Summary and book reviews of If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

If I Was Your Girl

by Meredith Russo

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
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  • First Published:
    May 2016, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2017, 304 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Bradley Sides

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Book Summary

A new kind of big-hearted novel about being seen for who you really are.

Amanda Hardy is the new girl in school. Like anyone else, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is keeping a secret, and she's determined not to get too close to anyone.

But when she meets sweet, easygoing Grant, Amanda can't help but start to let him into her life. As they spend more time together, she realizes just how much she is losing by guarding her heart. She finds herself yearning to share with Grant everything about herself, including her past. But Amanda's terrified that once she tells him the truth, he won't be able to see past it.

Because the secret that Amanda's been keeping? It's that at her old school, she used to be Andrew. Will the truth cost Amanda her new life, and her new love?

Meredith Russo's If I Was Your Girl is a universal story about feeling different?and a love story that everyone will root for.

1

The bus smelled of mildew, machine oil, and sweat. As the suburban Atlanta sprawl disappeared behind us, I tapped my foot on the floor and chewed a lock of my newly long hair. A nagging voice reminded me that I was only a half hour from home, that if I got off at the next stop and walked back to Smyrna, by sunset I could be in the comfort of my own bedroom, the familiar smell of Mom's starchy cooking in the air. She would hug me and we would sit down and watch awful reality TV shows together and she would fall asleep halfway through, and then nothing would change.

But something had to change. Because I had changed.

As I stared out at the swiftly moving trees, my mind was in a mall bathroom back in the city, the images shifting and jumbling like a kaleidoscope: A girl from my school, her scream as she recognized me. Her father rushing in, his rough, swift hands on my neck and shoulders. My body hitting the ground.

"You okay?" a voice practically screamed in my ear. I looked up to ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. When Grant first introduces himself to Amanda, she wonders "if a boy like him could ever understand what it was like to be me. To know what it was like to view high school as something you needed to survive." Do you think every high schooler feels that way at some point? Does the book ultimately agree with Amanda or not?
  2. There are many ways to describe Amanda—she's young, Southern, transgender. Despite these specific facts, in what ways is her story universal?
  3. When young Amanda gives her dad the story she wrote in class, he tells her, "Son, I want you to have a good life. Boys who really think the things in your story are confused. They don't have good lives. So you're not one of those boys." It becomes clear that ...
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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

If I Was Your Girl is an extremely kind novel. Sure, there are episodes of tension and cruelty, but goodness prevails at the heart of the story. It’s the sort of novel that makes you want to step out and hug somebody – or even hug yourself. Grant tells Amanda, “Everybody’s got a past.” Then, he continues, “That doesn’t mean you can’t have a future.” His inspiring words exemplify why Meredith Russo’s If I Was Your Girl will make readers believe that the best is still yet to come for humanity.   (Reviewed by Bradley Sides).

Full Review (572 words).

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Media Reviews

Booklist

Never didactic, this debut is a valuable contribution to the slender but growing body of literature of trans teens.

VOYA

[T]his is a fully realized narrative about the trials of teen life that can appeal to anyone regardless of their interest in LGBTQ subjects.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Though the Southern setting and religious undertones aren't free of stereotypes, they serve as a sounding board for larger issues of identity and orientation

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review. Above all, this is a necessary, universal story about feeling different and enduring prejudices, and it's full of love, hope, engaging writing, and truth.

School Library Journal

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

Author Blurb Jennifer Niven, New York Times bestselling author of All the Bright Places
If I Was Your Girl is important and necessary and brave, and deeply, electrically inspiring. Read this wonderful book. Just read it

Author Blurb Nina Lacour, critically acclaimed author of Everything Leads to You
Will change minds and open hearts

Author Blurb Julie Murphy, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dumplin'
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

Reader Reviews

Nanette S.

If I was Your Girl
A good storyline for all ages. No matter how/why you may believe life should be lived, this story will show one author's take about a "different" lifestyle than the "norm". It is not a preachy book about how the rights or wrongs ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Uncovering YA Novels with Transgender Characters

Modern American culture has a fascination with understanding what being transgender truly means. Popular television series such as I Am Cait and I Am Jazz are bringing real, transitioning lives into households everywhere. But, of course, TV series aren't the only way that people are beginning to understand what being transgender means. Books are also helping pave the path, and these stories are quickly growing in number.

The most recent addition to the canon of transgender literature is Meredith Russo's debut YA novel, If I Was Your Girl. Russo's novel follows Amanda Hardy, a young, transgender teenager, who is trying to find her way in the world. Born as Andrew, Amanda struggled with life as a boy. She was bullied and ...

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