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Boyhood meets The Sun Is Also a Star in this unconventional love story 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.

288 pages, Hardcover

First published May 21, 2019

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About the author

Meredith Russo

7 books1,441 followers
MEREDITH RUSSO lives in Brooklyn with her cat Shadow and probably more books than is responsible for a New York apartment. When she isn't upsetting Yankees by smiling and making eye contact on the 3 train she spends her time lifting weights, playing fighting games, blowing up the mic at karaoke, glancing anxiously at her TBR pile, and, of course, working on her next book.

Meredith's debut novel, If I Was Your Girl, released in 2016 to rave reviews and multiple awards. Her second novel, Birthday, came out in 2019. Both novels explore themes of gender identity, sexuality, poverty, trauma, and mental illness in Southern Appalachia, though they're lighter and way less bummer-y than that list might imply. Her essays and shorter fiction can be found in The New York Times, Elle, Meet Cute, (Don't) Call Me Crazy, Radical Hope: Letters of Love and Resistance in Dangerous Times, and Out Now: Queer We Go Again.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,354 reviews
Profile Image for Kai Spellmeier.
Author 6 books13.6k followers
May 25, 2020
I'm not going to rate this book. I thought a long and hard time about whether I should read this or not and I'm glad I did. It is an important novel about a trans teenager written by a trans author and I truly believe it comes from a good place. It was heartfelt and emotional and it hurt.

What I cannot condone, though, is the author's own history of abuse. Reading about violence and abuse leaves a very bitter aftertaste when you know the author, too, is an abuser. It's not just hypocritical, it's straight up criminal and wrong.

I don't encourage hate and I am not going to stir up harmful "drama" and add to cancel culture especially against someone whose identity is questioned and threatened 24/7 already. If you want to know more, google is your friend.
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,484 reviews29.4k followers
April 27, 2019
Meredith Russo, this book absolutely blew me away.

Eric and Morgan have known each other since birth. That's not hyperbole—they were born on the same day in the same hospital, and there was a snowstorm, so both families were snowed in. Their families were close, at least until Morgan's mother died of cancer. But the boys have been best friends their entire lives.

As their 13th birthday approaches, Morgan knows things are changing. What Morgan knows more than anything is that he isn't whom he's supposed to be. He's a football coach's son in a small, rural Tennessee town, and he's trapped in the wrong body. More than that: he's a girl trapped in a boy's body, and he doesn't know what to do.

When you realize a fundamental truth about yourself, you want to share it with those you care about. But how can he share this truth? He's already bullied in school, so that doesn't worry him, at least not as much as the reactions of those he loves. Can he withstand losing his father? Or worse, can he survive losing Eric?

Eric knows that something is wrong with Morgan. Something is different. There's more of a distance between them. He knows the insults that his father and his brothers say about Morgan when he is not around, but he is not giving up on their lifelong friendship. Morgan is more important to him than perhaps anything else.

Told in glimpses spanning six birthdays, Birthday is a powerfully poignant, eye-opening story about self-acceptance, family, friendship, love, and grief, and all of the obstacles that stand in the way of trying to come to terms with who we are and the life we deserve to live. I read this entire book in a few hours, and it will undoubtedly be one that sticks with me for long afterward.

Meredith Russo's prose is so beautiful and evocative, and the emotions it generated made my heart hurt. I'll admit there were times that I found myself reading while trying to cover my eyes at the same time because I was so worried for these characters and what might happen to them, wondered how close to real life Russo might take the plot. This is one of those books that I'd love to see a sequel for because I already miss the characters and want to know where their 19th, 20th, and subsequent birthdays will find them.

I've commented many times before that I am so happy that YA books today deal with so many important issues. Birthday never feels manipulative or sensationalized, it feels utterly authentic and it touched my heart. I hope this book finds its way into the hands of those who need it most, and those who can learn from the journeys taken by the characters.

Flatiron Books provided me an advance copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making it available!

The book will be published May 21, 2019.

See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.

Check out my list of the best books I read in 2018 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2018.html.

