The meaning of birds, by Jaye Robin Brown

The Meaning of Birds Book Cover The Meaning of Birds
Jaye Robin Brown
Young Adult Fiction
HarperTeen
16 April 2019
368

“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.

Sometimes, I read books back-to-back that have a common theme without knowing it in advance. Does it happen to you as well? Most of the books I read come from the banQ in Montréal. I see a book I think I’d like and borrow it, or I put a reservation until it’s available. This is how I sometimes end up with books like this.
This is my second book by this author, the first one was Georgia Peaches & Other Forbidden Fruits. She is queer herself, so I know that she writes about subjects she actually understands. It’s important to me.

In The meaning of birds, Jessica is our main protagonist. She’s in high school and has been dealing with anger issues for years. They are probably the result of unexpressed grief from her father’s death. Then, enters Vivi. She is passionate about birds, about going to college and lifts Jessica up. Plus, she encourages her to take the doodles Jess’ therapist encouraged her to do to an other level.
The book is created with alternating chapters: Now and Then. This is how we get to understand Jessica’s story better. Because in the Now, she is spiralling out of control, lost in her newest grief. How to continue living when the love of your life just died, even though you’re still a teenager?
This was very beautifully written and I felt for the characters in general, not only Jess. It’s the kind of story that sticks with you, even when you’re done reading the book.

About the author

Jaye Robin Brown, or JRo to her friends, has been many things in her life– jeweller, mediator, high school art teacher–but is now living the full-time writer life. She lives with her wife, dogs, and horses in a sweet house in the NC woods where she hopes to live happily ever after.

Amazon.com
Chapters-Indigo

Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit, by Jaye Robin Brown

Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit Book Cover Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit
Jaye Robin Brown
Young Adult Fiction
HarperTeen
30 August 2016
432

Joanna Gordon has been out and proud for years, but when her popular radio evangelist father remarries and decides to move all three of them from Atlanta to the more conservative Rome, Georgia, he asks Jo to do the impossible: to lie low for the rest of her senior year. And Jo reluctantly agrees.

Although it is (mostly) much easier for Jo to fit in as a straight girl, things get complicated when she meets Mary Carlson, the oh-so-tempting sister of her new friend at school. But Jo couldn’t possibly think of breaking her promise to her dad. Even if she’s starting to fall for the girl. Even if there’s a chance Mary Carlson might be interested in her, too. Right?

I have to admit that I have a thing for books tackling young adult LGBTQ+ characters.
I am not a Christian anymore, however reading about Faith is something I am still very interested in. Especially when coupled with matters like sexuality or more broadly, someone’s identity.
In Georgia peaches & other forbidden fruit, Jaye Robin Brown asks us: is it okay to put aside the core of who you are to fit in a new environment? To please your family wishes.
The main character, Joanna has been openly gay for years now. Her best friend is very exuberant and queer as well. It has never been an issue with her father, who is a Pastor. She’s both gay and a Christian teenage girl and lives with it perfectly…. until her father remarries and they move from Atlanta to a very traditional Christian town in Georgia.
Some parts of the storyline felt wonky to me, but it was not to the point of making me want to walk away from it and overall, I really enjoyed reading about Jo’s journey.

About the author

Jaye Robin Brown, or JRo to her friends, has been many things in her life– jeweller, mediator, high school art teacher–but is now living the full-time writer life. She lives with her wife, dogs, and horses in a sweet house in the NC woods where she hopes to live happily ever after.

Amazon.com | https://amzn.to/2VqRQ9G
Chapters Indigo |Georgia peaches and other forbidden fruits