by Selena Haynes
Birthday by Meredith Russo draws you in and you don’t want to put the book down. Being part of the LGBT+ community myself, I could understand the fear, anger, grief, sadness and happiness that envelops the main characters, Eric, and even more so, Morgan.
We embark on the journey of two young boys who have been part of each other’s lives since the day they were born. Perhaps it was fate, but their families became close friends as they waited out a rare, September blizzard in Tennessee at the hospital together. Sharing a birthday, Eric, Morgan and their families celebrate each year together. The book is written showing glimpses of each shared birthday from the perspectives that both Eric and Morgan have individually.
Birthday begins at the thirteenth birthday celebration. Anyone can attest to the changes and feelings that are experienced when you turn 13 or so, but, for Morgan, those changes and feelings began to overwhelm.
Morgan has come to the realization that he feels more like a girl than a boy. He feels like he could tell Eric, but can’t work up the courage to do it. On top of this discovery, Morgan is also dealing with the loss of his mother to cancer. Eric can sense that something is on Morgan’s mind, but can’t coax it out of him.
As each year progresses, you see Eric and Morgan experience adolescence and some growing apart. But, they always find a way back to each other on their birthday no matter what is going on. They share the deepest of bonds and love for one another.
By the time they reach the age of 16, Morgan has grown more distant and Eric has a girlfriend. Even Eric’s girlfriend couldn’t keep him from being there for Morgan on their birthday though. With anything that you keep bottled up, it will eventually explode and at this age is when we see Morgan almost die.
This leads up to Morgan finally being true to herself and sharing with the world who she is and no longer hiding.
What happens with Eric and Morgan? You will have to read the book to find out.
MEREDITH RUSSO was born, raised, and lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Her debut novel, If I Was Your Girl, won the Stonewall Award in 2016, as well as honors for the Walter Dean Myers Diversity Award and the Lambda Literary Award.
You can catch Meredith Russo for a discussion and signing of her new novel, Birthday at Parnassus Books this Friday, May 31st at 6:30 pm. For more details on the event visit https://www.parnassusbooks.net/event/ya-author-event-meredith-russo-author-birthday-and-if-i-was-your-girl