Review: Birthday by Meredith Russo

Title: Birthday
Author: Meredith Russo
Release Date: May 21, 2019
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Pages: 288
Buy it!

Don’t have time to read the entire review? That’s okay! Scroll down to the very end for a TL;DR.

Content Warnings: death of a parent, talk of cancer, underage drinking, abuse, homophobia, transphobia, suicide attempt

This post does contain affiliate links. I will receive a small amount from any purchases made.

Boyhood meets The Sun Is Also a Star in this unconventional love story about two teens bonded for life when they are born on the same day at the same time by award-winning author Meredith Russo!

Two kids, Morgan and Eric, are bonded for life after being born on the same day at the same time. We meet them once a year on their shared birthday as they grow and change: as Eric figures out who he is and how he fits into the world, and as Morgan makes the difficult choice to live as her true self. Over the years, they will drift apart, come together, fight, make up, and break up—and ultimately, realize how inextricably they are a part of each other.

As soon as I saw that Meredith Russo had a new book coming out I knew I had to read it. I will admit that when I saw the format was telling the story in snapshots from the two character’s birthdays I was incredibly nervous. I’ve tried to read books before that are set on only one day a year and it hasn’t worked for me. It’s a great concept but I never feel that I’m able to get to know the characters enough and that there’s not a consistent plot. Thankfully all of my fears were wrong when it came to Birthday.

Day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, that’s the way to do it.

birthday by meredith russo

Meredith Russo’s writing style is absolutely superb. Her words flow together to weave an intricate and compelling story so well. This isn’t a long book, but I was still surprised at the fact it only took me about three hours to read. We follow Eric and Morgan on each of their birthdays from the time they are thirteen through their eighteenth birthday; I loved that within these yearly sections it was broke down ever further into their own POVs that switched back and forth several times.

Eric and Morgan were relatable in many ways. I enjoyed being able to get inside their heads and see their thoughts and how they processed their emotions. By the end, both of them had grown so much, not only as individuals but also their relationship with each other. Eric and Morgan have an incredibly close friendship, but never once did I have a hard time telling them apart. Each has their own unique set of characteristics and the way they handle life.

Maybe that’s what life is about: surviving what you can’t control and clinging to the good things the winds whip up.

birthday by meredith russo

Birthday is going to make such a huge impact on lives. This own voices queer novel made me feel a lot of emotions and I really feel that it’s going to help many in the trans community. Meredith Russo is a vital voice that so many need, and I’m thankful that she is sharing pieces of herself with us. A lot of us need queer stories that end in total acceptance of who the characters are, and I’m so glad to say that this is one of them.

TL;DR: A hugely important ownvoices queer novel that is going to impact so many in a positive way. Meredith Russo’s words flow together to weave an intricate and compelling story that is quick to read.

A digital ARC was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Additionally, all quotes should be checked for accuracy against the final published novel.

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