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.
"Even if Holden Caulfield was born in the Bronx in the 1980s, he could never be this awesome." (Inga Muscio, author of C--t)
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Yes, because it's so layered, and poses so many questions, that I think a re-listen would include even more discoveries.
None. This book is unlike any I’ve ever read before. "Juliet Takes a Breath," by Gabby Rivera, is a revelation, and it is revolutionary. It’s a novel that poses so many questions, and it makes you think, and rethink. Most of the questions aren’t answered, but that’s okay, because I believe that’s the point. In "Juliet Takes a Breath," Juliet explores the world and who she is, and the reader is forced to do the same.
I loved nearly everything about this book, the prose in particular. It has humor and melancholy, and it’s insightful analysis is mostly balanced by an entertaining plot. The writing is beautiful and engaging, intelligent and down-to-earth. This wasn’t a perfect read for me, because there were some moments when I lost interest, though they were few and far between. Sometimes the pace just let up and I had to rewind and reset.
“This world is yours to reinvent.”
In this book, Juliet falls in love with a book because it is a refuge from her neighborhood and her contradictions, but then when she meets the author and her friends, she learns that we’re all a host of contradictions and differences that we most reconcile within and amongst ourselves. I love this novel for tackling intersectionality and the challenges women face regarding unity and empowerment.
The characters in this novel are vibrant and to say they’re multi-faceted is an understatement. There are lessons to be learned here, but as I stated, it’s not clear cut, at all. I loved Juliet’s story and what she goes through, even if her growing pains sometimes made my heart ache.
More books like this need to exist, books with depth and passion. ALL women should read this book. (Men too, but they’re not what this is about.) I highly recommend this novel to anyone looking for a book that features great writing, is layered, awesome, engaging, and honest. Get to reading!
“I live for myself, all of my selves.”
- Cristal H.