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Juliet Takes a Breath

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  11,232 ratings  ·  2,090 reviews
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 ...more
Kindle Edition, 276 pages
Published January 18th 2016 by Riverdale Avenue Books
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Taiwo | A Lifestyle Nerd There's not a lot of sexuality in the book. A little kissing and very little sex but that aspect is very little. The romance is actually cute. Most im…moreThere's not a lot of sexuality in the book. A little kissing and very little sex but that aspect is very little. The romance is actually cute. Most importantly, this book teaches a lot about feminism; intersectional feminism and privileged feminism. It encourages people to broaden their way of thinking and to embrace people of all sexual orientation, colour and all that. There's a lot to learn from it. (less)

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Average rating 4.21  · 
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 ·  11,232 ratings  ·  2,090 reviews

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Feb 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Exuberant and gorgeous debut novel about a young queer Puerto Rican woman from the Bronx who spends a summer in Portland as an intern to a hippy white woman. So much of this book is hilarious and charming. I kept finding myself laughing out loud. And the gorgeous, moving turns of phrase made me catch my breath. Really great story telling here. So much to relate to as a queer POC trying to make sense of the broader queer and feminist communities.

I did want to see this book have a stronger edit.
Emma Giordano
Jun 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
3.5 stars!! This was an enjoyable read full of intersectional feminism, lgbtq+ issues, racial issues, and exploration of identity.

CW: racism, homophobia, transphobia, cheating

Being honest, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the writing style. I know many readers enjoy a “stream-of consciousness” narration and while I do enjoy a novel like this from time to time, it didn’t work in my favor 100% of the time in this case. I think because it was also so heavily reliant on New York slang, which I hear const
Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
"Feminism. I’m new to it. The word still sounds weird and wrong. Too white, too structured, too foreign: something I can’t claim."

Though this is the opening of the book, it sets a tone that defines the rest of the novel. It is a rare book that from the very beginning I can feel it sinking into my bones, but that is exactly what this felt like. And despite the fact that I kept worrying maybe that feeling would go away, I was entranced from beginning to end, and sobbed through the epilogue. This i
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, queer
when Roxane Gay tells you a book is "f***ing outstanding" you make your humble butt take a seat and read it ...more
Damn, this book is beautiful. Damn, I needed this book. Damn, I'm glad this book exists. Damn.

JTAB is all about discovering your self-worth, finding your voice, being brave enough to use it, and learning to write yourself into existence—because if you don't do it yourself, no one else will.

When I first looked up this book, I didn't really get what it was about. Some queer Puertorriqueña snags an internship with some white hippie super-feminist for the summer? I mean, I could get down with that,
✨    jami   ✨
if it’s a phase, so what? if it’s your whole life, who cares? you’re destined to evolve and understand yourself in new ways you never imagined before.


From the very moment Juliet Milagros Palante referred to herself as a ferocious cunt I knew I'd like this book.

First of all, because teenagers swearing is realistic and I want it more in books. Second of all, because I just think there's something entirely glorious about referring to yourself as a ferocious cunt
Man, I hate to give this only 2 stars but I just can't honestly give it any more. It's too bad because the ideas really have potential--the general plot outline sounds just like the coming out / of age novels I love, the affectionate parodies of white feminism were spot-on (the excerpts from Raging Flower were fucking brilliant). Some of the writing on the sentence level was quite nice. Ugh, and I totally support the book's QTPOC politics too. I really wanted to love this! THERE'S EVEN A SEXY LI ...more
I strongly believe that everybody should read this book. You don’t have to be a woman to like it, nor a woman who loves other women; you don’t have to be white, asian, latino, black … you just have to be you to like this book as much as I did.

I don’t even know where to start. There are so many things I want to say and I’m afraid I won’t be able to do this book justice. Because this book represents everything I’m looking for in a Contemporary. Everything.

The main character, Juliet, just came out
Vanessa North
Oh my heart.

Juliet is one of those heroines who is so wry and funny, but innocent too. The hours I spent with this book gave me a bit of my 19-year-old self back, and I’m going to try to talk about why—and how much it would have meant to me to read something like this then.

Juliet is looking for knowledge—she’s newly out, on a mission to discover how being a feminist and being a lesbian and being a round, brown girl all fit together, and she thinks she’s going to figure everything out in Portlan
Vicky Again
Jun 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read a lot of great books this year but this? This might just be my very favorite. I love so so many things about Juliet Takes a Breath and I'm reeling at how underrated this story is.

