Powerful for adults as well as mature high school or even junior high kids, Birthday is the sequel to If I Was Your Girl, Meredith Russo’s first novel, published last year, that won the Stonewall Book Award, was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, and won awards from Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, and fifteen other literary organizations. It is a loosely autobiographical novel by a life-long Chattanooga resident who transitioned from male to female in 2013 when she was in her mid-twenties. The novel begins on I-75 in Chattanooga and follows six birthdays, beginning with their thirteenth, of Morgan and Eric, two close friends, both born as males on the same day. “Lovers who surmount the odds have always been intense emotional fodder, but rarely have we seen a story like Meredith Russo’s Birthday...true and raw, haunting and undeniable. Russo’s narrative expression of the need to live one’s truth, and the option of choosing love through it all, is a valuable reminder of what really matters.” ―The New York Times Book Review. “Stonewall Award winner Russo (If I Was Your Girl) tackles teen love, heartbreak, sexuality, and gender identity in this novel told over the course of six years through the alternating voices of transgender girl Morgan and cisgender boy Eric, two childhood best friends who share the same birthday. A realistic picture of the challenges that teens may face when finding themselves and falling in love.” ―Publishers Weekly. “Beautifully written, Birthday is an altogether singular contribution to the gradually growing body of transgender literature and, indeed, to mainstream literature, as well.” ―Booklist, starred review.
New York: Flatiron Books/Macmillan, 2019. 278 pages. Hardback in dust jacket, $18.99.