On My Bookshelf: Birthday by Meredith Russo

July 15, 2019

Birthday by Meredith Russo is a story about gender identity that needs to be told to and read by young people.The plot structure concept is highly unique. Narration alternates between two best friends on their shared birthday over a period of six years. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.
The basic plot from Amazon: Two best friends. A shared birthday. Six years...

ERIC: There was the day we were born. There was the minute Morgan and I decided we were best friends for life. The years where we stuck by each other’s side―as Morgan’s mom died, as he moved across town, as I joined the football team, as my parents started fighting. But sometimes I worry that Morgan and I won’t be best friends forever. That there’ll be a day, a minute, a second, where it all falls apart and there’s no turning back the clock.

MORGAN: I know that every birthday should feel like a new beginning, but I’m trapped in this mixed-up body, in this wrong life, in Nowheresville, Tennessee, on repeat. With a dad who cares about his football team more than me, a mom I miss more than anything, and a best friend who can never know my biggest secret. Maybe one day I’ll be ready to become the person I am inside. To become her. To tell the world. To tell Eric. But when?

Six years of birthdays reveal Eric and Morgan’s destiny as they come together, drift apart, fall in love, and discover who they’re meant to be―and if they’re meant to be together. From the award-winning author of If I Was Your Girl, Meredith Russo, comes a heart-wrenching and universal story of identity, first love, and fate.
Birthday by Meredith Russo is a story about gender identity that needs to be told to and read by young people.The plot structure concept is highly unique. Narration alternates between two best friends on their shared birthday over a period of six years. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.

Why I liked it: The plot structure concept of Birthday is highly unique. Narration alternates between two best friends on their shared birthday over a period of six years. This was a really interesting way of seeing how the characters grew and changed as events unfolded. The character development is the best I've read in a long time in a young adult literature novel. Despite only getting a glimpse of their lives on one day out of a year, I felt an incredible connection to Eric and Morgan and the ups and downs of their coming of age.

Classroom application: This is a story about gender identity that needs to be told to and read by young people, though I'd likely recommend this for high school and up because of mature themes and content. This would be a great add to your classroom library if you are looking to be more inclusive and feature diverse authors. If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Birthday for yourself, you can find it on Amazon here.

Note: I received this book in exchange for my honest review. The Literary Maven is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Birthday by Meredith Russo is a story about gender identity that needs to be told to and read by young people.The plot structure concept is highly unique. Narration alternates between two best friends on their shared birthday over a period of six years. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.

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