If I Was Your Girl

If I Was Your Girl is a young adult novel by Meredith Russo which features a trans protagonist, Amanda, who is beginning her senior year at a new school where no one knows that she was born biologically male. The author, a trans woman, acknowledges that she has made “Amanda’s trans-ness as unchallenging to normative assumptions as possible” – meaning that in the story she has fully transitioned and is able to pass, she is attractive and feminine and likes boys, etc. She is just like any other girl.

I absolutely do recommend this book although I have conflicting feelings about it. On one hand, I felt that Russo had oversimplified perhaps too much in her attempt to make Amanda relatable. On the other hand, I understand that it’s important that readers are able to see Amanda as just like any other teenage girl in what is, essentially, a coming-of-age story. But my mixed feelings really have more to do with the lack of representation of trans literary characters than the author’s choices or the quality of this book. There are so many stories to tell and one book can’t tell all the stories. I’m glad this book exists and I hope we get more.

Have you read it? What did you think?

Bonus: the book’s cover image is of Kira Conley, a trans model.

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