I was thrilled when I stumbled upon this book. A week ago I was browsing my library’s online selection of titles, looking for something new, and the cover of If I Was Your Girl caught my eye immediately. (It’s such a gorgeous cover, isn’t it?)
Going into this book, I didn’t realize the subject matter. The synopsis provided by my library, not the thorough and complete one that you can find on Goodreads, mentions that the lead, Amanda, is the new girl in school and has a big secret, but I didn’t realize what that secret was, because after reading that short bit of the summary I was sold. Characters with secrets lead to stories with intrigue, so I checked the book out right away and started reading. And I flew through it.
I won’t go into spoilers, because I fully believe that this is a book everyone should read and have been recommending it to people ever since. Seriously, a barista asked how I was doing yesterday morning and I told him I was in such a good mood because I had just finished an amazing book. I then went on to tell him that he must read it and wouldn’t take no for an answer. That’s a lot for me, too, as I rarely talk to strangers.
If I Was Your Girl follows the story of Amanda as she begins her life in a new town. Wanting a fresh start, she decided to move to Tennessee to live with her father. It is there that she meets Grant, a sweet guy who quickly charms his way into Amanda’s heart. I loved Grant so much that I was afraid of how the book would end. No spoilers, of course, but that’s how I felt simply because Grant is such a lovable character and I didn’t know/didn’t want to know how he would handle the truth.
Grant aside, one of the wonderful things about this story is that it isn’t just about love and romance, it’s also about strong female friendships and girl power. I loved all of the girl friends that Amanda made at her new school. I only wish that we got to spend more time with them, because they made me so proud. There is a very intense scene toward the end of this book that had me ugly crying for a solid half hour, but the resolution to this event had me smiling through the silent sobs, cheering.
Witnessing Amanda’s journey, both through her eyes as she reflects on her past and through the events that unfold in the novel, was a breathtaking story that I was honored to have been able to read. This was the first book I’ve ever read with a transgender lead, and acknowledging this made me feel quite sad and disappointed. Not in myself, necessarily, but merely in the fact that these stories aren’t as mainstream as I believe that they should be. If anyone has any book recommendations for me, from authors from the LGBT+ community, please don’t hesitate to share.
I am so in love with this story from Meredith Russo and I can’t wait to read more from her.