REVIEW: If I Was Your Girl – Meredith Russo

Honestly, I don’t know where to start with this. I’ve always just told myself that I’m awful at reviews, and to leave them far far away, for other people to write, and honestly I’m a little scared to attempt this. But you know what? 2017 is the year of facing fears, I think (maybe) and I’d like to start writing reviews. So here goes (cue superior-sounding and intimidating review-er voice)…

If I Was Your Girl – Meredith Russo

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If I Was Your Girl tells the, frankly overdone, story of a young girl who has to start a new school, and her struggles through making new friends, first loves and parent troubles. It’s one of those basic story premises that’s been done and done a thousand times over, the world over. I’m sure that no matter the culture, religion, race, every teenage girl has once wanted to read about the life of another teenage girl.

But with this, there’s something different.

And it’s not something that you have to wait until the last page for, either (which is something I personally don’t have the patience for). From the get-go (even the blurb, actually), we – the audience – are aware that Amanda, our beautiful, smart, nerdy and mysterious protagonist, used to be known as Andrew.

Meredith Russo’s debut novel details the post-transition Amanda’s life as she tries to make it safely from high school to the World Beyond – something of which I’m sure we can all relate to. But Meredith’s life as a trans woman has enabled her to transform a somewhat over-done story into one that I think – honestly – everyone should read. Or at least read about. The simple fact of the matter is: there aren’t enough stories about trans people.

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Now, as much as I could, I’m not going to make this post about trans issues. It is not my place, nor my right to address issues faced by those in the trans community.I have never faced gender identity issues, and I can’t imagine ever doing so, and that is where I will leave my knowledge on the subject. However, if a trans person, or someone struggling with gender identity issues is reading this: I support you, you are brave and amazing and you are not alone. If you need someone to talk to, I am here.

Now that that is out of the way, I’m going to continue by saying that this review is not going to address the serious matters of gender identity, transgenderism and social inequalities, as I simply haven’t got the words – or the authority – to do so. I will, however, review this book as a book. 

If I Was Your Girl, while hugely important and eye-opening for someone who is cis-gendered and uneducated, could have been better, book-wise.

The subject matter, while fascinating and wonderful in its modest glory (Amanda’s brief descriptions of the transition process I felt were a nice way to satisfy reader’s curiosities, while remaining steadfast in her secretive nature, and were well played-down by the author), could have been paced much better.

My biggest problem with IIWYG was simply the pacing. I felt this book could have been light-years longer. It felt rushed, and because of this, characters and their actions often felt unrealistic, and it could sometimes feel as though Meredith – the author – knew things that the audience didn’t, but forgot, and described scenes and emotions as thus.

While I can see the advantages of trying to write a book – particularly a YA book, as this is intended – that is long enough to be a story, while being short enough to keep young reader’s attentions, I felt this was just not long enough. There simply wasn’t enough space to put all the emotions of someone who has been through so much, on paper in just under 300 pages. I often felt as though, if I were in Amanda’s situation, I’d need a hell of a lot more time to digest some information and make some decisions, than she did. But that’s just me.

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Some may complain that IIWYG was too shallow. That it only tread the very shortest of depths that LGBTQIA+ fiction could do, but I think that’s enough. For now, at least. The general public may still be wary of literature that dives too deep into the minds and bodies of those who aren’t “normal” (and I use that term sarcastically, if you didn’t guess), and, while some of us may be ready to dive deep, the world might not be yet. Baby steps.

But, If I Was Your Girl did exactly as it was supposed to, and for that I commend it. It made me laugh. It made me sad and angry. It made me love Amanda and Virginia and Layla and Grant. It made me hate others. It made me feel that first-love, first-kiss, first-everything feeling that we all crave sometimes. And it made me more aware. 

And for a mainstream, published, printed and talked about book (If I Was Your Girl has actually been featured in Zoella’s book club with W H Smith for this year, which is incredible and huge for the author, to have someone as influential as Zoe recommending this story to her millions of avid fans…) to hold such power and knowledge. The power to turn attention towards this issue that the world faces (by issue I mean transphobia and homophobia, etc), is fantastic.

I urge you all to pick up this book (or download it.. whatever you fancy), and just try it. Your age, your gender, your sexuality, your reading preferences do not matter. You should read this, for your own education.

Thanks guys, let me know if I did OK for my first book review (that’s been published on this site). Also let me know what’s on your reading lists for 2017, I need recommendations!