You can follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.
Profile Image for Tucker  (TuckerTheReader).
908 reviews1,597 followers
September 21, 2020
well, folks we may just have our next A.J. Finn

article 1

article (reddit thread) 2

Article 3 - note: The Post Millennial has a problematic background and transphobic posts. Enter at your own risk. Their opinions and beliefs do not reflect my own.

Art vs. Artist

Article 4

Article 5

I urge you to read this article before reading any of Russo's books.

none of these articles are absolute or definite and I do not stand by any offensive terms or language that may be used within them

i'm not trying to completely dissuade you from reading this author's books. i just want to make people aware of this so they can make an informed decision.

Trigger warning for domestic abuse and suicide

Domestic Abuse Hotline [https://www.thehotline.org/]
Suicide Prevention Hotline [https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/]

| Goodreads | Blog | Pinterest | LinkedIn | YouTube | Instagram
Profile Image for demi. ♡.
206 reviews277 followers
November 18, 2019
❥ 5 / 5 stars

I read this one without knowing anything but it’s a story about two friends who were born on the same day, includes LGBT and ...... that’s it. So, when I discovered that Morgan was a trans, I was completely shocked (but in a good way) because I’ve never read a single book that includes a transgender as the main character before. It’s a definitely brand new experience and also a good start for me. It makes me understand those who are transgenders much more than I did before, knowing how they think and how they feel, especially when others talk to them as if they are strange or abnormal.

It really hurts, to be honest. Even if I’m not the one who’s being treated like that, I can feel what they feel.

But seriously, no matter who you are or what your gender is, you are perfectly normal. Don’t let others make you feel bad because of what they say or how they act around you. Because the abnormal one is not you, it’s them, those who make fun of others’ gender and think it’s funny though it isn’t funny at all.

P.S. If you ask me, I certainly recommend reading this one but before starting it, please beware of some trigger warnings. (ex. death of a loved one, parental abuse, underage drinking, suicide attempt, homophobia, transphobia, depression)
Profile Image for Gabby.
1,228 reviews26.6k followers
May 2, 2019
Huge thanks to Flat Iron Books for the ARC!
Holy crap, I loved this book. I loved it so much more than I thought it would. I finished it one one day and it’s been a while since I’ve done that. I just absolutely adored Morgan and Eric.

The premise of this book is super vague so I’m going to try to keep this review as vague as possible - but wow. My fucking heart hurts and this book is so powerful and so important. I love the way this story is told, we get to follow these two characters every year on their birthday and only on their birthday for six years. It is such a great storytelling format and I think it works perfectly for this story!

I felt so much for these characters and I cried at least five times during this story, especially at the end. 😭 I am such a sucker for the dead parent writing their child letters and this book had that and it made me feel ALL THE FEELS.

I read If I Was Your Girl by this author a few years ago and I really enjoyed that book as well, but this one has become a new all time favorite. I’ll definitely be reading everything this author publishes in the future.

This is one of the best YA books I’ve read in a while. It’s been a long time since a YA book has impacted me like this. I think the description of saying this book is Boyhood meets The Sun Is Also a Star is completely accurate, and I loved both of those stories as well.
August 12, 2019
Audio – 4.5 stars
Story – 5 +++ stars

I don’t really have the words to review this book, but I do have two words for the author, Meredith Russo…THANK YOU!!!

As a mother who very recently found out that her 13-year-old child is FTM trans, this story and the interview at the end between the narrator and the author (who are both MTF trans) proved to be more enlightening than any pamphlet could ever be.

The story may be fictional, but it comes from a place of truth. Even though Morgan and Eric have been friends since birth, the story starts when they’re both 13 and continues on, in time jumps, to their 18th birthday. In the interview the author explains the reasoning behind that structure. The explanation gave me an even better perspective and appreciation for the story.

