Morgan and Eric have been friends since they were kids, best friends in fact. When Morgan’s mom dies Eric is the only person who can console him. When Eric’s parents start to fight more often, the arguments growing louder and more frequent, Morgan keeps him sane. But as the two boys meander their way towards high school Morgan quits the football team and Eric can tell that Morgan isn’t telling him everything. How can he? How can Morgan explain - to Eric of all people - that Morgan isn’t sure he wants to be … a he? This is a wonderful story of a young person finding the courage to transition from male to female and the amazing and supportive love between two friends who are perhaps more than friends.
-Chrissy— From Books for Young Adults
Morgan and Eric have been friends since they were kids, best friends in fact. When Morgan’s mom dies Eric is the only person who can console him. When Eric’s parents start to fight more often, the arguments growing louder and more frequent, Morgan keeps him sane. But as the two boys meander their way towards high school Morgan quits the football team and Eric can tell that Morgan isn’t telling him everything. How can he? How can Morgan explain - to Eric of all people - that Morgan isn’t sure he wants to be…a he? This is a wonderful story of a young person finding the courage to transition from male to female and the amazing and supportive love between two friends who are perhaps more than friends.
-Chrissy— From Chrissy's Recs
“Lovers who surmount the odds have always been intense emotional fodder, but rarely have we seen a story like Birthday...true and raw, haunting and undeniable.” —The New York Times Book Review
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.
“Beautifully written, Birthday is an altogether singular contribution to the gradually growing body of transgender literature and, indeed, to mainstream literature, as well.” —ALA Booklist, starred review
About the Author
MEREDITH RUSSO was born, raised, and lives in Tennessee. She started living as her true self in late 2013 and never looked back. If I Was Your Girl was partially inspired by her experiences as a trans woman. Like Amanda, Meredith is a gigantic nerd who spends a lot of her time obsessing over video games and Star Wars.
New York Public Library Top 10 Teen Book of the Year
Chicago Public Library “Best of the Best”
Nominated for the 2020 Carnegie Medal
Texas Library Association’s Tayshas Top 10 Book
YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults List
ALA’s 2020 Rainbow Book List
“Lovers who surmount the odds have always been intense emotional fodder, but rarely have we seen a story like Meredith Russo’s Birthday. Russo is herself trans, and she brings her whole heart to a story laced with pain that, in the end, lifts with hope. The birthday structure could feel like a gimmick, but it works thanks to her characters, especially Morgan, who is true and raw, haunting and undeniable. —The New York Times Book Review
“Tender, beautiful...a sensitive, uplifting narrative, one that feels much-needed.” —Nylon, Best Book of the Month
“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, Best Book of the Month
“Meredith Russo, the author of If I Was Your Girl, is back with a gorgeous story of first love. Eric and Morgan share a birthday, and everything else, too. This book follows the two on six of their birthdays—only on their birthday—and in the process, tells a wrenching story about love, friendship, sexuality, and gender.” —Bustle, Best Book of the Month
“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
“Russo seamlessly melds difficulties with joy and impossibilities with solutions, to create a resonating 'love story eighteen years in the making.'” —Shelf Awareness
“Morgan and Eric’s struggles feel so real that they broke my heart, twisted it, and made me tear up. This book is incredibly fast-faced, so much so that I couldn’t put it down. Recommended to lovers of realistic literature and romance.” —The Missourian
“Both heartbreaking and heartwarming, this book is a celebration of friendship, life, and enduring love between two teens.” —Mason Deaver, author of I Wish You All the Best
“I couldn’t put it down. Birthday broke my heart and made me tear up, but it was also so triumphant. This book will save lives.” —Camryn Garrett, author of Full Disclosure
“A tender story of friendship, family, community, identity, and love...an honest exploration of the transgender experience that does not shy away from harsh realities, but remains optimistic and hopeful. Meredith Russo has proved herself yet again to be the queen of the queer self-love story.” —Mackenzi Lee, author of The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
“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, author of Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee
“Stonewall Award winner Russo captures the intense longing of two teens who feel trapped in their small town…the slow-burn romance is affirming and worth the wait. An emotional, winning touchdown.” —Kirkus Reviews
“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
Praise for If I Was Your Girl
American Library Association Stonewall Book Award Winner
We Need Diverse Books’ Walter Dean Myers Award Honor Book
Goodreads Readers’ Choice Award Finalist
Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
Kirkus Best Book of the Year
Lambda Literary Award Finalist
New York Public Library Best Book of the Year
Chicago Public Library “Best of the Best”
Zoella Book Club Pick
Bustle Best YA Book of the Year
American Library Associations’s Best Fiction for Young Adults List
YALSA Top 10 Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers
YALSA Teens’ Top 10 Pick
ABA IndieNext Top 10 Pick
One Flavorwire’s 50 Books Every Modern Teenager Should Read
“A necessary, universal story about feeling different.” —Kirkus, starred review
“An illuminating debut guided by hope and overwhelming kindness.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Everything a coming-of-age novel should be.” —School Library Journal, Popular Pick
“Will change minds and open hearts.” —Nina LaCour, author of We Are Okay
“This book is exactly what YA is for: to break ground, to break hearts, to teach us empathy, to find the universal in the specific. I loved every word.” —Julie Buxbaum, author of Tell Me Three Things
“Read this wonderful book. Just read it.” —Jennifer Niven, author of All the Bright Places