Juliet Takes A Breath by Gabby Rivera
Published by: Riverdale Avenue Books
Pub Date: January 27, 2016
Format: paperback| Source: library
Genres: young adult, contemporary, LBGTQ+
Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Portland, Oregon. She just came out to her family and isn’t sure if her mom will ever speak to her again. But Juliet has a plan, sort of, one that’s going to help her figure out this whole “Puerto Rican lesbian” thing. She’s interning with the author of her favorite book: Harlowe Brisbane, the ultimate authority on feminism, women’s bodies, and other gay-sounding stuff.
Will Juliet be able to figure out her life over the course of one magical summer? Is that even possible? Or is she running away from all the problems that seem too big to handle?
With more questions than answers, Juliet takes on Portland, Harlowe, and most importantly, herself.
This probably won’t be the most eloquent review, and it will be far from knowledgable as far as representation goes, but I hope it helps other readers find this gem of a book anyway! I was pleasantly surprised by Juliet Takes A Breath- despite our vast differences, Juliet was easy to relate to and very easy to empathize with. I loved her voice and I was more than willing to follow the character on her journey of self-discovery. There’s a lot of humor and a lot of very interesting characters from all walks of life. I learned a lot about intersectional feminism right alongside Juliet. Harlowe’s brand of messaging isn’t something I am normally drawn to- the whole mystical female, embracing the flower of my body sort of philosophy. It was a little much for me. But I can appreciate the message. And I absolutely loved Juliet’s summer romance with the cookie baking, motorcycle driving, library assistant Kira. It was real and swoony and sweet. I also adored Juliet’s cousin and that they had each other to confide in. While the book was in some ways about Juliet’s romantic relationships and being a lesbian, it wasn’t the entire focus- it was also about friendship, discovering herself, and reconnecting with her family. I think everyone should read it.
Have you read Juliet Takes A Breath? Are you drawn to books with experiences so different from your own?