To say the story is highly emotional doesn't cut it. I needed this book. Both of the author’s books have been on my tbr for weeks, but it was, of course, the high praise from GR friends, Jan and Moony that reminded me that this treasure needed to be read NOW! Thank you, ladies! ❤❤ GR is good for something, right??!!
Profile Image for Trina (Between Chapters).
858 reviews3,756 followers
August 2, 2019
Absolutely a favorite of the year. I was immediately invested in these characters and loved the format of only seeing them once a year on their birthdays, seeing how their lives had changed since we last checked in.

I did not expect the grief element in this book. Morgan's mom died from cancer when she was 12, and my mom died of cancer when I was 12. To say that Morgan's feelings hit home is an understatement. Her mother wrote letters before she died, and so on the other side of things, as a mom, I connected with the feelings of wanting to see your child happy, whoever they are. I actually sobbed while reading her mom's words and I don't often cry when reading. I genuinely felt like the last letter was something I needed to hear from my own mother, thank you Meredith for those words. <3

Audiobook: Narration was fine with the exception of the Tennessee accent, which felt inauthentic. I'm from TN so I kept re-saying a lot of things in my head trying to correct the accent. Took me out of it, but if you aren't familiar with the accent then I expect this wouldn't bother you. I would still recommend the audio!

tw: suicide attempt, self medicating with alcohol, homophobic and transphobic slurs, Morgan is constantly misgendered before she is out and she expresses her discomfort with that, Morgan has a lot of internalized transphobia and self hate at first. (Although this is authentic, it could be triggering for people who are still in that head space.)
Profile Image for Jasmine from How Useful It Is.
1,290 reviews341 followers
May 12, 2019
I started reading Birthday on 5/10/2019 and finished it on 5/11/2019. This book is a fantastic read! As soon as I read Morgan’s view I felt heartbroken for him because of his mom. Gosh, I cried so much reading this book! I also really like Eric too. Eric’s such a good person and a caring friend despite having those jerks for brothers and dad. Their struggles felt so real and the secrets they live with makes me ache for them. Both of the main characters are well liked. I love Morgan’s birthday letters from his mom. That is such a good idea to remember her by.

This book is told in the first person point of view following Morgan and Eric. They have been best friends since birth and they have always celebrated their birthdays together. Both boys went through life doing what their dads wanted even though they felt unhappy with it. Eric wanted to play the guitar while Morgan struggled with who he is on the inside. This book is organized by their yearly birthdays, starting from 13 to 18. At each birthday, readers learned of their struggles, from feelings to friendships to family.

Birthday is very well written and a heart-wrenching read! I’m actually surprised by Morgan’s dad toward the end and would have really love to have read their conversation when Morgan come clean to him about his secret. The self destruction was hard to read through as well as the bullying, but people do have their own opinions and they don’t like it when someone is different. I like Morgan’s worries about acceptance from the world when he decides to make a change so that he can feel comfortable with himself from inside to outside. This book is a couldn’t put down and I highly recommend everyone to read it.

Pro: fast paced, page turner, friendship, family, couldn’t put down, identity struggles

Con: none

I rate it 5 stars!

***Disclaimer: Many thanks to Flatiron Books for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.

Jasmine at www.howusefulitis.wordpress.com for more details
Profile Image for Kevin (Irish Reader).
274 reviews3,933 followers
October 31, 2019
You know when you read a book and you just know it’s going to have a long lasting impression on you, that’s what this book has done for me. Amazing

CW/TW: Grief, Homophobia, Transphobia, Suicide, Abusive Parent.

This book follows Morgan and Eric, who are best friends and also share the same birthday. Morgan’s mother has recently passed, and they are struggling with grief and also beginning to question their gender. Eric’s father takes out his anger on his wife and sons. Morgan and Eric have such different lives but their friendship is stronger than ever, always ensuring they spend their matching birthday together.

I absolutely loved this book so much. It was such an impactful book for me and I just loved every minute of it. I flew through this book and I just couldn’t put it down. The characters were amazing and I grew attached to them so quickly. I felt their frustrations, their sadness and I think that just testifies how great Meredith Russo’s writing style is. Highly recommend!

