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Birthday

A Novel
Narrated by: Dana Aliya Levinson
Length: 7 hrs and 59 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (28 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

This program includes a bonus interview with the author.

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.

©2019 Alloy Entertainment (P)2019 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"Birthday is a luminous and profoundly moving coming-of-age story of love, family, friendship, destiny, and the struggle to live as one’s truest self. It will break your heart, piece it back together even stronger, and do it again and again until the last page." (Jeff Zentner, Morris Award-winning author of The Serpent King)

"An emotional, winning touchdown." (Kirkus)

"In addition to being exquisitely written, Birthday showcases the best of YA: Its ability to instill empathy in readers. Written by a trans author, BIRTHDAY gives an essential perspective into the trans experience." — Refinery29

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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I really wanted to like this, but…

… Having thoroughly enjoyed “if I was your girl,” I was really looking forward to Meredith’s next book. I didn’t like this one nearly as much, unfortunately. It was wordy. Many of the metaphors were clunky or obvious. The same story could’ve been told much more economically in two fewer hours. It seems as though the readers were subjected to the same emotions over and over, and I was left thinking, ‘okay, I get it, no need to beat the characters, and me, up further.
.And the narrator was not good.

The protagonists sounded the same. And not only that, their style of speaking and thinking was identical. So it was tough to tell the difference, and empathize with each differently, which really made the story less believable. Points for tackling such a difficult subject, but the execution was lacking.

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The amount of times I screamed and cried in the shower

As a person like Morgan, Reading this book especially in a time in life where I feel most alone and isolated from the real world for being the person I am, reading this book allowed me to make a bridge to this beautifully crafted narrative and feel less alone, and actually gave me the chance to relate to other beings, even though fictional, this book did a lot for my soul, and I thank the writer, ALSO IF I WAS YOR GIRL IS A MUST READ TOO!!!

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Good book

This was a good book.
The concept was extremely cleaver.
I cried once.
That last letter.
Have tissues ready.

The narrator.... loved that accent. I wouldn't mind hearing more from her. Maybe future Meredith Russo novels?

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  • Sandra
  • 07-01-19

Wholesome

There are times when I thing that I'm sick of literature aimed at a younger audience, it seems too shallow or too simple or all in all just not relevant to me anymore, as I'm not a teenager ready to fall in love at a moments notice. And then there come books like this one or The Poet X, that take the teenager experience and portray it in such an honest light, with all the complexity of the human condition and I'm floored.

It's a fiction book, and it feels like there's quite a bit of "how it ought to be" fantasy in there, but there's also a lot of brutal honesty, and together they make such a hopeful mix.

I loved the little chat the author and narrator had at the end of the book.

I found Merriam Webster defined wholesome as "promoting health or well-being of mind or spirit", and I think it fits this book perfectly.