It's such a great coming of age story about a 19 year old in 2003 becoming acquainted with radical feminist theory and coming to terms with the ways she's been silenced or lied to. Juliet goes through so much learning and growth, which is already awesome, but what makes it such a fun story is her voice.

Provided for FREE by

3.5 Stars.

Juliet Takes A Breath is unlike anything else I've read.

This book doesn't really have a plot other than following Juliet as she tries to figure who she is and what she believes. The synopsis on the back of the book only scratches the surface of all the things covered in this book.

I can see this book being intensely polarizing. I mean hell at several times as I read this book I thought I would give it 1 star and at other times I was convinced that I wa
Julio Genao
Feb 14, 2016 rated it liked it
dare you to read the introduction in the free sample and not immediately want to read this book.

Nov 24, 2017 rated it it was ok

Most importantly, I would like to thank NetGalley and publishers for allowing me to read this book. Thank you very much.

Actual rating: 2.5 stars.

“Read everything you can push into your skull. Read your mother’s diary. Read Assata. Read everything Gloria Steinem and bell hooks write. Read all of the poems your friends leave in your locker. Read books about your body written by people who have bodies like yours. Read everything taht supports your growth as a vibrant, rebel girl human.
Naz (Read Diverse Books)
For an in-depth review, visit my blog. Read Diverse Books

Reading Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera was one of the most positive, transformative, illuminating experiences I’ve had this year. It’s certainly my favorite 2016 release, by far.

A novel hasn’t resonated with me this profoundly in a long time. The last book that elicited a similar reaction from me was Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. But Juliet Takes a Breath is on an entirely different level. While I do app
Elle (ellexamines)
Thanks to the publisher for my netgalley arc!

Let’s get the negatives out of the way first: this book is fairly plotless. Despite its short length, I found myself bored for most of the first half.

However, my disapointment at the plot was outshined by my love for pretty much everything else.

The character work here is sublime. Juliet is a funny and believable protagonist. Her emotional journey was easy to connect with, and I’m sure it will be for anyone who feels disenfranchised in society. This
I liked this so much. The voice is killer and so, so fresh, and you know how sometimes when a book is one of the first of its kind it tries to do everything and ends up feeling really didactic and just fails so hard? This is one of the few books I've actually seen succeed - in the way it addresses the needs of PoC-only spaces and the propagation of white and trans-exclusionary feminism and anti-Blackness and many things that are all over my Twitter feed but rarely seem to make it to co ...more
☆Dani☆ ☆Touch My Spine Book Reviews☆
This is such an important and fantastic novel. I devoured this novel in a few sittings and this one that will surely stick with you go a while. This is more than a story about being a lesbian and a feminist, this is a story about being true to yourself!
Julio Genao
Feb 05, 2016 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
that cover is fantastic. and so is the foreword.

i will make this book mine.
Sep 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars.

For me, womanhood is radical enough for anyone who dares to claim it.

Yes, hello, I’m back here again with a mini review bc my life is crazy busy and I’m v behind on these!! it hurts my heart that I don’t have enough time to write this book the long and beautiful review it deserves, but please just know that I genuinely believe everyone should read it !!!!!!!

A very brief (and vague) summary:

As a lesbian latinx woman from the Bronx, Juliet thinks she has a reasonable understanding o
This poorly-written, incoherent mess is what you get when someone who writes television show recaps for Autostraddle and learns everything about gender, sexuality, and politics from Tumblr blogs decides to write a book.

Some key highlights:

- Random naked man appearing in a house inhabited by lesbians and not being swiftly kicked out

- "So Juliet, how do you identify? What are your preferred gender pronouns?" [...] "I'm sorry, what? How do I identify what?" [...] "Oh c'mon, do you identify as queer
Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd)
3.5 Stars
Read everything you can push into your skull. Read your mother’s diary. Read Assata. Read everything Gloria Steinem and bell hooks write. Read all of the poems your friends leave in your locker. Read books about your body written by people who have bodies like yours. Read everything that supports your growth as a vibrant, rebel girl human. Read because you’re tired of secrets.

This books was a ride for me. I could not stand Harlowe Brisbane or her damn book so I almost DNF’d this af
Jul 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
4.5* - Not perfect, but I loved it.