I also did a reading vlog video on YouTube where I read this book and shared initials thoughts, you can check it out here if you want to know more of my thoughts: https://youtu.be/9L86tztxROE
Profile Image for Moony Eliver.
305 reviews160 followers
August 12, 2019
Oof. This one’s hard to talk about. Here’s why…

I highlighted 2 lines in Birthday. TWO. Normally I would have at least 20. But people, I forgot I was reading. I didn’t reach out to highlight for the same reason I don’t reach out to highlight the air when a friend in front of me says something great.

(Although…hmm…put a pin in that. Someone please make this capability??)

I wasn’t reading a novel, I was living Morgan’s life. I wasn’t seeing into her head, I WAS her. With the added bonus of also getting the POV of the boy who loved her, who innately saw her even when he didn’t realize he did.

That’s how brilliant Russo’s writing is. She is ridiculously good.

That’s not to say this book is easy. It is anything but easy. I know there’s no way I can ever really experience what it is to be a trans teenager growing up in small-town Tennessee, but I feel like I’ve just decidedly come as close to it as possible. And that experience doesn’t come in fluffy. My heart broke and mended more times than I could count, and I laughed some but cried more.

Midway through, I came as close as I ever have to reaching out to a friend for assurance that it would end well. If you know me at all, you know I do not do this. I’m as anti-spoiler as it gets. And I managed to push forward without doing it, but I was so vulnerable to what the next page would hold that having that safety net tempted me like never before.

So, tl;dr — if you can stand for an exceptionally well-written book to take you through the wringer, I cannot possibly recommend this one highly enough.
Profile Image for Camryn.
Author 5 books793 followers
November 22, 2018
I feel like crying. I couldn’t put this down because I fell in love with both Eric and Morgan. This broke my heart and twisted it and made me tear up. But it was also so triumphant. This is going to save lives.
Profile Image for Madalyn (Novel Ink).
494 reviews825 followers
April 20, 2019
I’m just sitting here crying??? This was so wonderful, and I think Morgan’s story (and Eric’s) will resonate with so many people. The format— Birthday is told through snapshots of the two main characters’ birthdays from age 13-18– was executed to perfection. The Southern small-town setting was all-too realistic. Birthday is a great reminder that coming out stories are still important and that there are so many coming out narratives that still need to be told.

Content warnings: death of a parent (not on page); suicidal ideation; suicide attempt; alcoholism; homophobia (challenged); transphobia (challenged); parental abuse
Profile Image for Sara.
369 reviews321 followers
July 1, 2019
Wow. This was some book.
I loved the characters, i loved the concept and i loved the execution.
Profile Image for h o l l i s .
2,402 reviews1,850 followers
April 6, 2019
BIRTHDAY blew me away.

"I don't think we have much choice in who we turn out to be, as much as we might want to."

I honestly don't even know what to say. But my god. I was choking back the sobs by page thirty and that more or less was what I did throughout the rest of the book, too. And just thinking about the journey makes me want to cry.

What do you do when you can't swim up, you can't swim down, and staying put will suffocate you?

As always I went in with only a very very vague idea as to what to expect and as a result I was totally unprepared for.. everything. I loved the subject matter, I hurt from the agony of some of Morgan and Eric's experiences, their struggles, but their enduring connection, the evolution of it, was just so heartbreakingly beautiful. Equally lovely was the way in which the story was told. I've read a book or two like this before but never has it suited the story as well as it did for this one.

I should have so much to say about this because I loved it so much but I'm honestly just at a loss and a puddle of feelings, so. Here's a great book with a terrible review to recommend it.

