Review: Birthday by Meredith Russo
At the beginning of the month, I famously claimed this was going to be my last attempt at reading young adult. Well here we go again...
Morgan and Eric are best friends that were born on the same day. We follow what happens on their birthday every year between the ages of thirteen and eighteen. We see them over time as they change and grow; especially Morgan, as she makes the difficult decision to live as her true self.
Who would have thought it? Hard hitting young adult that I loved?! I found it! My classic issue with hard hitting YA is I feel it promises a lot it but always falls flat. I expect if I read an adult book that was a trans coming out story, I would prefer that. And I will eternally recommend This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel. However, I truly adored this wonderful story. The characters felt well developed and were loveable in every way. Each chapter was alternating between the perspectives of Eric and Morgan so we got an insight into their family lives as well as their developing feelings towards one another (and themselves). What I was most impressed by was how sensitive and wonderfully compassionate these characters were towards one another. As soon as Morgan revealed she was a transgender woman, Eric immediately referred to her with the correct pronouns. The way that I loved Exciting Times for not questioning bisexuality, this book does not question being transgender.
I am never one to seek out a romance story. Perhaps this would be more classified as a contemporary, as a lot of the subject matters discussed are more about self discovery and acceptance rather than romance. But this stands out as a wonderful romance amongst all the ones that I have read.
If you are looking for a sweet young adult with characters you will fall in love with, look no further. Equally, if you care to diversify your reading to include more LGBTQIA+ characters, starting with a YA is a wonderful introduction.
I didn't feel hard done by the way I was expecting; I think part of the reason is I haven't read many trans stories, so a young adult one didn't fall flat. But it's always a good sign when you reach the last 50 pages and you wish it would last longer, and that's exactly how I felt reading Birthday.
Rating: 4.5 stars
Publication Date: 21 May 2019
Publisher: Usborne Publishing
Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
# of Pages: 300