Nominated for the Lambda Literary Award!
“An evocative story of the thrills of first love and the anguish of first loss. This will break you and heal you.” —Julie Murphy, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dumplin’
Not to be missed by fans of Nina LaCour and Becky Albertalli, this powerful novel—from the acclaimed author of Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit—paints a poignant portrait of love in the past, grief in the now, and the healing power of art.
Before: Jess has always struggled with the fire inside her. But when she meets Vivi, everything changes. As they fall for each other, Vivi helps Jess deal with her anger and pain and encourages her to embrace her artistic talent. And suddenly Jess’s future is a blank canvas, filled with possibilities.
After: When Vivi unexpectedly dies, Jess’s perfect world is erased. As she spirals out of control, Jess pushes away everyone around her and throws out her plans for art school. Because art is Vivi and Vivi is gone forever. Right when Jess feels at her lowest, she makes a surprising friend who just might be able to show her a new way to channel her rage, passion, and creativity. But will Jess ever be able to forge a new path for herself without Vivi?
A beautiful exploration of first love and first loss, this novel effortlessly weaves together past and present to tell a profound story about how you can become whole again when it seems like you’ve lost the most important part of yourself.
About the Author
Jaye Robin Brown is the critically acclaimed author of the young adult novels Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit and No Place to Fall. She lives in North Carolina with her dog, horses, and wife. You can visit her on Instagram @jayerobinbrown or online at www.jayerobinbrown.com.
Praise for The Meaning of Birds: “An evocative story of the thrills of first love and the anguish of first loss. This will break you and heal you.”
— Julie Murphy, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dumplin’
“An unforgettable story that resonated deep in my bones, The Meaning of Birds will break your heart and then put it right back together again. Jess and Vivi’s relationship was so beautiful and true. I loved them and didn’t want the story to end.”
— Amber Smith, New York Times bestselling author of The Way I Used to Be
“A profoundly moving and exquisitely written story of love, loss, grief, and healing. These characters have imprinted on my heart and will be with me for a long, long time.”
— Amy Reed, author of Beautiful and The Nowhere Girls
“A heart-wrenching journey through anger and grief, balanced on the sharp edge of hope.”
— Malinda Lo, author of Ash and A Line in the Dark
“Prepare to cry, often—and to be thoroughly swept away into this subtle and utterly real story of grief and love and heartbreak and finding yourself in the middle of it all.”
— Robin Talley, New York Times bestselling author of The Lies We Tell Ourselves and Our Own Private Universe
★ “Frank and accessible, this gritty drama realizes with great compassion and empathy the ways reckoning with loss can manifest.”
— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Affectionately rendered. Brown depicts Jess with raw realism.”
— Publishers Weekly
“Brown’s exploration of loss is raw and devastating, placing readers directly into Jess’s turbulent experience. Captures the ambivalence of grief in this searing and ultimately hopeful novel. For fans of Jandy Nelson, Adam Silvera, and Nicola Yoon.”
— School Library Journal