Birthday by Meredith Russo // Amanda // First Read Review


Image result for birthday by meredith russo

Stand-alone // YA // Heartfelt Contemporary

I’ll just start by saying this – I often rate contemporaries lower than other books I read since I don’t connect with them as much. This is one of the best, most moving contemporaries I have ever read, even though at the onset it looks like I only rated it four stars.

One of my favorite things is reading about characters that are nothing like me. One of the reasons I continue reading contemporaries even though I don’t like them as much is meeting characters with different backgrounds, histories, and personalities than me. Reading about characters in situations real people in the world are in keep me grounded, which keeps my mind open and my world bigger.

I am lucky. I am demisexual, but as a privileged woman with a family and a full-time job that pays, well, okay, I would rather other voices speak louder than mine. The characters in this book embody things that I have had previously no way to relate to, and I feel so honored to be able to read their story and fall in love with them as they come to understand their love for each other.

Characters: The truly amazing character formation in this book is what makes it a drawing and personal story. I don’t know how anyone could read this book and not have their heart opened and their thoughts expanded because of the depth and personal-ness of our main characters Morgan and Eric. I absolutely am in love with the trope of childhood friends falling in love (I, myself, am married to the childhood friend I fell in love with) and so when this book showed up in my Illumicrate for the month, I was ridiculously excited.

Both Morgan and Eric’s personal journeys feel completely relatable to me because of the amount of internal conflict that I personally experience every day. Each of these characters feel deep and real because of their thought processes and how they naturally evolve over time. Being in their head really keeps this book down to earth and every word felt natural and understandable. The author has a big hand in this because of her experiences, and I am extremely thankful to her for writing such a compelling and correct story.

Plot: The structure of this book is brilliant. Every chapter is another year, another birthday. Morgan and Eric share a birthday and Morgan’s process is years and years of internal struggles pushed around by outside forces, so it just makes absolute and complete sense, though is more creative than anyone else would have thought of.

Setting: I went to school in Texas, anddd I hated every moment of being in the South. This book hit the perfect notes of Southern life, especially in a small town, and is the perfect setting for such a tough story, by having a place to set it in that is more black and white, where everyone understands the push and shove from community.

I can relate to that one moment where I finally understand myself and how I fit in. When I found out what Demisexual was, everything made sense, but for Morgan, her journey lasted years and years. I hope one day there won’t have to be labels, for humans to share what they choose to and what’s important without assuming anything in the first place. But our identities are important, and our labels help us discover who we are, and share pieces of us with others. We all want to be heard and understood, and I always want to do my part.

Other June 2019 Reads:
June 2019 Wrap-up
Descendant of the Crane by Joan He (DNF)
Tentacle & Wing by Sarah Porter
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill
Hilda & The Stone Forest by Luke Pearson
Memento by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
The Beholder by Anna Bright
Birthday by Meredith Russo

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