And here we are, now entering the Top 5 of my 2016 Top Ten LGBT+ YA novels!
Let me tell you, today we have a spectacular and groundbreaking book that is just as amazing as it is important.
Coming in at Number 5, it’s Meredith Russo’s If I Was Your Girl!
This book is just such a lovely story, but more on that after 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.
Okay, so as I said: super amazing and important book, and as I’m sure you can guess from the blurb, it’s because Amanda is trans. But not only that, the author Meredith Russo is trans herself as well, so here we have one of the first YA novels with a transgender character written by a transgender author. I wasn’t lying when I said this book is groundbreaking.
The story itself is just like what you’d expect to find in many YA novels: a girl starts at a new school, makes new friends, meets a new boy, etc. I’ve read some reviews that critique the plot as being too dull and boring. But you see, I think that’s kind of the point.
Russo has written a book that shows that Amanda is just like any other teenage girl. She just wants to fit in and make some friends. She meets a boy and she falls for him. And I like the simplicity of the story the way it is because, hmmmm, maybe it shows that trans people are… well, people. Duh. This is a book about a girl just trying to live her life. She also just happens to be trans.
And I think that’s part of what makes this such an incredibly important story: because it shows that it is possible for someone who is trans to just live a normal, regular life. And while Amanda’s story is not without some conflicts (which I won’t comment on further, because spoilers–read the book!), this is still an incredibly heartwarming and wonderful story that should be read far and wide. It is a story of family, friendship, first love and self-discovery that anyone can enjoy.
But more importantly, it is also a book where transgender youth can see themselves reflected on the page. It is a book to let them know that they are not alone.
Check back tomorrow for book #4!