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The Meaning of Birds

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  1,215 ratings  ·  267 reviews
Before, Jessica has always struggled with anger issues, but come sophomore year that all changes when Vivi crashes into her life. As their relationship blossoms, Vivi not only helps Jess deal with her pain, she also encourages her to embrace her talent as an artist. And for the first time, it feels like the future is filled with possibilities. After In the midst of senior ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published April 16th 2019 by HarperTeen
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Jaye I know, so far away! But the wheels of traditional publishing run slow, and so did this author. ;) Hope it's worth the wait!…moreI know, so far away! But the wheels of traditional publishing run slow, and so did this author. ;) Hope it's worth the wait!(less)

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Average rating 3.92  · 
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 ·  1,215 ratings  ·  267 reviews

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Elle (ellexamines)
Jun 20, 2018 marked it as zzzzz-coverporn-etc
Shelves: x-coverporn
this cover is the gayest thing i've ever seen in my life, it even perfectly represents the fashion style of 97% of the sapphics I know Including Myself ...more
daph pink ♡
Look at that fucking cover?

It's so beautiful ❤️❤️( my gay heart can't stop myself from adding it to my tbr!)
Jun 21, 2018 marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2019-release
this book is gay culture, and so am i. that’s it. thanks for coming to my ted talk.
- ̗̀  jess  ̖́-
This book was so hard to read. Not because it was bad, but because it dealt with grief and the aftermath of loss. Jaye Robin Brown writes a really emotional, moving story about dealing with compounded grief - which is, like, really hard to deal with.

I related to Jess so much, honestly; I don't struggle with anger management, and I've never lost a girlfriend or close friend. But I can understand her reactions and lashing out and isolating herself because I've been in such a similar place before. 
Sara ➽ Ink Is My Sword
Nov 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Second: It is about queer love and is sapphic and the world needs more of those.
Lea (drumsofautumn)

The Meaning of Birds is a really beautiful, atmospheric Contemporary about first love, grief and how to continue life after losing the person you thought you'd be with forever.

“Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the point is not to stop doing the things that remind me of Vivi, but to find a way to ensure she lives through me, even if the future we painted together has been permanently gessoed over.”

I loved the way the story was structured. We get the story of how Jess and Vivi fa
Jun 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
”Stepping forward doesn’t mean I let her go. It means I take her with me.”

This is the type of story that will stick with you for many moons after you’ve finished reading the last of its beautifully crafted words.

The Meaning of Birds is a story about love, loss, grief, and emotions. Lots and lots of emotions.

Going on this journey with Jess was a journey that I won’t be able to forget for quite some time. It was filled with sadness, but even more so it was filled with a lot of hope. That no
. (not active on this account stop adding me)
full review on my blog

ARC kindly provided by Harper Teen in exchange for an honest review.

Content warning: homophobia, grief/loss of a loved one, sexual assault, repetitive use of the d slur, transphobia

I was apprehensive about picking this up because the author’s other novel, Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruits, had ableist themes that went ignored by a lot of reviewers. However, I was willing to give Brown another chance since I want to continue supporting sapphic novels (and the s
- ̗̀ DANY  ̖́- (danyreads)
Apr 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbt, 2019-reads, arc
. : ☾⋆ — 4 ★


ARC provided from the publisher via Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review (thank you HarperTeen & HarperCollins!!)

here’s the gist of it, guys and gals: The Meaning of Birds is everything History is All You Left Me wanted to be, but better. and also sapphic.

I love everything about this book. I love that it’s about a realistic and complex journey through grief, I love the genuine growth we see in Jess from the first chapter to
Jes Reads
May 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: rep
Short but full review can be found here: ...more
Aimee ♥ | Aimee, Always
omg this cover's too gorgeous how is this possible ...more
cw: transphobia, homophobia, loss of a loved one, grief, death, alcohol use, drug use, sexual assault, fat shaming, ace/arophobia,

The story:

So there were a bunch of things I liked about this book and also a bunch of things I did not like. The general concept of the story and the writing structure was super good to me. Basically, this story is about Jess and her relationship with her girlfriend Vivi. Vivi unexpectedly dies from an illness and this story follows two separate timelines: before and
Dec 02, 2020 marked it as to-read
this sounds like it's going to be sad as heck
and you know me- i need to inflict post-reading sadness onto myself :)
Oh man, I cried a few times at this. Jess's grief was just so palpable, and you really felt the life that she and Vivi expected to make together. And I like that Jess was an angry girl; I feel like girls don't get to be irrationally* angry in YA. The blacksmithing, having a mentor who was also sort of a window into what her relationship might've looked like someday, and the fact that she was iffy on college were all nice touches you don't see a lot. I went into this book assuming it was a Romanc ...more
Ellie (faerieontheshelf)
"Oh god. Stork rhymes with dork. Which I am. Because there’s no way you wanted all that trivia. Sorry, I’m ridiculously into birds. It’s a sickness.”

me [before reading]: you betcha I’m ready for some soft sapphic goodness!!

