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Juliet Takes a Breath

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  5,815 ratings  ·  1,290 reviews
Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Portland, Oregon. She just came out to her family and isnt sure if her mom will ever speak to her again. But Juliet has a plan, sort of, one thats going to help her figure out this whole Puerto Rican lesbian thing. Shes interning with the author of her favorite book: Harlowe Brisbane, the ultimate authority on ...more
Paperback, 276 pages
Published January 27th 2016 by Riverdale Avenue Books (first published January 18th 2016)
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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…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 4.20  · 
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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.
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 wasnt 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 didnt 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
Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
"Feminism. Im new to it. The word still sounds weird and wrong. Too white, too structured, too foreign: something I cant 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 is
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 existencebecause 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,
✨    jamieson   ✨
if its a phase, so what? if its your whole life, who cares? youre 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 ...more
I strongly believe that everybody should read this book. You dont have to be a woman to like it, nor a woman who loves other women; you dont have to be white, asian, latino, black you just have to be you to like this book as much as I did.

I dont even know where to start. There are so many things I want to say and Im afraid I wont be able to do this book justice. Because this book represents everything Im looking for in a Contemporary. Everything.

The main character, Juliet, just came out to her
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 Im going to try to talk about whyand how much it would have meant to me to read something like this then.

Juliet is looking for knowledgeshes 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 shes going to figure everything out in Portland,
Mar 23, 2017 marked it as dnf  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtqia, wlw
An ARC was provided by the publisher via netgalley but all opinions are my own.

On hold DNF @ 35%

One of the reasons I'm trying not to DNF this is because I think I need to read more to understand why I'm not enjoying this.

Okay it's been months now, and I know that I'll never pick this up again. I'm not going to rate it because I feel like it would be unfair, but I've had some time to think about this book and I've done so with an incredibly uncomfortable feeling in my gut every single time. Let
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
Dec 07, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer
when Roxane Gay tells you a book is "f***ing outstanding" you make your humble butt take a seat and read it
Julio Genao
dare you to read the introduction in the free sample and not immediately want to read this book.

Cri (PaperbacksandPizza)

First of all, I have to say I am not a native english speaker so, please, I prefer to not be attacked, if I made any mistakes. Instead of do that, it would be nice if you corrected me, thank you :)

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 mothers diary. Read Assata. Read everything Gloria Steinem and bell hooks write. Read all of the
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 Ive had this year. Its certainly my favorite 2016 release, by far.

A novel hasnt 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
Elise (TheBookishActress)
Thanks to the publisher for my netgalley arc!

Lets 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 Im sure it will be for anyone who feels disenfranchised in society. This is
☆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!
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 ...more
4.5 stars.

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

Yes, hello, Im back here again with a mini review bc my life is crazy busy and Im v behind on these!! it hurts my heart that I dont 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 of
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.
Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd)
3.5 Stars
Read everything you can push into your skull. Read your mothers 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 youre tired of secrets.

This books was a ride for me. I could not stand Harlowe Brisbane or her damn book so I almost DNFd this after
Jul 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
4.5* - Not perfect, but I loved it.

"Feminism. Im new to it. The word still sounds weird and wrong. Too white, too structured, too foreign: something I cant claim. I wish there was another word for it. Maybe I need to make one up. My moms totally a feminist but she never uses that word. She molds my little brothers breakfast eggs into Ninja Turtles and pays all the bills in the house. Shes this lady that never sleeps because shes working on a Masters Degree while raising my little brother and me
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
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4 Stars, you know what f that part, imma round up my rating, bc there is just no way for this to book to be less than 5 stars.
So 5 stars for the last two parts, the writing, Juliet, Ava, Maxine, Zaira, Kira, Lupe & all the other queer women of color, who made this book so amazing.

I won't say that this books is important or shit like that, because as a white cis gay dude, it's not on me to validate the importance of the work done by queer women of color.
So all I am going to say is: READ THIS
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
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,
**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
Book Riot Community
During the Diverseathon, I decided that there couldnt 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 Ive been hearing about that book every day for six months! And its true: Ive been reading so many good things about it So much so, that I was reluctant to pick it up in case it didnt match the hype. Well, I shouldnt have worried. This is such a fantastic book ...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

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
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
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Bookish First Rea...: Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera 2 3 Oct 23, 2019 05:22AM  
Race and sexuality 1 9 Dec 20, 2017 07:02AM  
Juliet takes a breath 1 5 Dec 18, 2017 08:01AM  
Latinx Lit UConn: Juliet's Review 1 1 Dec 18, 2017 07:25AM  
Latinx Lit UConn: The Allies and Enemies of Feminism - Monica 1 5 Dec 05, 2017 04:04PM  
Latinx Lit UConn: Julia's review for Juliet takes a breath 1 7 Nov 28, 2017 08:48AM  

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Gabby Rivera is a writer, youth mentor, and editor of QTPOC content for Her short stories and poems have been published in various anthologies and journals such as Aster(ix) , and the the Lambda-Award-winning Portland Queer: Tales from the Rose City, OMG Im Gay, a zine for queer youth, and The Best of Panic! En Vivo from the East Village.

Gabby is the Youth Programs Manager at

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“Reading would make me brilliant, but writing would make me infinite.” 43 likes
“If it’s a phase, so what? If it’s your whole life, who cares? You’re destined to evolve and understand yourself in ways you never imagined before. And you’ve got our blood running through your beautiful veins, so no matter what, you’ve been blessed with the spirit of women who know how to love.” 23 likes
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