I don’t think I’ve ever read a book before in which a trans person is the main character. I heard about If I Was Your Girl, and found out that it is #ownvoices for trans representation. That alone encourage me to read this book. I also really love the front cover of the book!
Amanda is a trans girl, who moves to her father’s and continues her education at a new school. Nobody knows that she’s transgender. The story follows Amanda navigating a new school, making friends, reconnecting with her father and her first relationship.
It’s got a rather large romance plot line…usually, I don’t want my books to focus that heavily on love. In this book, the romance story isn’t based on love at first sight. There was attraction at first sight, however the relationship progressed to love and didn’t immediately result in love. As I’m usually very confused with stories about love at first sight, this already made me quite happy with the book.
Amanda is not the only character that is queer. I think this is significant because in quite a few stories, the author creates only one queer character and that’s it! Most of the minor characters had detailed story arcs. I loved Chloe’s and Anna’s stories. One girl struggles to accept her sexuality in a conservative town, the other tries to combine her religious beliefs with the new facts that she’s learning about her friends. If I Was Your Girl isn’t only Amanda’s story, it’s the story of all the people that are connected to her.
“He . . . broke our kiss to gingerly hang [the jacket] over a tree branch.”
Grant has little money. The author illustrates this by creating a break in this kissing scene. I loved this sentence and its placing. It’s such an insignificant action but describes Grant’s character perfectly.
As I said above, I really don’t read many books with trans characters, so I expected to gain a new perspective and I certainly did. Amanda’s fear of not passing came alive through the pages and I found myself wondering with her if and when someone would find out that she was trans.
Amanda had it respectively easy compared to stories about trans people that I have heard of. However, I don’t see that as something to be criticised. There are trans people who will have it easy, are cis-passing, have a supportive group of friends and family, etc.
The book wasn’t only about love and being transgender. It was about friendship, parents and coming-of-age. It was about navigating a new place and learning more about oneself.
I could try very hard to find something that I wasn’t happy with but I can’t.
All in all
I thought this book was perfect and I recommend giving it a try. It’s a very emotional book. As I am a cis woman, I do encourage you to look for some reviews written by trans people to get qualified reviews about the book.