Nominated for the Carnegie Medal
YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults List
ALA’s Rainbow Book List
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.
“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 New York Times Book Review
“A sensitive, uplifting narrative, one that feels much-needed.”—Nylon
“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
“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
“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-paced, so much so that I couldn’t put it down. Recommended to lovers of realistic literature and romance.”—The Missourian
“Russo seamlessly melds difficulties with joy and impossibilities with solutions, to create a resonating 'love story eighteen years in the making.'"—Shelf Awareness
“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
“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. An emotional, winning touchdown.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Beautifully written, Birthday is an altogether singular contribution to the gradually growing body of transgender literature and, indeed, to mainstream literature, as well.”—Booklist
“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
Reviews from Goodreads
I’m holding my breath, hovering between wavering sunlight and deep, dark blue, arms twirling while my feet kick up and down, slow as tides. I’m not ready to go back up; too much waits for me above the surface....