The meaning of birds

Jaye Robin Brown

Book - 2019

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 ar...t 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.

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Subjects
Genres
Lesbian fiction
Novels
Published
New York, NY : HarperTeen, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers ©2019.
Edition
First Edition
Language
English
Physical Description
354 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
0062824449
9780062824448
Main Author
Jaye Robin Brown (author)
Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Jess is a talented artist who has long used creating to cope with anger, but nothing has seemed worth doing since her girlfriend Vivi's sudden death. Jess's father died in Afghanistan when she was young, and the loss of Vivi brings back familiar waves of anger and helplessness, which she deals with by fighting, especially with jerks at her suburban North Carolina school who harass her about being gay. It lands her in an alternative school whose work experience component includes blacksmithing, and Jess, it turns out, is a natural. Hammering hot metal helps get the anger out, reawakens her artistic impulses, and gives her the impetus to apply to college. Jess's close-knit friend group and delightful, bird-loving Vivi are affectionately rendered. Brown (Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit) depicts Jess with raw realism, making the early sections hard going: she seems hell-bent on alienating everyone but her patient family to ensure that if Vivi doesn't have a future, she won't, either. At the same time, the anger-soaked beginning enriches the payoff, when a grief group and blacksmithing start to help Jess find her way, not out of grief, but back into life. Ages 14–up. (Apr.) Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 9 Up—When her girlfriend Vivi dies unexpectedly from flu complications, Jess's life divides into a stark before and after. Before, Jess had love, art, and plans for her future. After, only grief and anger. When Jess is sent to an alternative school because of fights provoked by her classmates' homophobic comments, a vocational blacksmithing program offers her a chance to forge a new path during the last months of her senior year. But no choice is simple when healing and moving on feel like betraying the past. Brown's exploration of loss is raw and devastating, placing readers directly into Jess's turbulent experience through evocative present tense narration interspersed with vivid flashback chapters. The supporting characters are also complex and distinct, from Deuces, a friendly parolee at the alternative school, who openly dates a trans woman in his tough neighborhood, to Cheyanne, Jess's best friend, who struggles to navigate her aromantic identity while supporting her volatile friend. Brown captures the ambivalence of grief in this searing and ultimately hopeful novel. VERDICT Recommended for high school and public library collections, and for fans of Jandy Nelson, Adam Silvera, and Nicola Yoon.—Molly Saunders, Homewood Public Library, AL Copyright 2019 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

During her sophomore year, Jessica develops a relationship with Vivi which helps her deal with the anger she has felt since her father's death, only to be overwhelmed again when Vivi dies during their senior year.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Falling in love with a woman who encourages her to embrace her artistic side to manage the anger and pain she has endured all her life, Jess embarks on a destructive path when her friend suddenly dies. 25,000 first printing. Simultaneous eBook.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

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.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

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.