Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera
Reviewed by Sam!
**We received an advanced copy at ALA in exchange for an honest review. We’d like to thank Gabby and Dial Books for the opportunity. This book re-releases on Sept 17th and you can get it here**
Meet Juliet Milagros Palante. A self-proclaimed closeted Puerto Rican baby dyke from the Bronx. Only, she’s not so closeted anymore after coming out to her family the evening before she flies to Portland, Oregon (of all places), to intern with her favorite feminist writer—an experience that Juliet is certain will change her world. However, coming out doesn’t go so well, and, when she leaves home, Juliet’s not so sure if her mother will ever speak to her again. As she embarks on a summer full of explorations of race and identity, queer brown dance parties, and a motorcycle-riding librarian, Juliet will ultimately learn that feminism is whatever she decides it is, and only she can create the life she wants. As praised by Roxane Gay, Juliet Takes a Breath is “quite dazzling, funny as hell, poignant, [and] F***ing outstanding.” You’ll fall in love with this coming-of-age story about a young woman’s journey to find herself—to define herself—as she comes out to her family, herself, and the world.
Synopsis from Goodreads
What I drank prior: So… my work partner up a decided he wanted to back to school (rude) and it was his goodbye happy hour… where our clients made us drink at least 3 tequila shots. I’ve also had vodka sodas and wine on top of that. How DARE he leave me?
Spoiler-free Overview: this is basically a newly out Latina from the Bronx on her internship to Portland with a white lady feminist icon. Got it? Cool.
Spoiler-free Thoughts: I adOred this. There were moments where I wa like “damn this is a lot all at once” but that’s what it’s like right?? Life??
Characters: Juliet is fab. She’s a “baby lesbian” (her words not mine) and has a bae that is THE WORST. But this whole story is about her finding herself or at least, a place to start. I appreciated the hell out of it. There also Maxine, who is older but knows herself so well. There’s also Harlowe. Fuckin, Harlowe. Girl is so excited to be a feminist she forgets about the other parts of being human; race, class, language, income. But she’s also a super hippie. Like, let’s light some candles to heal cramps hippie. Fuck.
Plot: this is an A+ character driven story. The plot is Juliet finding herself. She had this gf who seems ok? But there’s something off, and you know that from the start. Which is a fab way to begin a character journey.
Writing Style: it felt very strean of conscience (Editor’s Note: lol conscience) at first. Full of self doubt and swear words (fuck – sorry had to get it out), but also so raw and real. Loved it.
What to pair it with: Cuba Líbre cause she’s (not) Cuban but Puerto Rican And my drunk ass can’t think of a PR drink rn. Cam from justabookeater_ says that there a good local beer called Medalla. I’m in to that and want to try it real bad.
Rating: 3.5/5 shots
Until next time, we remain forever drunkenly yours,