Jess x

50 Things I Did In 2016 // Photo Diary

  1. Went to London on Valentines Day12745625_1039340632755019_6685012793752919583_n.jpg
  2. Went to the Natural History Museum for the first time12743961_1039341126088303_6429238897313796666_n.jpg
  3. Went to Prague535299_1063477243674691_1998539891694183076_n.jpg
  4. Turned 18
  5. Went clubbing
  6. Got a tattoo12936781_1068481506507598_5623370959348771126_n.jpg
  7. Was a Sandwich Artist
  8. Read.. a lotCapture.PNG
  9. Blogged a lot
  10. Went to AthensImage may contain: sky and outdoor
  11. Bought a carImage may contain: car, sky and outdoor
  12. Learnt to drive
  13. Passed my driving test!
  14. Stayed home alone for a week
  15. Went to Thorpe Park
  16. Went to FriendsFestImage may contain: 2 people, table and outdoor
  17. Got better at makeup
  18. Visited my Nan and Auntie’s graves
  19. Passed my A Levels
  20. Worked in Primark
  21. Started a savings account
  22. Started an apprenticeship
  23. Went to a big client meeting
  24. Went on a night out with work people
  25. Went to an industry party
  26. Met new friends
  27. Attempted blogmasCapture1.PNG
  28. Got rid of the crap in my room
  29. Had our 5th anniversary
  30. Bought alcohol
  31. Took care of the cat on my own
  32. Went to an engagement partyImage may contain: 4 people, indoor
  33. Saw The Maine live again
  34. Saw All Time Low live again
  35. Saw Twenty One Pilots live
  36. Cut ties once and for all
  37. Was the bigger person
  38. Read all of Harry Potter… twice
  39. Stopped smoking
  40. Saw Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  41. Saw Doctor Strange
  42. Saw Batman Vs Superman
  43. Saw Suicide Squad
  44. Saw Captain America: Civil War
  45. Celebrated New Years Eve in bed, watching How I Met Your Mother
  46. Watched Friends all the way through about 4 times
  47. Drove to see my grandparents after not visiting for about 3 years
  48. Went Christmas shopping with Connor
  49. Read comic books for the first time
  50. Tried Quorn mince… and liked it

Goodbye 2016!

I wanted to have completed this post by the close of 2016 but, as you can tell, that didn’t go so well.

Especially in terms of this blog, the end of 2016 for me was nowhere near as productive, exciting or fun as the rest of the year certainly was, which is a shame. I think after so many months of strict routine, 9-5 and motivation, this holiday took it out of me and I just sort of crashed, especially towards the end of blogmas. I’m actually severely disappointed that my blogmas plans didn’t work out, I had it all ready and rearing to go but by the middle-end of December I sort of fizzled out. Read More »

What’s In My Bag? / 2016

I told you this was gonna be girly. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

If you’re not into all this girly beauty/lifestyle type of content then feel free to stop reading, I won’t be mad. But if you are, then I hope this post makes a good start on my road to being one of those bloggers.

And the reason for this post even being a thing is simply because I freaking love being nosey about other people. I’ll happily watch a hundred of these videos on YouTube and read these types of blogs so, I thought I’d give it a go.

So, without rambling too much (still will a little bit, this is me), let’s get into it!

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The Bag

So, to start off, my actual bag was bought from eBay earlier this year (and is still available here). When I found it, I was looking for a proper grown-up bag. I wanted small enough to carry around everyday, but also big enough to 1. take to college (when I went to college) and 2. fit overnight stuff in for when I stay at the boyfriend’a house. And I found exactly the right one! (And it was less than £20). It’s got three zippy pockets – and loads more inside each one – gold hardware, is waterproof and has a long handle as well (which is a must for me, ain’t nobody got time to use those little handles constantly).

The Contents

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Item 1: Purse

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I recently changed from my summer to winter purses (yes, I do that), and I’m still as in love with this as when I first bought it. It was a New Look purchase, and unfortunately is no longer being sold as it was from 2015. But, it’s super sturdy and pretty with the gold hardware (anyone feeling a gold theme?) and rose details. It’s got enough space for all those stupid cards you carry around, as well as change and TONS OF RECIEPTS (guilty). It’s fab. I love it.

Item 2: Sunglasses

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Finally, a recent purchase that I can actually link you to! Try not to explode with excitement, as I know you all will. I recently went on a bit of a major spend at a few places and H&M was one of them. These little beauties were on sale for £3.49 and I thought they’ll be perfect for when it’s cold af, but still so sunny that you can’t actually see. Really simple purchase, but very worth it.

Item 3: The Notebook(s)

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One being my bullet journal (take a look at this post for more info on that!), the other being my work notebook that they gave me because it was floating around the office. I cannot go anywhere without a notebook (and a pen. Obviously.), just in case of those ‘Eureka!’ moments (and by ‘Eureka’, I of course mean when you remember that you forgot to get deoderant and need to go get some because you smell).

Item 4: The Necessities

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Pretty bog standard stuff, to be honest. Umbrella (because I live in England), and keys. House key, car key and Tesco Clubcard fob. The basics.

Item 5: Glasses

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My lovely glasses. Constantly need to be in the bag because I need them for driving (when I do actually get a chance to drive) and for when I get headaches at work. Also, they make me look clever.

Item 6: The Teccy Bits

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As we all know, these are of course the most important items in any bag. My phone, a beautiful little HTC One Mini 2 which suits me perfectly  (because I, too, am mini), my iPod Nano, Gummy earphones (I cannot be doing with those funny bobbly earphones that don’t fit in my ears, so I stick with the Gummys), and my portable charger. The charger was from Amazon (find it here) and was slightly more expensive than others I’d found, but so worth it. It can charge my phone fully about five times before dying. I recommend!

Item 7: The Beauty Bits

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So, in the middle zippy bit (the technical term) of my bag, I like to keep all those little things that we always wish we had when we don’t. That includes:

Finally, the last thing I like to keep in my bag is… More bags. Carrier bags. British people can relate. The struggle truly is real with carrier bags.

And there you go! Possibly the girliest thing ever to grace this bonkers planet, and its now on my blog! I hope you enjoyed it, and if you want more posts like this (or if you hated it and want me to go back to rambling about Lena Dunham) then leave me a comment!

Thanks for reading, see you Wednesday!

Jess

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