4.75 "I don't know if anyone will love me the way that I really am" stars

** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **
Profile Image for Romie.
1,073 reviews1,273 followers
September 27, 2019
I am not going to lie, this is one of the hardest books I've ever read. it was very dark, it was painful to read at times, but most importantly this book is hopeful. so hopeful. I cannot recommend it enough. I truly cannot. this is one of the best & most important books you'll ever read, and I am so thankful for Meredith Russo. we need more ownvoices transgender books. trans lives do matter.

trigger warnings (please take care): internalised transphobia, homophobia & transphobia from other people, depression, suicide attempt, death of a loved one by cancer, alcohol

(also I want to say that I'm putting this book on my mental health shelf for the depression rep, being transgender is NOT an illness)
Profile Image for Sara.
198 reviews144 followers
March 19, 2020
This book is so important and good🤩 , I personally don't know a ton about people who are transgender or the LGBTQ in general but this book gave me some insight and now I know how important this book is to make people aware for these important topics ,100% recommend , 3 ⭐⭐⭐
Profile Image for Sophie "Beware Of The Reader".
1,289 reviews339 followers
August 31, 2019
Morgan had to find who he was and when he did he could not show it to anyone. He had to live for years, suffocating. Either trying to live as a girl just to hide it again; either embracing his masculinity, wearing it like a mask until everything shattered inside.

Add to his/her suffering the yearly letters left by his deceased mother and to be read at every birthday and I was a sobbing mess most of the time!

This book hit me hard.

I am someone who will empathize with the character, live his life, suffer with him if the author does it right.

Well it is to believed that Meredith Russo is extremely gifted as I walked in Morgan shoes all along, crying inside, raging against the unfairness of the situation.

I read it till the wee hours of the morning and ended up with puffy eyes, a congested nose and not one tissue left, thankful for being more educated and aware of some transgender ordeals and sufferings.


I am no writer.

English is not my mother language.

As I really, really, really want you to read this book, I will use the praise of professionals to convince you. I know this is not my usual modus operandi and maybe you will think it is a little bit too convenient. But as I am rather speechless and can testimony that what they are saying is perfectly true ....

"Rarely have we seen a story like Meredith Russo's BIRTHDAY...One of the great wonders of Y.A. fiction is its power to create new narratives that replace fear and hatred with empathy and acceptance, and to show young people a path for the future that's better than what we've seen. Russo's narrative expression of the need to live one's truth, and the option of choosing love through it all, is a valuable reminder of what really matters."
New York Times Book Review

"Birthday is a luminous and profoundly moving coming-of-age story of love, family, friendship, destiny, and the struggle to live as one’s truest self. It will break your heart, piece it back together even stronger, and do it again and again until the last page."
— Jeff Zentner, Morris Award-winning author of The Serpent King
And the one that I could have written ;-) “I couldn’t put this book down. Birthday broke my heart and made me tear up, but it was also so triumphant. This book will save lives.”
— Camryn Garrett, author of Full Disclosure

Have you read it? Would you like to read such book?
Thanks for reading!

Find me on:
Wordpress: Beware Of The Reader
Facebook: Beware Of The Reader
Facebook group : Beware Book Boyfriends Alert
Instagram: @bewareofthereader
Twitter: @BewareOffReader
Profile Image for Dannii Elle.
2,032 reviews1,422 followers
September 8, 2019
I spent the most glorious weekend traversing London and the Harry Potter Studios with a bunch of book lovers. One of my highlights was finally getting to visit the renowned Gays the Word bookstore. This isn't a review of the shop so I'll keep my ravings about it brief, but if you ever get the chance to visit do not hesitate to do so as it is an LGBT+ HEAVEN!

I knew I was going to purchase a book from the store but had no preconceptions which one I would pick. Almost immediately upon entering, this cover and the rainbow sprayed-edges caught my eye. I read little contemporary but have seen a few rave reviews so picked it up on a whim.

The next day I had a six hour journey home from London and decided to begin reading this book. I'd like to say I did not put it down but that would be a lie. I was forced to put it down as multiple times I felt tears threatening to spill. Literally every ten pages or so the events would spiral into heart-wrenching or uplifting territory and I'd have to gaze out the window until the emotions had faded, like a bad actress from a harrowing movie.

This book is told over the course of six Birthdays and is split between the perspectives of the two best friends who share the same day of birth, Eric and Morgan. Both are born inside a male body but Morgan doesn't feel his insides match his exterior. Over the years we see their friendship sway and the focus is largely on Morgan attempting to, in cycles, deny and accept her truth.

