Trigger Warnings for this book include: homophobia, transphobia, abuse, and self-harm
Birthday by Meredith Russo is a coming-of-age story like no other. The two main characters, Eric and Morgan, have been best friends their entire lives, literally, they were born on the same day in the same hospital. Growing up in a small town in Tennessee the two boys were thick as thieves until a tragedy strikes Morgan’s family and he starts to explore his own identity.
The book follows the two of them as they navigate high school, family expectations, and grief. Author, Meredith Russo, creates a space for queer and transgender kids to see themselves in the ever-popular genre of a high school romance. Russo shows that not every high school romance is the cut and copy jock and cheerleader relationship, and that love exists outside social stereotypes.
This book also depicts the struggles of growing up as trans and the difficulties that can arise when transgender kids do not get the support that they deserve and need.
Unlike many mainstream representations of queer people in pop culture, Russo’s story has a happy ending, allowing her readers to see that young people who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community can have love, that they will belong, be loved, and that they can have exceptional lives.
This beautiful book wraps up the pain and beauty of growing up queer into a thoughtful and romantic love story that provides not only joy to the reader but also hope.