If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
As one of the most poignant novels I have read recently, this book provided an experience of something I am not familiar.
The novel is focused on Amanda, a transgender teen who recently transitioned from male to female. After an incident in her home town, she is sent to live with her father so she can attend a new school, and have a chance to start over. Finally feeling like herself, she navigates her new relationship with her estranged father, making new friends, and falling for a boy. All while learning how to be in her new body, and dealing with all the challenges that go along with that. Some friends prove to be better than others, and her secret becomes an issue between her and her new romantic interest.
This book was written by a transgender author, and the cover features a transgender teen. Everything about this book was done right. The writing is lovely, and the characters grab at your heart. But what really got to me was the letter from the author at the end of the book. I don't want to take away the passion, so I will only quickly summarize it for you, and ask that you pick this book up the next time you find yourself in the library. The author wrote that she purposefully made Amanda's transition and situation as simple as possible. Her family should never have been able to afford the surgery, her doctors would never have been so quick to suggest the change, and overall many of the issues and controversy surrounding Amanda would typically be ten fold, but these writing choices were made in hopes that you would be able to better relate to the story, and see a glimpse of the daily challenges those in the trans community face, and this is with all the other stuff going her way. And while it was written in hopes that trans teens can open a book and see a bit of themselves between the pages, it is also for those who are not members of the trans community, so they can see with clearer eyes what that experience may be like in the everyday life of a transgender teen.
I found this book to be moving and powerful. Worth every minute I spent between the pages. If not more.
With Valentine's day just around the corner, I hope you take a chance on this love story for a new generation.
It is also a 2016 book club read of Zoella, so if you are familiar with her Youtube channel, you can find more reviews there!