Review of If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

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I spotted a lot of excitement surrounding this book on Twitter leading up to its release, and I wanted a copy, so as soon as my local bookshop had copies available. I took a day to read it (and this is the book that has brought me out of a several month long reading slump), and honestly, I’m so glad I have read it.

Amanda’s the new girl in the town of Lambertville, Tennessee. She just wants to make friends and fit in, just like any other girl, but she’s keeping a secret and it’s the reason she transferred schools for her senior year: at her last school, Amanda used to be Andrew. Then Amanda meets Grant, and he’s unlike anyone she’s ever met before; she can’t help but fall in love with him. But she’s scared that as she begins to open up to him and tell him the truth, he won’t ever be able to see beyond it. Secrets always have a funny way of getting out in the end…

Everyone that I know has always had one book that, once they’ve finished reading it, they sit back and collect their thoughts for a few moments. For me, If I Was Your Girl is that book. I finished it and I couldn’t have been happier that I’d bought it.

Amanda is such an amazing character. Her personality is explored in such depth in this book, so much so you feel like towards the end she’s a friend of yours. I really enjoyed how much we learned about Amanda, and usually this is a pet peeve of mine with books, so this was a really nice touch.

Meredith has also added another really nice touch to this book, and that’s the fact that we have a dual narrative style of writing happening, but instead of it being another character, it’s the story prior to where we are currently. I really liked this element to the book.

But above any comments about writing styles or how well the plot was laid out (it was laid out very well in case you were wondering), I think that this book was so great because of how amazing Amanda was to read about, and how good this book was at representing a community. Amanda was just such a great character to read about; you can really see that a lot of thought went into who Amanda was and her particular traits.

This novel has a lot of themes and messages that will speak to a lot of people, regardless of who you are, and I think that’s a really good thing too. There may be flaws with this book, but no book is perfect and it covers the topics that we need to talk about. And I think that’s great.

Honestly, it’s by far one of my favourite LGBTQ+ YA novels, if not my favourite I’ve ever read. The story was so well thought out, and I can’t wait to see where Meredith goes next. It’s an astonishing debut, and it’s a title that I think a lot of readers need to make room on their bookshelves for. A powerful and heartwarming novel.

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