreational Drug Use, Suicide/Attempts, Forced Outing
“I have a past, okay? And you really don’t want to get involved with it.”
“Everybody’s got a past,” he said. “That don’t mean you can’t have a future.”
Let me just say, first off, that If I Was Your Girl was a beautiful surprise. I picked it up for a reading challenge, but I do not regret anything and it does not diminish the fact that it is a great and powerful read.
This is not my first book on the life of a transgender. Being stuck on the wonderful Archive Of Our Own and Larry Stylinson, I have read many beautiful stories on various aspects of the gender spectrum. I went in pretty much judgmental and uneducated and went out a whole new, hopefully, better person. In picking up this book, I am very thankful for so many things I have learned and better understood.
In this story, we have Amanda, a beautiful girl who just wanted to live a peaceful life being a girl, starting anew in a city where no one really knows her past. Her journey was told in dual time periods (past and present) which made knowing her more meaningful and her journey even more significant.
There were so many covered topics in this book– themes I never really thought about and now made me admire trans people more. Transitioning while you are in high school, when people are generally judgemental and mean, is so crazy to think about. It really takes bravery and self love to be able to push through.
Two main things that I am thankful for in this story are Amanda’s parents and her friends. Most of conversations with her mom and dad were enlightening and heartwarming. They were accepting and supportive despite dealing with their own struggles and “loss”. Being in a new school, I was surprised that the author gave Amanda a girl friend up. I was a bit nervouse that this might take a “Mean Girls” direction. But, wow, I was wrong. Girls standing up for girls and seeing not all girlfriendships are toxic were very satisfying.
Amanda having a love interest was also written so beautifully. Grant was actually a good guy, come to think of it. He was respectful of her. He was always checking up on her and of course, asking for consent. The only thing that I was concerned about is the secret on Amanda’s past. It was a really imposing question: should you tell your partner about your past and when?
Here is the only that I disliked: how she was outed. I always believe that no one else should ever decide that right time to come out except for the person themselves. I also felt the character who outed Amanda would not do it, I mean, the way they were written and being also part of the community.. I guess, just a bit out of character, in my own opinion. It would have been lovely had Amanda been given the chance to come out in her own way. She’s been through enough already.
All in all, this book was a very strong debut. The writing style was beautiful. I love the author’s note even more. It’s also very exciting to know that Meredith Russo’s new book, “Birthday” is coming out very soon. (May 21st!)
My only wish is that If I Was Your Girl be added to high school’s required reading. It would help a lot of teen struggles, answer some of their questions, teach them life lessons and might help make their teenage years a bit better.
☁ THE CRITERIA ☁
🌻 Support Characters:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌻 Writing Style:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌻 Character Development: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌻 Page Turner:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌻 Book Cover:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
☁FINAL VERDICT: 4.64/5 ☁
SOME QUOTES I LIKED:
“If people drive you to something,” Grant whispered, his voice quaking slightly, “then it’s their responsibility.”
Maybe I would never be ready; maybe I had to leap off the dock even if it meant falling flat moments later. Maybe I had to just let go.
“I’m a big boy. I been knocked down before, and I’ll be knocked down again. I can handle things that ain’t simple, and I can handle things that’re hard. I want you, and whatever it is about you that you think makes you so complicated couldn’t make me want you less.”
“You tried to kill yourself,” she said, rolling her eyes up to heaven and biting her knuckle. “Andrew Hardy was gonna die one way or the other, and one of the choices gave me a daughter in exchange while the other left me with no one.”
“It’s your life and it’s your body. Dress it however you want.”
Being a girl in this world means being afraid. That fear’ll keep you safe. It’ll keep you alive.”
For as long as I could remember, I had been apologizing for existing, for trying to be who I was, to live the life I was meant to lead. Maybe this would be the last conversation I would ever have with Grant. Maybe not. Either way, I realized, I wasn’t sorry I existed anymore. I deserved to live. I deserved to find love. I knew now—I believed, now—that I deserved to be loved.