If I Was Your Girl by first time author Meredith Russo is a book written by a transwoman about a transgirl and featuring a transgender cover model. For such a groundbreaking YA book, the story is pretty rote. The background and the content of the book make it capital-I Important; however, the story is a conventionally told fish out of water romance. Happily, Russo educates her reader on trans etiquette without being too awkwardly didactic.
Trans issues also bring up feminist issues. As it is with cis women, safety is an important issue for transpeople. As Russo says, "Being a girl in this world means being afraid. That fearíll keep you safe. Itíll keep you alive."
Amanda Hardy has moved in with her dad to Lambertville, Tennesse, where she's never visited before, to escape the dangers of her life in Georgia. In her transition from male to female, she suffered an assault and now that she is living as a girl, she moves away from her mom, seeking safety and anonymity.
Amanda's anxiety is palpable and real, but as a character she's a little too good to be true. She's beautiful and passes easily as a girl. She is deferential and sweet and gets along well with her classmates.
Russo explains this in a note from the author. She wanted the book to be as palatable and relatable to as many readers as possible. "I have, in some ways, cleaved to stereotypes and even bent rules to make Amanda's trans-ness as unchallenging to normative assumptions as possible."
I was disappointed by some things that happen in the story, though relieved by other revelations. Without giving away too much, girls get an opportunity to be heroic. If I Was Your Girl is well worth reading and is another important accomplishment in the creation of a well rounded canon of LGBTQI teen literature.Posted by kathryn at July 1, 2016 05:01 PM