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Month in review

Reviews
Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor
Avatar: The Last Airbender - North and South, Part Two by Gene Luen Yang
Bird & Squirrel On Fire by James Burks
Bird & Squirrel on the Edge! by James Burks
Captain Coconut and the Case of the Missing Bananas by Anushka Ravishankar and Priya Sundram
Dead Beat by Jim Butcher
Dreadnought by April Daniels
Edible Numbers by Jennifer Vogel Bass
Extraordinary by Miriam Spitzer Franklin
Extreme Babymouse by Jennifer L. Holm
Fenway and Hattie and the Evil Bunny Gang by Victoria J. Coe
The 52-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton
Giant Days, Volume 1 by John Allison
The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart
March: Book One by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell
The Maypop Kidnapping by C. M. Surrisi
New Cat by Yangsook Choi
Oh! by Kevin Henkes
Quiet! by Paul Bright
Rock with Wings by Anne Hillerman
Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer by Sydney Padua
Toto Trouble: Back to Crass by Thierry Coppée
Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes
The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

Miscellaneous
The February 2017 Gap
Seven narrative ways to travel
Thanks for the Memoirs

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



If I Was Your Girl: 02/04/17

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith RussoIf I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo is one of the best YA romances I've read. Full stop. Amanda Hardy is the new girl in Lambertville, come home to live with her father. She's planning to just get through her last couple years of high school, flying under the radar as bast as she can. And then she meets Grant Everett and all those plans go out the window.

Amanda has a past, one she's not sure she's ready to share with her new friends. Frankly she's not willing at first to share that past with us either. But slowly over time, through flashbacks, we're given the full story.

The big picture, though, is that Amanda is transgender. This is her first time going to school with her chosen name and her chosen pronouns. Even her father, though not as enthusiastic as she would like, is on board.

In the case of Grant, who has his own secrets, there is still the fear of revealing too much. There is the fear of teasing, the fear of being beaten up — all this Amanda has experienced. She has also tried to take her own life.

While all those things are common plot points in all the other books with a transgender protagonist I've read, they aren't really the point here. Instead, it's about the after — about the moving on. So many of these books end at the point that the main character gets on the preverbal soapbox and announces to the world that they are transgender.

All of that has happened and is over and done with. Amanda is out. Amanda is Amanda. She's now on the threshold of adulthood and a life she's going to carve out for herself on her terms.

Learning how to be open with her closest of friends (and boyfriend) is the next big hurdle. It's frankly a hurdle that all adults face repeatedly. It's a hurdle that Grant is also facing. And this book is about how they both learn to trust each other and open up — rather than about a character being trapped in one gender/body and wanting another.

There's an afterword from the author about why she chose to write this story as a post transition YA. The author explains: "I did this because I wanted you to have no possible barrier to understanding Amanda as a teenage girl with a different medical history from most other girls." Amanda, she goes on to explain isn't meant to stand in a gospel for how to be transgender. There are many different ways of being transgender and every experience is valid and important.

As suicide is mentioned in the book, she also includes a couple different hotline numbers for any reader who needs someone to talk to.

Five stars

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