This was a painful read and comes with a plethora of trigger warnings such as but also the most adorable and heart warming story alongside it. There were times when my soul felt crushed and this was immediately followed by a warm hug of a scene that made it all better again.

This is an incredibly important read and Russo draws from her own experiences to create a graceful and sympathetic story that highlights issues facing the trans community. I would urge everyone to read it for both this reason and for the fact that Eric and Morgan are now my favourite fictional duo and I would literally die to protect their little cinnamon roll hearts.
Profile Image for lazybookconqueror.
411 reviews88 followers
April 18, 2021
4.5 Stars.

This book feels important.
This book is important.

From time to time you stumble upon something that truly marks you. Things that you will keep with you as long as you live. Birthday will always occupy a space of my mind.

I don't want to talk too much about the story because I went in a bit blind and I loved it.

It's a love story, a story of acceptance, of family, bullying, identity, friendship, and freedom.

My only tiny complaint is that I wanted more from it. It ends on a beautiful note, but I was so invested in the journey that I wish we got to see them beyond their 18 years of age.

This book is important.
Go read it.

More reviews in the Blog
Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,084 reviews17.4k followers
Shelved as 'zzzzz-coverporn-etc'
August 22, 2020
[TW for sexual assault & domestic abuse.]
Meredith Russo has been credibly accused of raping and abusing her spouse, a crime she has seemingly confessed to over email yet publicly denied. Here are two sources (both strike fairly bad tones). You can also find her booking information.
She has stated this is all a lie by her ex on twitter. It should be noted that her ex identifies as nonbinary and seems to indicate in the first one they do not want this information weaponized by terfs. Here is their go fund me. I do not think rape and domestic abuse are forgivable crimes, generally believe in believing the victim, and would encourage all of you to think about who you are supporting.
Profile Image for Lea (drumsofautumn).
619 reviews626 followers
September 26, 2019
Video Review

Birthday is one of the most heartbreaking and simultaneously hopeful novels I have read in a long time. Meredith Russo had a perfect balance between creating a realistic novel with all the hard hitting, devastating truths of life while giving us an ending that is so full of hope and light that it still leaves you with a wonderful, warm feeling.

“Maybe that's what life is about: suriving what you can't control and clinging to the good things the winds whip up.”

While this novel hugely deals with Morgan being transgender, at its core this is definitely a love story.
Russo wrote this story in a way where it's very clear that Eric and Morgan fall in love with each other early on. Eric doesn't fall for Morgan all of a sudden because she tells him she's a girl or because she's taking hormones, the love has been there all along. It's just that as soon as Morgan comes out, it is like the puzzle pieces finally all fit together.
The relationship between the two is so beautiful and definitely one of my favourites of this year so far. It was wonderful to see Eric always support Morgan, even before he understand or knows what's going on with her. It was also absolutely beautiful to see Eric use she/her pronouns immediately after Morgan comes out to him!

“All I know is that I've never felt like this before, that under the things about her body she might not like, she is a girl, vibrating the same hue as any other. And she's more than any girl, any friend, any girlfriend. She's Morgan. My Morgan.”

This book deals a lot with gender identity and presentation in a way that is so easy to comprehend, even for people who are not in any way involved in the queer community and don't know much about being trans.
Sometimes I definitely had some issues with the way this book talked about gender, with things that seem typically female or typically male but at the same time I also always understood where the characters where coming from with their thoughts and feelings.

There are tons of trigger and content warnings for this book and it is no way a book I would call fluffy. Again, the ending is wonderfully hopeful and leaves you with such a warm and fuzzy feeling but please be very cautious going into this book.
Trigger and content warnings include transphobia, bullying including physical abuse, homophobia and the use of the f-slur several times, death of a parent (not on page but still dealt with heavily), cancer, parental abuse, depression, self-harm specifically in the form of hitting things and (not on page) overextensive physical workout, thinking being trans is a disease, alcohol abuse, suicide attempt and suicidal ideation.
There's also a slight instant that reads like aro/acephobia because Morgan has issues figuring out her sexuality before she really understands she is trans and she thinks she's broken because she doesn't really wanna be with anyone. It makes a lot of sense in the context of the story and is DEFINITELY not meant to be aro- or acephobic but I wanted to warn people regardless!

