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Juliet Takes a Breath

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  9,985 ratings  ·  1,917 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
Paperback, 265 pages
Published January 27th 2016 by Riverdale Avenue Books (first published January 18th 2016)
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  • Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera
    Juliet Takes a Breath

    Release date: May 11, 2021
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    A People magazine Best Book of Fall 2019
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    Popular Answered Questions
    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)

    Community Reviews

    Showing 1-30
    Average rating 4.22  · 
    Rating details
     ·  9,985 ratings  ·  1,917 reviews


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    Roxane
    Feb 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    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.
    ...more
    Emma Giordano
    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
    ...more
    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
    ...more
    Kai
    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
    Adri
    Jun 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
    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,
    ...more
    ✨    jamieson   ✨
    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.


    LANGUAGE WARNING FOR THIS REVIEW

    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
    ...more
    CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian
    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
    Romie
    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
    ...more
    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
    ...more
    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.

    Julie
    ...more
    Erin
    Provided for FREE by Bookish.com

    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
    ...more
    Julio Genao
    dare you to read the introduction in the free sample and not immediately want to read this book.

    OR IS YOUR PUSSY NOT EMPOWERED YET???
    ;;

    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.
    ...more
    Naz (Read Diverse Books)
    Apr 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
    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
    ...more
    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
    ...more
    Dahlia
    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 just...so 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.
    emma
    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
    ...more
    Rayna
    Oct 29, 2017 rated it did not like it
    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
    ...more
    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
    ...more
    BrokenTune
    Jul 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    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
    ...more
    Xan West
    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
    ...more
    Julia
    Dec 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    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
    ...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
    Latanya (Crafty Scribbles)
    Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
    Recommends it for: Melaninated souls, those challenging their mindsets, those in need of challenging their mindsets
    (Full Review on http://www.craftyscribbles.com)

    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
    ...more
    Kate
    May 04, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: ebooks, arcs, read-in-2017
    2.25/5stars

    **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
    ...more
    Weezie
    **Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through NetGalley**

    This has honestly been the hardest review I have ever had to write. To the point that I thought about not writing it because I have so many conflicting emotions about it.

    First, this is an incredible book. I loved how the racism in white feminism was pointed out, I loved that Juliet started to decolonize and had a good taste of the Queer PoC community. The characters were well thought out, the p
    ...more
    CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨
    Raw, spiritual, and unflinching, Juliet Takes a Breath is a story about transformation, growth, and identity.

    - Though lacking a distinct plot, this book is a character-driven story about Juliet, a Puerto Rican lesbian from the Bronx, and her transformative trip to Portland to work alongside an author she looks up to.
    - Juliet is naive and ignorant of most feminist issues in the beginning, so the story centers a lot growth, learning, and discovery of feminism, being a queer woman of colour and sex
    ...more
    Jackie
    Nov 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: arcs
    Read it. Loved it. Absolutely fantastic. This is a book for all the queer brown girls out there!!!!! 4.5 stars.

    Juliet Takes A Breath is about a fat, queer, Puerto Rican girl who comes out to her family as lesbian on the day she is about to leave for an internship with her favourite author who has inspired Juliet immensely.

    Her family reacts harshly to the news and she is left to question herself and her identity as she leaves for Portland. Once there, however, she is confronted with all these new
    ...more
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    Rainbow Reads Book: Juliet Takes a Breath 13 15 Oct 15, 2020 12:14PM  
    IndyPL Rainbow Reads Book Discussion 2 2 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  
    Juliet takes a breath 1 6 Dec 18, 2017 08:01AM  
    Latinx Lit UConn: Juliet's Review 1 1 Dec 18, 2017 07:25AM  

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    735 followers
    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
    ...more

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