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Review of If I Was Your Girl

russo_if i was your girlIf I Was Your Girl
by Meredith Russo
High School    Flatiron    290 pp.
5/16    978-1-250-07840-7    $17.99    g
e-book ed.  978-1-250-07842-1    $9.99

After being beaten up in a mall bathroom, eighteen-year-old transgender woman Amanda goes to live with her previously unsupportive father in Lambertville, Tennessee, where no one knows her from her pre-transition life. Though she’s determined to lie low while finishing high school, she finds unexpected friendships with a trio of churchgoing Baptist girls and with art classmate Bee, a bisexual girl secretly in a relationship with one of them. Even more unexpected is her blossoming relationship with tender and respectful Grant, who has a complicated past of his own. Caught between her father’s admonitions to “keep [her] head down,” on the one hand, and her yearning to be open, on the other, Amanda struggles to determine how much of herself to share with the world. (Unlike many, Amanda “won the genetic lottery when it comes to passing.”) Flashbacks to Amanda’s life pre-, during, and post-suicide attempt and subsequent transition are interspersed throughout the narrative. There is no gratuitous trauma, and Amanda’s story is neither overly sentimental nor didactic. Russo, herself a trans woman living in Tennessee, crafts a thoughtful, truthful, and much needed coming-of-age tale.

About Kazia Berkley-Cramer

Kazia Berkley-Cramer is a former editorial intern at The Horn Book.

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