“Some girls are tall, some girls have broad shoulders, some girls have flat chests and I guess I never thought about it before, but if you're a girl, then some girls have whatever you have.”

While Morgan's depression is obviously very tied to her gender identity, this is a novel that describes how depression feels so very well. I think that many people will relate to Morgan's mental illness and for me it was one of the best descriptions of depression I have seen in any YA novel.

I also thought this book showed a really interesting issue that many queer people will have experienced or felt before and I've never really seen expressed in a book. There's this feeling of being scared to come out because even though you know the person will accept and love you, you've seen them act shitty towards other queer people or seen them laugh or make a joke about queer people and it just forever makes you scared. Even when you've come out to them and they have accepted you, this moment stands out to you forever and you will always question how accepting that person truly is.

But we don't only see Morgan struggle. While her storyline is obviously a big theme in this book, Eric's homelife is much more complicated than it seems at first. While he comes from a wealthy family and has a seemingly great life, we realize quickly that it's not all fine and dandy.
Both Eric's brother and dad are just plain assholes and behave terribly towards him and Morgan. I loved how the storyline diverged eventually though, where his dad just stays terrible and we realize that there are some people who don't want to and will never change but we also have the case of his brother, who comes around later in life.
This perfectly portrays the balance between devastating and hopeful that I love about this novel.

“It was kind of hard to be around them, at first. To watch them ignore the ways their bodies and voices betrayed them. But every month I see a little bit more of the beauty in these people like me. It feels like I'm on the cusp of something, a chrysalis just on the verge of cracking.”

The one thing that was a little bit strange for me is that I don't really understand when this novel is set. Let's say if Morgan and Eric turn 18 this year, this novel starts in 2014, on their thirteenth birthday. But there are things referenced that honestly weren't a thing anymore in 2014, especially for teens, like CDs and DVD rental services that send you DVDs in the mail. Also Morgan's mother recorded video messages for Morgan's birthday and they're still taped on a VHS camcorder? This was just so strange to me and easily could've been avoided by just clearly saying which year it was. Without knowing, I was honestly just constantly thrown off.
Also Morgan becomes a vlogger at the end of the book and while one of your videos CAN reach one million views even if you only have 5k subscribers, it is highly unlikely and certainly doesn't happen EVERY Sunday with such a small subscriber count. This easily could've been researched and changed.

Overall I absolutely loved this book with all its ups and downs and flaws. It it so emotional and a beautiful love story with some truly devastating hits. If you can handle the content, I think this is a must-read!

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I received an ARC through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for Rina Pride.
273 reviews76 followers
June 4, 2021
Livros com personagens trans são MUITO NECESSÁRIOS! É muito importante entender pessoas trans, eu ainda tenho muito para aprender, é sempre bom evoluir mentalmente e aprender mais e mais. Birthday foi um livro muito angustiante, foi angustiante ver tudo que Morgan passou para se aceitar como garota trans, imagino que na vida real tem pessoas passando pelo mesmo sofrimento de se entender e se aceitar, muitos acham que o mais difícil é fazer às pessoas compreender identidade de gênero, mas o mais difícil deve ser aceitação de si mesmo sobre ser trans, Morgan nasceu como menino mas sempre se sentiu uma menina, foi difícil dele aceitar que seu exterior não condizia com seu interior, acho que essa é a luta inicial, depois tem outras e outras. Trans, gays, bi, todos nós temos uma luta inicial de aceitação e quando entendemos sobre nós mesmos é que damos o passo inicial para retirar o peso da nossa alma. Eu chorei lendo birthday, mas sorri no final. O arco-íris aparece para todos, é uma luta difícil mas não podemos desistir 🌈
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