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Location: Brooklyn, NY, United States

18 May 2016

If I Was Your Girl

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo is a beautiful story of a young woman becoming who she is meant to be.

Amanda is moving to a small time outside of Atlanta. She will be living with her father for the first time since her parent's divorce six years ago. She is ready to start a new school - one where no one knows her. Her plan is to keep her head down and finish and get into a good college in a big city.

Amanda makes friends on her first day of school. Grant asks her out for his friend Parker. Amanda thinks that he is tricking her - she is not used to good attention. She does not think she is pretty - but her new classmates seem to think so. At her last school, Amanda was passing as a boy - the body she was mistakenly born into. Most of the attention was focused on shoving her into lockers. But now, after hormone therapy, starting over, she is starting to feel like herself.

After missing the bus home - due to a rather unscheduled art period - Amanda is picked up on her walk home (6 miles in 113 degrees) by three new classmates. Layla, Anne and Chloe are a group. They want to get to know the new, pretty girl, and add her to their group.

Readers will follow Amanda through a school year and her decision about whether to tell people about her past - her new friends and her first boyfriend. Amanda is a great and sympathetic character - she was written to be appealing to a wide audience in that she fits in as a girl (no trouble passing) who has had access to medical therapy (very expensive and hard to get so early in development) and she is straight. These choices Russo made do not make Amanda a less realistic character. She has obviously worked hard to get where she is at the beginning of the story. This book is a great introduction to a trans character.

Russo, Meredith. (2016). If I Was Your Girl. New York: Flatiron Books.

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