If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

Goodreads Summary: 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.

Review

I don’t know if I’m being too generous with my star rating, or if I’m not being generous enough. It was a gripping story, without having too much plot. It was a story of self-love, acceptance and getting over one’s fears.

Some people criticize this book because they feel as if this isn’t “realistic.” I don’t know if this is “realistic” because I never had to go through the same struggles Amanda had to endure. However, I do confidently feel that every person’s experience is different and it took me a while to come to terms with that notion. Not everyone is going to have the same experience as each other, that would make life too easy.  Not ever trans person is going to have the same experience, not every bisexual is going to have the same experience (trust me on that one lmao). Some are positive, some are negative. This one was a mixture of both and is one that everyone should read. Hell, everyone should read multiple perspectives in my opinion.

If I Was Your Girl is not the depressive, heart-wrenching, serious book that I was expecting. Instead, I got a cutesy, light romance which actually is refreshing. Yes, suicide and depression are common topics in the book, but it didn’t seem that they took the spotlight. Amanda finding friends, love, acceptance were the ones that triumph. I awed at the cheesiness of Amanda and Grant, I squealed at the star wars references (the homecoming proposal MY HEART) and I just I loved everything about it.

I adored Amanda. It was hard to really criticize Amanda. Her ambition, her road to self-love, her strength was amazing. In the author’s note, Russo was afraid that the whole book would seem preachy, but to me, it didn’t. I felt like I wasn;t forced to sympathize her, I felt like I wasn’t forced to accept her or to just like her. I just did all those things because she was an awesome fucking person. I think Amanda is a strong, stunning character that everyone wants to root for, everyone wants her to get a happy ending. What’s amazing about this is that no one gave her the happy ending, she created it. In her words she “deserved it.”  Yes girl, you absolutely did.

Furthermore, we are also introduced to a cast of characters that we get to mildly explore.

Grant: Oh Grant, I love you I love you I love you. I loved that you put Parker at his place when he making sexuality jokes, I love how hardworking you are, I love that you love Amanda *sighs.*  He’s a complex character with his own struggles at home and has experienced a great deal of loss. I love how he wants to understand. When Amanda’s secret was finally revealed, I feared what might happen to his character and his relationship with Amanda. At the end, what happened, happened and I hope that both Amanda and Grant can move forward.

Bee: Bisexual and the one who, besides Grant, is the closest to Amanda. They ditch art together, make jokes and tell each other secrets. I stopped liking Bee at the end because well if you read if you know.

Chloe: Although we don’t get to explore her story a whole bunch, we do get to discover a little about herself such as her living on a farm and also a secret she’s been hiding. I ended up really enjoying her presence in the story

Amanda’s Dad: This one is the big one. Throughout the story, he urges Amanda to keep everything on the DL and to just graduate. He inadvertently picks fights with Amanda and can see his constant struggle. He’s timid, a little intimidating and has an alcohol problem, but you can tell he still loves his daughter. It almost reminds me of my own relationship with my father (though that’s a different story since we are only on texting terms and have never actually spoke to one another in over 5 years).

There were plot holes and the story could have easily been longer. I thought it was rushed and I was hoping Amanda would reveal her transition in a better fashion rather than what really happened. If I recall right, the turning point happened really close to the end. Everyone’s reactions seemed to be rushed and I was hoping it would be more fleshed out. However, I really did like the ending because it ended on a hopeful note.

Honestly, that is what Amanda represents–hope.

“You can have anything once you admit you deserve it.”

 

If you read this far, thank you very much!

What are your thoughts?

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6 thoughts on “If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

  1. This is a brilliant review of this book Qui. I haven’t actually seen many reviews for If I Was Your Girl, in fact I think the only other one I’ve seen so far was a more negative one than yours so it’s kind of nice to see the other side of the story so to say. I’m glad you enjoyed this book, it’s certainly great to see more diverse fiction on the YA shelves now isn’t it?

    1. Thank you, it is amazing to see more books with multiple perspectives! I was at a Barnes and Noble recently and I was happy to say I saw more POC on book covers (not a WHOLE lot but more than in the past). I just hope publishing companies will continue to publish more diverse fiction, especially in YA.

      I can see why some people might not like If I Was Your Girl. It wasn’t a perfect story but it’s one that I will always remember. 🙂

      1. I haven’t read many books with multiple POVs, sometimes I think they can be hard to do without pushing some characters in the shadows? But I guess this wasn’t the case with If I Was Your Girl.
        Hopefully soon seeing POC on book covers will be the norm rather than something to look for you know?
        Sometimes stories you’ll always remember can be better than perfect ones. 🙂

      2. The book actually didn’t contain multiple povs, they were just the characters that impacted Amanda’s story the most throughout the novel (multiple povs would have been interesting though). I should have specified that in my review oops!

        YES, I really really really hope it becomes the norm!

      3. No that’s all right. I don’t remember seeing it in your review but when you mentioned multiple POVs in you last comment I thought maybe I’d missed it in your review or something.
        I think one day it will, hopefully one day soon though. 🙂

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