Title: If I Was Your Girl
Author: Meredith Russo
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication date: May 3, 2016
Summary (via Goodreads): Amanda Hardy is the new girl in school in Lambertville, Tennessee. Like any other girl, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is keeping a secret. There’s a reason why she transferred schools for her senior year, and why she’s determined not to get too close to anyone.
And then she meets Grant Everett. Grant is unlike anyone she’s ever met—open, honest, kind—and Amanda can’t help but start to let him into her life. As they spend more time together, she finds herself yearning to share with Grant everything about herself…including her past. But she’s terrified that once she tells Grant the truth, he won’t be able to see past it.
Because the secret that Amanda’s been keeping? It’s that she used to be Andrew.
Okay bear with me, because this review is going to be intense. It’ll include a lot of gushing praise, some of the heartache I experienced, and so much more…without being spoilery of course. This book is definitely 5 out of 5 stars in my book.
I read this book for #ReadProud, even though it’s been on my TBR list for quite a while now. I’m so glad I finally read it. Because of the summary, you already know some of the backstory of Amanda’s life. But knowing that backstory still didn’t prepare me for the roller coaster of emotions that were contained in the 288 pages of If I Was Your Girl. I thought Meredith did such a great job with the subject matter at hand. My heart went out to the main character, Amanda, so many times. As a straight female, I know I don’t know what it’s like to be trans, but seeing life through Amanda’s eyes was eye-opening. I’d like to think I’m pretty open-minded and accepting, especially after seeing the reactions of some people in this book. I say be who you are, be with whoever makes you happy, etc. because life’s too short.
Amanda was a fantastic main character. I liked that Meredith had some passages scattered throughout the book that showed us Amanda’s past, showed us what she had to endure and deal with. It made me get attached to her character even more. Grant was a pretty good guy overall, but he’s not an addition to my book boyfriend for a few reasons. One is that I just wasn’t attracted to his character. He sounded cute, but I didn’t feel myself falling for his character. The other reasons I don’t want to share, because they’re spoilers.
I thought the female friendship in this book was one of the highlights. Layla, Anna, and Chloe were amazing, especially towards the very end of the book. Amanda is lucky to have friends like them. Bee was okay, until she wasn’t, but I understand she served a purpose in the book. I really liked that Amanda got to feel like ‘one of the girls’ when she lived in Lambertville. It made my heart happy for most of the book.
The ‘past’ sections were pretty emotional overall. They really tugged at my heartstring, for lack of better words. Some were happy, but mostly they were showing the emotional, and physical, abuse Amanda endured. My heart ached that people could treat other people like that, like they were nothing. Society is so wrong at times that it’s enough to make me scream. The book ends on a slightly happier note, especially since Amanda always has her friends no matter what, and she has her whole life ahead of her to see what happens next.
Final note: I’m glad I read this book for the #ReadProud challenge this month. Such a great debut! I’d highly recommend it! I need to buy a copy for myself to own so I can keep experiencing the feels over and over again!