Author: Meredith Russo
Publisher: Usborne Publishing Ltd.
Release Date: May 31, 2019
Page Length: 300
Age Range: YA
CAWPILE Rating: 7.93/10
Goodreads Synopsis: Meet Eric and Morgan.
Born on the same day, at the same time, in the same place. They’ve always shared this one day together, but as they grow up they begin to grow apart.
Everyone expects Eric to get a football scholarship, but no one knows he’s having second thoughts.
Former quarterback Morgan feels utterly alone, as she wrestles with the difficult choice to live as her true self.
Both of them are struggling to be the person they know they are. Who better to help than your best friend?
Told on one day every year, over six years, this is a story about how change pulls people apart… and how love brings them back together.
An LGBTQ+ YA One Day perfect for fans of Love, Simon, Birthday is a beautiful love story by the best-selling #ownvoices author of If I Was Your Girl.
Content Warning: Homophobia, Bullying, Attempted Suicide, Depression, Death of a love one, toxic masculinity, internalized transphobia, alcoholism
I’ve read Meredith’s other book, If I Was Your Girl, and let’s start out with this is not of the same tone. Both follow a transgender character, but that’s almost where the comparisons stop. In Birthday we follow both Eric and Morgan on their birthday over a number of years. On each day we get to see where their friendship is sitting and a overall general idea on how their year has passed. This was another book that I had to take some time to think before being able to write somewhat of a coherent review – although I’m not even sure I’ll be able to get everything down (mostly because of spoilers).
I liked that we got both perspectives in this book. We got to experience how Morgan was feeling inside and how she was internalizing a lot of her feelings. Plus we got to experience how that was perceived by Eric and how it affected him. This book has a much darker tone that I was expecting going in and a lot more emotions (especially compared to the overall feeling I got from If I Was Your Girl). It was also nice to get the perspective of a transgender girl prior to and post transition. The heartache that I felt throughout this book was not one I was expecting. Yes, I expected some difficult topics, but the amount of hurt within this book was beyond. Morgan not only had to grapple with bullying of others but also herself on top of coping with grief.
The families of both Eric and Morgan had a large impact on both of the boys. I could not stand Eric’s family, although there is some resolution to some of them in the end. Morgan’s family though – oh wow their struggles! Losing Morgan’s mom so early had clearly hit them hard. Their coping was definitely not healthy and they seemed to lose their closeness because of it.
I believe this book will be very impactful to a number of people. If you enjoyed If I Was Your Girl then I definitely say pick this one up. If you love a more hard hitting contemporary this I think you’ll enjoy this too.