Jaye Robin Brown

Books Alexandra Machinist, +1 212 556 5600 Email Alexandra Machinist

The Meaning of Birds

book | Fiction | 2019
World English → HarperCollins (Ed. Christopher Hernandez)

Nominated for the Diverse Books Award in France

Not to be missed by fans of Nina LaCour and Becky Albertalli, this powerful novel from Jaye Robin Brown, 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 all that changes. As they begin to fall for each other, Vivi not only helps Jess deal with her anger and pain, she also encourages Jess to embrace her artistic talent. And their future seems like a blank canvas—filled with possibilities.

After: When Vivi suddenly 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. Just when Jess seems at her lowest, she makes an unexpected friend who might be able to show her a new way to channel her anger, passion, and creativity. But will Jess ever be able to forge a new path for herself without Vivi?

The Meaning of Birds is a beautiful exploration of first love and first loss, which 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.


Film Rights


Contact Alexandra Machinist for more information

Roxane Edouard manages the translation rights for The Meaning of Birds

Audio Rights


The audio rights are handled by HarperCollins.

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Editions du Chat Noir
Editions De L'Homme

Frank and accessible, this gritty drama realizes with great compassion and empathy the ways reckoning with loss can manifest. 

Kirkus Reviews
Full Review

Brown 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.

Publishers Weekly

Brown captures the ambivalence of grief in this searing and ultimately hopeful novel.

School Library Journal
Full Review

Alexandra Machinist
+1 212 556 5600
Email Alexandra Machinist
Translation Rights
Roxane Edouard
+44 (0)20 7393 4491
Email Roxane Edouard