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YA Review: Birthday by Meredith Russo

Title: Birthday
AuthorMeredith Russo
Year Published: 2019

Genre: YA fiction (LGBTQ)
Pages: 288
Rating: 5 out of 5

Location (my 2020 Google Reading map): USA (TN)

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): Two best friends. A shared birthday. Six years...

ERIC: There was the day we were born. There was the minute Morgan and I decided we were best friends for life. The years where we stuck by each other’s side―as Morgan’s mom died, as he moved across town, as I joined the football team, as my parents started fighting. But sometimes I worry that Morgan and I won’t be best friends forever. That there’ll be a day, a minute, a second, where it all falls apart and there’s no turning back the clock.

MORGAN: I know that every birthday should feel like a new beginning, but I’m trapped in this mixed-up body, in this wrong life, in Nowheresville, Tennessee, on repeat. With a dad who cares about his football team more than me, a mom I miss more than anything, and a best friend who can never know my biggest secret. Maybe one day I’ll be ready to become the person I am inside. To become her. To tell the world. To tell Eric. But when?

Six years of birthdays reveal Eric and Morgan’s destiny as they come together, drift apart, fall in love, and discover who they’re meant to be―and if they’re meant to be together. From the award-winning author of If I Was Your Girl, Meredith Russo, comes a heart-wrenching and universal story of identity, first love, and fate.

Review: Meredith Russo has done it again. I loved her novel, If I Was Your Girl and she is so good at capturing life for someone who is trans, how it affects them, their friends, their family, and how they are treated by those who are bigoted. 

I loved both Eric and Morgan, for their innocence, their friendship, their honesty, their attempts to understand what's happening, and their love for one another. Russo has created two characters who are so different from one another, but have a bond since they have known each other since day 1. We see them and their families grow up, changes, fight, support each other, hurt each other, and more. It's all very real.

While it was disturbing to read the parts where other characters were hate-filled, I know that those events are reality for many people. I can only hope that one day more people will be accepting and understanding of those that are different from themselves.

Reading Morgan's emotional journey over the course of six birthdays was a great way to understand how it feels to doubt oneself, the pain, the thoughtfulness, and more. I also like that the author shows how helpful therapy can be. If you want to read a book that tackles a tough subject brilliantly, this is the one.

Challenges for which this counts: 
For the Popsugar Challenge, this book was written by a trans author.

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