The Zoella Book Club: If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

The Zoella Book Club: If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

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Watch Zoella’s If I Was Your Girl Review

If I Was Your Girl – Meredith Russo

My name is Amanda. I’m 18.

When you look at me, you might see that I’m pretty and popular; you might think my life is easy. But being me has never been easy. Because I haven’t always been Amanda.

When I was born, I was named Andrew.

Now, at my new school, I finally feel like myself. But do I owe my new friends the truth about my past?

If I Was Your Girl – WHSmith Review

If I Was Your Girl is a particularly exciting book because of its rare exploration of a transgender protagonist. Amanda has moved in with her dad in Lambertville, Tennessee in the hope of starting a new life away from the violence, cruelty and misunderstanding she experienced in her old life as Andrew. At first Amanda is guarded and scared that her secret past could come back to haunt her, but instead she finds herself easing into life as an average teenage girl with a group of friends and good-looking boys asking for her number. But can Amanda continue her new life with her secret hanging over head? And how would her new friends react if they did find out?

If I Was Your Girl stands out instantly as an important and thought-provoking book. Written by a transgender author about a transgender lead character, this book is an honest look at the emotional experience of life as a transgender person; both the hopes, fears and experiences of the individual and the reaction of friends, family and peers. Meredith acknowledges at the end of her book that this is a fictionalised look at one transgender experience and not a comprehensive telling of all types of transgender experiences or identities, but it is a good starting point for anyone looking to understand a different perspective in life or to find a character they can identify with. Suicide, violence, bullying, prejudice and sexual orientation are explored in this book, and there are some scenes of alcohol and drug taking.

Book Breakdown

If I Was Your Girl Events

We have some truly exciting online events lined up for the Zoella Book Club to encourage readers to discuss the books with fellow readers and with the authors themselves! You can talk about your favourite characters, discuss your favourite scenes, share your own experiences related to the books and ask any burning questions you have since turning the last page. Don’t miss out on the chance to meet like-minded readers and ask your unanswered questions.

Meredith Russo Biography

Meredith Russo

Meredith Russo was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where she has lived almost her entire life. She attended Chattanooga High School Center for Creative Arts, where she majored in instrumental music, told herself she wanted to grow up to be a comic-book artist, and relegated writing to a fun but pointless hobby (this lack of priorities and self-awareness has followed her into adulthood, alas). Once she realized writing was the only thing she was good at she graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in creative writing, with a minor in women’s studies.

Meredith writes full-time, though she’s still afraid she might wake up and realize it’s all been a dream. When she’s not writing she can be found reblogging pictures of cats, rambling about anime and Hamilton on Twitter, convincing friends to play board games about lying, running tabletop RPGs, and playing video games. Her favourite film is Alien, her favourite book is a tie between Perks of Being a Wallflower and Ragtime, her favourite colour is red, her favourite band is The Mountain Goats, and her favourite video game is Shadow of the Colossus.

Meredith is a queer trans woman, and much of her work centres around telling trans stories, but she is also a feminist, a radical, a mental illness survivor, a mom, an Aries with a Cancer moon, an ENFP, and an insufferable combination of hipster and geek. She still lives in Chattanooga with her son, Darwin, and her passive-aggressive cat, Shadow. Her debut novel, If I Was Your Girl, tells the story of a young trans woman trying to recover from trauma, mend ties with her estranged father, and find love in the American South. It was nominated for the 2016 YALSA award for best YA fiction. There are no current plans for a sequel, sadly, but two new projects are in the works.

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