The Meaning of Birds

The Meaning of Birds

Before, Jessica has always struggled with anger issues, but come sophomore year that all changes when Vivi crashes into her life. As their relationship blossoms, Vivi not only helps Jess deal with her pain, she also encourages her to embrace her talent as an artist. And for the first time, it feels like the future is filled with possibilities. After In the midst of senior...

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Title:The Meaning of Birds
Author:Jaye Robin Brown
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Edition Language:English

The Meaning of Birds Reviews

  • Malanie

    "This totally cute girl, who'd pulled me, BY THE HAND, to this table and fed me creamy potato goodness, just spoke to me IN French. Hot did not even begin to describe it."

    Can I just start by saying I ship Vivi and Jess SO HARD. They were ridiculously adorable together???? Jess has anger issues and is always ready to punch someone, but Vivi is this soft, sweet girl with asthma and I JUST MELTED. LIKE CHOCOLATE IN A SMALL MICROWAVE.

    The book is written in chapters alternating between when Vivi is

    "This totally cute girl, who'd pulled me, BY THE HAND, to this table and fed me creamy potato goodness, just spoke to me IN French. Hot did not even begin to describe it."

    Can I just start by saying I ship Vivi and Jess SO HARD. They were ridiculously adorable together???? Jess has anger issues and is always ready to punch someone, but Vivi is this soft, sweet girl with asthma and I JUST MELTED. LIKE CHOCOLATE IN A SMALL MICROWAVE.

    The book is written in chapters alternating between when Vivi is alive, and when she's dead and Jess is left to grieve. I basically kept my eyes shut the entire time Jess is grieving because NO. MY BEAUTIFUL PURE SHIP!!!!!!

    I don't handle the "death of my lover" theme well. Or at all.

    "Uh-uh." I grinned. "I'm going to name her Emma Watson and then she'll be in my bed and when you call and ask me what I did during the night, I can say I spooned Emma Watson, and there's nothing you can do about it."

    AND THEY HAVE A CAT NAMED EMMA WATSON. Vivi presented her girlfriend with this magical little kitten and???? SO SOFT?????

    This book is a *completely cruel* mix of fluff and grief. Vivi and Jess are the world's cutest lesbian couple and I just wanted to shelter them and let them live their lives in pastel with their cat, Emma Watson.

    "Vivi nestled her head into the space between my cheek and shoulder. 'You know, I'm going to marry you one day.' 'Not if I marry you first.' It was our running joke."

    But then I was full-on tackled by devastation:

    "My grief is part of me."

    I guess I just wanted this book to be 1oo% fluffy LBGT and I'm too weak to handle two gorgeous lesbian girls being tragic.

    *goes back under giant blanket because my nice Sunday is ruined*

  • - ̗̀  jess  ̖́-

    This book was so hard to read. Not because it was bad, but because it dealt with grief and the aftermath of loss. Jaye Robin Brown writes a really emotional, moving story about dealing with compounded grief - which is, like, really hard to deal with.

    I related to Jess so much, honestly; I don't struggle with anger management, and I've never lost a girlfriend or close friend. But I can understand her reactions and lashing out and isolating herself because I've been in such a similar place before. 

    This book was so hard to read. Not because it was bad, but because it dealt with grief and the aftermath of loss. Jaye Robin Brown writes a really emotional, moving story about dealing with compounded grief - which is, like, really hard to deal with.

    I related to Jess so much, honestly; I don't struggle with anger management, and I've never lost a girlfriend or close friend. But I can understand her reactions and lashing out and isolating herself because I've been in such a similar place before. 

    doesn't skimp on how Jess struggles with everything after losing Vivi, and I could sympathize entirely with how hard it is to readjust to normal life and how Jess feels like she shouldn't be happy without Vivi. A lot of the side characters frustrated me, though; it felt like they were pressuring Jess to just "move on" from Vivi's death, Levi especially.

    I really adored Jess and Vivi's relationship, though - they were incredibly cute, and I felt Jess's love for Vivi and how painful it was for her to lose Vivi. Usually I'm not fond of books that constantly go between the past and the present, but I think it worked really well for this book. It showed Jess's life with Vivi and how happy they both were, and contrasted it to after Vivi and Jess learning to find her way without Vivi. Here, I feel like the flashbacks added more of an emotional punch to the book than if it had just been divided into two sections.

    One thing I liked is that 

    showed compounded grief, which is when a person experiences loss without really recovering from previous loss, and it isn't something that you see in YA too often. Jess's father had passed several years before Vivi, and her feelings about both get tangled up. I definitely think there are teens out there who might find this book helpful in knowing they're not alone. Losing one person can dredge up old feelings, and I don't think that's talked about enough, in YA or anywhere. The book doesn't prescribe some deeper meaning to death. Sometimes people die for no reason at all, seemingly out of the blue, and there's no pretending otherwise in this book.

    Another part that I felt was really important was how art was talked about as something that was both painful yet a way to cope. Jess is an artist, but after Vivi's death, art is too painful for her to do, so she turns to blacksmithing instead as another art form, which was really neat. I also loved Greer and Eliza; they were probably my favourite side characters. We love adorable supportive lesbians. But Jess's blooming interest in blacksmithing shows that it's possible to find new, healthy things you enjoy after a loss. I really understood Jess's feelings around art after Vivi died, and it was good to see her accept that it's okay to grow and change.

    There were a few things I felt were a tad questionable that took away from my experience of reading it. A couple off-hand comments about asexuality, bi/pansexuality, and trans women that rubbed me the wrong way, for example. These comments are not directly a/bi/trans-phobic, but it struck me as a bit iffy, especially because some of Jess's views were never really addressed or challenged, and they were casual comments that didn't add much to the story altogether.

    Yes, this is a tragic book about a young lesbian losing her girlfriend, but it shows her learning to cope with it, even if there's no "getting over" it. I think a lot of teens dealing with loss of all types could use this book. However, anyone who reads this should definitely have some tissues nearby, because--as you'd expect--it is horribly sad.

    : death of a parent, death of a loved one, grief

  • mahana

    homophobia, grief/loss of a loved one, sexual assault, repetitive use of the d slur, transphobia

    I was apprehensive about picking this up because the author’s other novel,

    , had ableist themes that went ignored by a lot of reviewers. However, I was willing to give Brown another chance since I want to continue supporting sapphic novels (and the stun

    homophobia, grief/loss of a loved one, sexual assault, repetitive use of the d slur, transphobia

    I was apprehensive about picking this up because the author’s other novel,

    , had ableist themes that went ignored by a lot of reviewers. However, I was willing to give Brown another chance since I want to continue supporting sapphic novels (and the stunning cover doesn’t hurt either).

    has alternating chapters: before – when Jess meets and falls for a girl named Vivi – and after – where Jess is drowning in grief after Vivi unexpectedly passes away. This story deals with grief and how certain individuals cope with it after a loved one leaves them.

    Jess’ story is heightened by her anger issues, where she lashes out and is subsequently unapologetic. After losing Vivi, Jess pushes away her mother, sister, and best friend who are only trying to help her move on from this tragedy.

    I’d recommend this to fans of John Green since this is essentially a sapphic version of his books. I know this has a deeper meaning to it where people push their loved ones away and lie in bed when they’re dealing with grief, but this was just uneventful and stale.

  • Elise (TheBookishActress)

    this cover is the gayest thing i've ever seen in my life, it even perfectly represents the fashion style of 97% of the sapphics I know Including Myself

  • ellie

    this book is gay culture, and so am i. that’s it. thanks for coming to my ted talk.

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