"Feminism. I’m new to it. The word still sounds weird and wrong. Too white, too structured, too foreign: something I can’t claim. I wish there was another word for it. Maybe I need to make one up. My mom’s totally a feminist but she never uses that word. She molds my little brother’s breakfast eggs into Ninja Turtles and pays all the bills in the house. She’s this lady that never sleeps because she’s working on a Master’s Degree while raising my little brother
Xan West
Jun 07, 2017 marked it as dnf
DNF 4%

I tried to read this book 5 times. Each time I could not get past 4%. The writing is compelling, the voice is strong, there is a lovely humor to it. I could not get past the way it constantly said that vagina=woman. It was like a constant blast of equating genitals and gender, a wall of cissexism I kept hitting up against. After speaking to others who read the book, I was told that this framework is never challenged and exists throughout the book. So I decided to DNF. Since then, some folk
Dec 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: latina lesbians, intersectional feminists
I have no idea where to begin talking about this book. I just have so much love for it right now I wish I could walk up to Gabby Rivera and give her a damn tight hug as a thank you.

If I'd gotten my hands on this book a few years ago, when I was lost like Juliet about feminism and lgbt+ related subjects, it would've been for me what Raging Flower was to her, but so much better. It felt like a love letter to latina lesbians. It is a fantastic book for girls in general, regardless of ethnicity, sex
Read this in one sitting but it really wasn't for me as a non-binary reader. I struggle a lot with feminism in the first place, and this has the worst kind. And yes, it was challenged. But only at the very end and it wasn't enough for me.

For example: it was all very focused on equating body parts and menstruation to womanhood, which is downright violent to trans people. The book doesn't condone this! But I didn't think it did a good enough job at explaining the problem with it.
May 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ebooks, arcs, read-in-2017

**I received this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**

I had a LOT of problems with this book.

I appreciate the ending, and if I hadn't completed this book I would have DNFed it with 1 star, but the ending had a discussion of a couple things I had problems with. But, it didn't completely redeem it considering the author didn't make it clear at the beginning that these ideas that she was writing about weren't necessarily good.

My biggest problem with this book was that, if I
Nov 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wow. This book was everything I needed to read, but didn't know. Cons: So there are several typos in the book. At first it's endearing, but then later it becomes apparent that the book needed a little more editing. Also, some of the sentence structure seems as though it is not grammatically correct. When I first started the book, I was confused by the timing. It seemed as though boring days took up entire chapters, with characters that then left the book abruptly. However, as the book went on, t ...more
Book Riot Community
During the Diverseathon, I decided that there couldn’t be any better book for me to pick up than Juliet Takes a Breath, which has been sitting on my shelf for far too long. In fact, when I picked it up, my partner said “Finally! I feel like I’ve been hearing about that book every day for six months!” And it’s true: I’ve been reading so many good things about it… So much so, that I was reluctant to pick it up in case it didn’t match the hype. Well, I shouldn’t have worried. This is such a fantast ...more
This book is doing so many great things. Wonderful things. Coming of age, coming into feminism, coming into queerdom, discussions of intersectionality and privilege. Sexy makeout sesh with the sexy motorcycle-riding librarian. Juliet Takes a Breath is doing some really great things. And it's clearly heavily inspired by the author's own experiences doing the "Puerto Rican lesbian thing". It's great, I love all this.

But it doesn't read like a novel. There are passages upon passages where a charact
Latanya (Crafty Scribbles)
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Melaninated souls, those challenging their mindsets, those in need of challenging their mindsets
(Full Review on

19 year-old Juliet Palante left the Bronx to venture through hipster Portland, Oregon to discover herself via an internship with her favorite author, Harlowe Brisbane, a feminist writer, a celesbian (portmanteau of celebrity and lesbian), and authority on women's bodies. Prior to leaving, she came out to her family, deepening the rocky terrain she'll cobble as she learns what being queer, Puerto Rican, and sure of one's self means.

What kind of chick
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South Shore Readers: Discussion: Juliet Takes a Breath 4 13 Jun 22, 2021 07:09AM  
Rainbow Reads Book: Juliet Takes a Breath 13 16 Oct 15, 2020 12:14PM  
IndyPL Rainbow Reads Book Discussion 2 3 Sep 27, 2020 09:21AM  
Bookish First Rea...: Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera 2 4 Oct 23, 2019 05:22AM  
Race and sexuality 1 10 Dec 20, 2017 07:02AM  

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Gabby Rivera is a Bronx-born, queer Puerto Rican author on a mission to create the wildest, most fun stories ever.

She’s the first Latina to write for Marvel Comics, penning the solo series America about America Chavez, a portal-punching queer Latina powerhouse. Rivera’s critically acclaimed debut novel Juliet Takes a Breath was called “f*cking outstanding” by Roxane Gay and was re-published in Sep

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