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If I Was Your Girl is the story of a transgender girl called Amanda as she aims to start a new life in a new town, hiding her past. Amanda is escaping those who knew her as Andrew and the abuse she faced as a result of living her life as who she really is. As things often are, however, it is far more complicated than just moving to a new town and starting fresh.
I really enjoyed this book. Although in many ways its your classic teenage love story, I really enjoyed the unique twist it had because the main character was transgender. When I saw the themes this book contained it struck me how little I've seen of this topic in young adult literature. Maybe transgender people are well represented and I've just missed it somewhere along the line but this is the first book I've ever come across which deals with the issue. While I hate that its taken this long for me to read something about this issue I'm glad I have now.
One thing I do think this book does so well is reminds you that the stories of transgender people are first and foremost the stories of people. This book is not about Amanda who is transgender, its about Amanda who is your typical teenage girl who happens to have had a different past to most of the people she's around. There are times in the book where I completely forgot about Amanda's past and I liked that the book helped remind its readers that 'transgender' is not the defining feature of her and people like her. It is important that the people around her acknowledge the struggles she's been through, which they do, but its equally important that they do not dwell on them, but instead allow her to live the life she's always wanted to live.
Although I have a limited understanding of what its like to be transgender as I cannot personally relate to Amanda's struggles, as a character she felt real and her struggles felt understandable and not out of reach for someone who hasn't experienced the same things. I think this book does a fantastic job of introducing people to the concept of transgender people and is positive and accessible in doing so.
Have you read this book? If not, I definitely recommend it! If you have, let me know your thoughts on it in the comments!