Book Reviews: The Outliers and If I Was Your Girl

the outliers and if i was your girl via paper trail diary

I have some shorter reviews here for you today – I’ve been packing on the books lately (and it feels so goooood) and I don’t feel like stretching out reviews for weeks! Here we have two quick young adult reads that were recently published – Meredith Russo’s If I Was Your Girl and Kimberly McCreight’s The Outliers. Both compelling and satisfying in their own directions, they’re likely to have top spots on your local bookstore’s new YA table. And just to add something else to the mix, I’ll include a ‘paper pairing’ based on the characters with each review.

The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight

I am very close to falling into a rabbit hole of suspense novels – I’m basically teetering on the edge – they’re so addictive! I heard a lot of great buzz about this book (and thank you to Chapters Indigo & HarperCollins Canada for the ARC) and judging by the reaction of a good friend of mine, I knew I’d have to read it when I had the time to lose a day or two to a book. So it was a great long weekend indulgence! Wylie is in the thick of experiencing extreme stress, depression and agoraphobia when she finds out her friend Cassie is missing. The two girls haven’t talked in a while since Wylie’s mother died in a car accident and she stopped going to school, but when Cassie texts Wylie saying “Please, Wylie, I need your help,” Wylie barely thinks twice about helping her friend, even though her dad cryptically warned her not to leave the house after going on a search with Cassie’s mom. Then Cassie’s boyfriend Jasper, who Wylie has never liked, shows up at her door saying Cassie asked him to help. Basically, Wylie and Jasper end up on this uber-creepy mission with minimal clues on where to go sent by text message – they pass through multiple states and end up in the deep, dark woods of Maine. I don’t want to tell you much more because it’ll give things away, but I can assure you I was glued to this book once the mission started to get going. I had no idea what was going to happen, I was just as dumbfounded as the characters, and you should be too! I knew before reading this that Reese Witherspoon is planning on making a movie of this series (yes, it’s going to be a trilogy! Gah!) so I sort of read it like it was a movie, which was pretty easy because it was so fast-paced. I wouldn’t say the writing style is top-notch in terms of pretty prose or anything, and I got confused a few times, but that might have been because I was flipping the pages quickly because I liked the story itself so much! Anyhoo, now I am feeling impatient for book two, even though it’ll be at least a year until it comes out.

Paper pairing: My first thought was post-it notes for some reason in the form of breadcrumbs so Wylie and Jasper could leave clues, but really, their story doesn’t have time for that! Not even a notebook to take down all the craziness that happens.

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

I have noticed how more books about trans characters have been coming out within the last year, and I’m thrilled. I was instantly intrigued in this book as soon as I heard about it, and there were months until I could read it! I was so itchy! Amanda Hardy is the new girl in school – but nobody knows that Amanda used to be Andrew. And should that even matter? One of the most amazing things about this book is that it’s not about people attacking a trans character’s appearance – Amanda is a woman through and through. It’s not entirely about fighting the battle of bullying, either. If I Was Your Girl simply focuses on Amanda’s budding romance with Grant and her friendship with classmates; what it’s like to be a girl growing up in high school. You’re captivated by Amanda’s voice from the beginning and you want to be her best friend. You ‘aww’ when she blushes and frown when she’s worried or upset. (Both happen frequently.) Amanda’s story comes out of a dark place but she’s here to show you trans kids can have a bright future. If anyone has recommendations on books about trans boys, I’m all ears. The majority of what I’ve seen so far have been about trans girls. Absolutely nothing wrong about that, I’m just curious and want to read more! Also great facts about this book in general: the author and cover model of the book are both trans women. Yay!

Paper pairing: Seeing as it’s about a girl in high school experiencing her first love, it’s easy for me to see Amanda having a really cool planner decked out in interesting doodles, stickers and notes.

What young adult books have you been loving lately?

This entry was posted in Books.