If I Was Your Girl
by Russo, Meredith






Amanda Hardy only wants to fit in at her new school, but she is keeping a big secret, so when she falls for Grant, guarded Amanda finds herself yearning to share with him everything about herself, including her previous life as Andrew.





MEREDITH RUSSO was born, raised, and lives in Tennessee. She started living as her true self in late 2013 and never looked back. If I Was Your Girl was partially inspired by her experiences as a trans woman. Like Amanda, Meredith is a gigantic nerd who spends a lot of her time obsessing over video games and Star Wars.





Eighteen-year-old Amanda, the new girl at Lambertville High, has a closely guarded secret. At her old school, she was Andrew, battered and abused for being different. Following surgery, Amanda is now transsexual and has come to live with her divorced father, hoping to spend her last year in her new school as invisibly as possible-she is emotionally numb from the ordeal of her life so far, the circumstances of which readers learn in a series of dramatic flashbacks. But then she meets sweet, gentle Grant and, despite herself and her fears, finds herself falling in love, and it's obvious he returns those feelings. But what will happen if he learns the truth? Russo, a trans woman, writes with authority and empathy, giving readers not only an intellectual but also an emotional understanding of Amanda and her compelling story. Never didactic, this debut is a valuable contribution to the slender but growing body of literature about trans teens. Pair this with Katie Rain Hill's memoir Rethinking Normal (2014). Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.





After surviving a brutal attack, Amanda starts school in a new town. She plans to stay focused and get through senior year, but kind, attractive Grant causes a distraction that wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for her deepest secret. Russo has written a story that many trans teens—and adults—have been wanting: a sweet, believable romance that stokes the fires of hope without devolving into saccharine perfection or horrific tragedy. There is friction, from fear born of the violence Amanda has experienced, from dangers to girls that most boys don't feel, but Russo hasn't written yet another horror story that readers must endure along with its protagonist. There's confusion, levity, awkwardness, like any teen's story. There is friction from within Amanda. As her friend and transmother, or mentor, Virginia, says, she's "won the genetic lottery when it comes to passing." When they're deciding how to spend an evening, Amanda notes that Virginia's jaw is a little too str ong, shoulders a little too wide to keep them both safe from detection. This is just one of many conflicting, confusing truths that help reflect some trans people's fear of violence and hostility in this moment in time—including the ones rightly called out when coming from others—such as the expectation of a perfect physical reflection of one's truest gender. 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. (Fiction. 13 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2016 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.






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