me [after reading]: oh my god my emotions holy shit this book was not as fluffy as expected where are the fucking tissues

I really loved this book! It was beautifully drawn look at grief, filled with a great cast. Greer and Eliza (an older lesbian couple who come in partway th
Amber Smith
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love this book so much--Jess and Vivi's relationship was so beautiful and true. There were so many parts that resonated deep in my bones. Not only their relationship, but also the rawness of Jess's grief. I haven't cried over in book in so long, but that's how real these characters were--I loved them and didn't want the story to end (although the ending was perfect). A must-read for any who has loved and lost, anyone who has had to try to figure out how to navigate grief and healing. One of my ...more
Mar 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I cried too many times to count.
Apr 19, 2019 rated it liked it
......... not gonna lie i'm kinda disappointed ...more
Emily (emilykatereads)
Oh my god, has this book got me in a web of feelings. It broke my heart over and over again, while simultaneously filling it with fluff and happiness. And then to top it all off, rage at how problematic some of it was that I wanted to just throw this book across the room and give up with it.

But I couldn’t give up. I was absolutely hooked. I fell in love with Jess and Vivi’s story, but I’m also here to tell you that there’s some big fuckin red flags in this book that made me really hella uncomfor
Read this book if you like: young adult, lgbtqia, sexual exploration, coping with loss, what-ifs, sapphic reads

2019 Popsugar Reading Challenge #43—An "own voices" book
2.9/5 stars.
Because 3 feels too much and 2.5 feels too less.

This one took so long to finish. The book is ridden with grief and I've been reading a lot of books about grief and loss of loved ones. Jess lost her girlfriend Vivi, whom she's been dating for 2 years. 2 years of knowing a person, making memories with them, loving the little things they do makes getting over it not easy. Infact getting over a loved one's death is impossible. The grief is still there but you just learn how to carry the
Allyson (AllyEmReads)
Another raw and emotional story from one of my favorite queer authors, dealing with grief, loss, and love. Brown really knows all the right buttons to press in order to pull all of that emotion out of you. I love her writing and always will. The only reason this isn’t a five star is because I didn’t like some of the things Jess did, even if it was realistic (mostly I didn’t actually like how she treated Vivi and felt like it wasn’t truly addressed enough)
3 stars
TW: death of parent, death of loved one, grief, sexual assault, death, alcohol use, drug use, homophobia, extensive use of d*ke, fat shaming
Rep: latinx lesbian MC with anger issues, mga LI w/asthma

The Writing
The writing style of this book felt very simplistic and juvenile to me, but the upside to that was that it definitely gave the main character a strong voice, even when that voice felt like it didn't really fit the character. I could definitely point out some missed opportunities
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
Okay I was really excited for this book when I first heard about it but unfortunately I was very disappointed. At first the story was interesting and I saw a lot of myself in Jess as a character but then Jess started to make some biphobic comments. When Vivi suggested that she could have been interested in guys had she had not been dating Jess, Jess got irritated at her which really fucking irritated me. Bi/pan people exist y’all. My other main problem with this is that Jess repeatedly said that ...more
Aug 08, 2020 rated it did not like it
Read this book because it deals with grief and I liked it (enough) but what I liked is definitely outweighed by what I didn't like. I didnt like Jess, even in the Before... Also there was a few stereotypes/tropes, one being Jess having Mexican ancestry ("dad was half and then giving her anger issues.

CW: death of parent/loved one, homophobia, bi/panphobobia, ace/arophobia, transphobia, slurs (multiple use of d*), slut shaming, sexual assault, stereotypes
Aug 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
To read a full review check it out here.

A nuanced story of anger and grief (and birds).
Jan 05, 2021 marked it as to-read
The cover is 🌈 🦋
Jovana Autumn
I have put off writing a review for this book because of two reasons.

One, it was a hard book to read, being that it deals with losing somebody and dealing with the grief that comes with the loss. I have lost a family member a few years ago and even though the main character lost her significant other, I could relate to her pain.

Reason number two is that I was in a melancholic mood right after I finished the book and that was not in tune with the hope and positive message that the book closes off
Oct 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
'And if I'm extra lucky, maybe one day, I'll meet someone who will let me teach them about birds'

It's a solid four star book, but I need to be honest - I burst into tears during reading the last sentence, and there's no other way than give it 5⭐ for emotions
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
I really enjoyed this LGBTQ contemporary novel. It's not something I'd usually pick up but I have to say I really loved it.
I loved the characters and the layout of the story, I had tears in my eyes multiple times throughout this book.
I'd definitely recommend this.
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Jaye Robin Brown, or JRo to her friends, has been many things in her life--jeweler, mediator, high school art teacher--but is now living the full-time writer life. She lives with her wife, dogs, and horses in a sweet house in the NC woods where she hopes to live happily ever after. She is the author of NO PLACE TO FALL, WILL'S STORY, GEORGIA PEACHES AND OTHER FORBIDDEN FRUIT and THE MEANING OF BIR ...more

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