Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Books I've Loved: If I Was Your Girl
This is a really important book and I'm glad my local library bought it. I also really enjoyed it and read the whole thing in a single day while I was home sick from work.
Amanda is trans and has just moved to a new school where no one questions that she's a girl. There are a couple of comments about how tall she is, but no one thinks she's mannish or anything.
Yet Amanda can't fully relax, especially after she realizes what she's feeling for Grant is more than friendship. She feels like she needs to tell him the truth about herself, but is terrified of ruining everything with her confession.
Amanda's experience feels authentic (the author is trans herself, so it should) even if it feels a little too easy. Her mother has accepted her as a girl and supported her transition, even paid for the surgery to complete it. Her father, who hasn't been in the picture since she was a child, takes her in after things became problematic at home.
Her past and how she came out as trans are shown in chapters of flashback woven through the narrative. In these, her father is shown to be less than accepting of his son's leanings as a child, but he's trying to make up for it now.
At the end of the book the author notes that Amanda's transition has been made easier by her family's acceptance and the fact they appear to have enough money to help her through the transitioning process (something that doesn't feel quite authentic, because neither parent appears to have a job that would provide for this easily). Not every kid who feels the way Amanda does has that level of support or the means to transition so smoothly. And I think it's important that she has noted that because it's the one part of the book that felt off for me.
Overall though, I recommend this. There are too few books about the trans experience, especially those by authors who know first hand what it feels like.
But don't just believe me. Here's the blurb:
Amanda Hardy is the new girl in school in Lambertville, Tennessee. Like any other girl, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is keeping a secret. There’s a reason why she transferred schools for her senior year, and why she’s determined not to get too close to anyone.
And then she meets Grant Everett. Grant is unlike anyone she’s ever met—open, honest, kind—and Amanda can’t help but start to let him into her life. As they spend more time together, she finds herself yearning to share with Grant everything about herself…including her past. But she’s terrified that once she tells Grant the truth, he won't be able to see past it.
Because the secret that Amanda’s been keeping? It’s that she used to be Andrew.