On My Bookshelf: If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

October 28, 2019

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo, details life after Amanda begins living her life as a young woman. She is living in an area of the South where many people are religious, few are accepting of anyone different, and even fewer people are "out." She must decide who deserves to know about her past, and more importantly, who she can trust. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.
The basic plot from Amazon: 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?

Why I liked it: After reading Birthday by Meredith Russo, I just had to go back and read her debut novel If I Was Your Girl. Both novels focus on gender identity, but If I Was Your Girl details life after Amanda begins living her life as a young woman, while Birthday centers around the struggle of a young man still trying to define who he is. There are allusions to and some flashbacks to the difficulties Amanda faced as she transitioned from male to female, but this is overall a "safer" plot than Birthday, which the author explains why in the notes at the end of the book. That's not to say that Amanda's new life is without difficulties. She is living in an area of the South where many people are religious, few are accepting of anyone different, and even fewer people are "out."
If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo, details life after Amanda begins living her life as a young woman. She is living in an area of the South where many people are religious, few are accepting of anyone different, and even fewer people are "out." She must decide who deserves to know about her past, and more importantly, who she can trust. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.

I appreciated the realism of neither of Amanda's parents being able to easily or completely accept her new identity. Amanda goes to live with her father for her final year of high school because of the violent reactions in her hometown to her new identity and her father wavers between being at a loss for words and coming down hard on her (he and her mother had split up years before and his heavy drinking is attributed to his inability to deal with having a "girly" son). Even Amanda's mother, the more accepting of the two, confesses her sadness over losing her little boy.

Classroom application: If I Was Your Girl and Birthday are equally important stories that I would highly recommend adding to your high school classroom library (unfortunately not middle school because of the mature themes and content).

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of If I Was Your Girl for yourself, you can find it on Amazon here.

Note: The Literary Maven is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo, details life after Amanda begins living her life as a young woman. She is living in an area of the South where many people are religious, few are accepting of anyone different, and even fewer people are "out." She must decide who deserves to know about her past, and more importantly, who she can trust. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.

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