1.) BIRTHDAY matches the exceptional storytelling of Russo’s debut, IF I WAS YOUR GIRL. Sophomore novels can be so tricky, but all the rich, layered characterization Russo wrote in IF I WAS YOUR GIRL is present again in BIRTHDAY. This time, we get to know Morgan and Eric, best friends who grow up, sometimes grow apart, and ultimately find something special between them. I particularly loved how we see both characters at different ages and how they evolve over time.
2.) The romance- If friends to lovers is your jam, I can’t recommend this story enough. Morgan and Eric develop a beautiful, multifaceted relationship. No matter how old they were or how close or not close they became, there was always a string connecting them.
3.) The theme of being yourself- Not only is this a great romantic love story, but it’s also a self-love story, a friend-love story, and even a family-love story at times. It dives into how scary it can be to be yourself, to let people love you, and to give love in return. Vulnerability is scary, and both Morgan and Eric learn to have courage.
If IF I WAS YOUR GIRL hadn’t already made Meredith Russo’s books as auto-buy for me, BIRTHDAY would have. BIRTHDAY is a beautiful book.