Juliet Takes a Breath

Juliet Takes a Breath

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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781536607437
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication date: 10/04/2016
Edition description: Unabridged
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Gabby Rivera is a Bronx-born queer Puerto Rican babe 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. In 2017, Gabby was named one of the top comic creators by the SyFy network, and one of NBC's #Pride30 Innovators. Gabby now makes magic on both coasts, currently residing in California. She writes for all the sweet baby queers and her mom.

Read an Excerpt


March 3, 2003

Dear Harlowe,

Hi, my name is Juliet Palante. I’ve been reading your book Raging Flower: Empowering Your Pussy by Empowering Your Mind. No lie, I started reading it so that I could make people uncomfortable on the subway. I especially enjoyed whipping it out during impromptu sermons given by old sour-faced men on the 2 train. It amused me to watch men confront the word “pussy” in a context outside their control; you know, like in bright pink letters on the cover of some girl’s paperback book.

My grandma calls me la sin vergüenza, the one without shame. She’s right. I’m always in it for the laughs. But I’m writing to you now because this book of yours, this magical labia manifesto, has become my bible. It’s definitely a reading from the book of white lady feminism and yet, there are moments where I see my round brown ass in your words. I wanted more of that, Harlowe, more representation, more acknowledgment, more room to breathe the same air as you. “We are all women. We are all of the womb. It is in that essence of the moon that we share sisterhood”—that’s you. You wrote that and I highlighted it, wondering if that was true. If you don’t know my life and my struggle, can we be sisters?

Can a badass white lady like you make room for me? Should I stand next to you and take that space? Or do I need to just push you out of the way? Claim it myself now so that one day we’ll be able to share this earth, this block, these deep breaths?

I hope it’s okay that I say this to you. I don’t mean any disrespect, but if you can question the patriarchy, then I can question you. I think. I don’t really know how this feminism stuff works anyway. I’ve only taken one women’s studies class and that was legit because a cute girl on my floor signed up for it. This girl made me lose my train of thought. I wanted to watch her eat strawberries and make her a mixtape. So I signed up for the class and then she became my girlfriend. But please don’t ask me about anything that happened in that class afterward because love is an acid trip.

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 and me and pretty much balancing the rhythm of an entire family on her shoulders. That’s a feminist, right? But my mom still irons my dad’s socks. So what do you call that woman? You know, besides Mom.

Your book is a refuge from my neighborhood, from my contradictions, from my lack of desire to ever love a man, let alone wash his fucking socks. I don’t even wash my own socks. I want to learn more about the wonder of me, the lunar power of my pussy, my vadge, my taquito, that place where all the magic happens. You know, once people are quiet enough to show it reverence. I want to be free. Free like this line: “A fully realized woman is at all times her true self. No soul-crushing secrets or self-imposed burdens of shame, these create toxic imbalance, a spiritual yeast infection if you will. So step out into the fresh air and let that pussy breathe.”

I’ve got a secret. I think it’s going to kill me. Sometimes I hope it does. How do I tell my parents that I’m gay? Gay sounds just as weird as feminist. How do you tell the people who breathed you into existence that you’re the opposite of what they want you to be? And I’m supposed to be ashamed of being gay, but now that I’ve had sex with girls, I don’t feel any shame at all. In fact, it’s pretty fucking amazing. So how am I supposed to come out and deal with everyone else’s sadness? “Sin Vergüenza Comes Out, Is Banished from Family.” That’s the headline. You did this to me. I wasn’t gonna come out. I was just gonna be that family member who’s gay and no one ever talks about it even though EVERYONE knows they share a bed with their “roommate.” Now everything is different.

How am I supposed to be this honest? I know you’re not a Magic 8 Ball. You’re just some lady that wrote a book. But I fall asleep with that book in my arms because words protect hearts and I’ve got this ache in my chest that won’t go away. I read Raging Flower and now I dream of raised fists and solidarity marches led by matriarchs fueled by café con leche where I can march alongside cigar-smoking doñas and Black Power dykes and all the world’s weirdos and no one is left out. And no one is living a lie.

Is that the world you live in? I read that you live in Portland, Oregon. No one I know has ever been there; most people I know have never left the Bronx. I refuse to be that person. The Bronx cannot own me. There isn’t enough air to breathe here. I carry an inhaler for those days when I need more than my allotted share. I need a break. I know that the problems in the hood are systemic. I know that my neighborhood is stuck in a sanctioned and fully funded cycle of poverty, but damn if this place and the people here don’t wear me down. Some days it feels like we argue to be louder than the trains that rumble us home. Otherwise our voices will be drowned out and then who will hear us? I’m tired of graffiti being the only way to see someone’s mark on the world—the world that consists of this block and maybe the next, nothing farther. There aren’t even enough trees to absorb the chaos and breathe out some peace.

I’ll trade you pancakes for peace. I heard that you’re writing another book. I can help with that. Let me be your assistant or protégé or official geek sidekick. I can do all the research.

Seriously, some of my best friends are libraries. If there’s room in your world for a closeted Puerto Rican baby-dyke from the Bronx, you should write me back. Everybody needs a hand, especially when it comes to fighting the good fight.


Punani Power Forever, 

Juliet Milagros Palante

PS: How do you take your coffee? This will help me decide if we’re compatible social justice superheroes or not. 



Part One

Welcome to the Bronx


Chapter One

Wolves, Falcons, and the Bronx

“We are born with the power of the moon and the flow of the waves within us. It’s only after being commodified for our femaleness that we lose that power. The first step in gaining it back is walking face-first into the crashing seas and daring the patriarchy to stop us.”

Raging Flower: Empowering Your Pussy by Empowering Your Mind,Harlowe Brisbane


There was always train traffic ahead of us and that Saturday was no different. The delay between the cell-block-gray train car and my redbrick house on Matilda Avenue, mi casa, was long enough to merit theAssaulting an MTA Officer Is a Felony sticker on the wall. Without a heads up, I was sure we’d all be busting heads and windows open on the 2 train to the end of the earth, aka the North Bronx. Any wait period that lasted longer than two songs provoked collective teeth-sucking, eye-rolling, and a shared disgust for the state of New York, public transportation. I always wondered what would happen if the white people didn’t all get off at 96th Street. Would it make my commute home to the hood easier? Would the MTA give any more of a damn? Good thing I had a pen, my purple composition notebook, and headphones blastingThe Miseducation of Lauryn Hill like it was my j-o-b.

The train was elevated after 149th Street and Third Avenue, so for almost one hundred blocks the view of the sky existed only above the train station—but no one ever seemed to look up that far. I’d looked through metal bars my whole entire life just to get a view of both the sidewalk and the sunshine. Past the train, there were clusters of electrical wires and telephone poles that looked ready to burst into flames or fall over from a gust of wind. This was my Bronx: the North Bronx, the split between the Bronx and Westchester County, the difference between the South Bronx and the part of the Bronx that no one ever traveled to.

“We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience,” said the automated white male robot voice used by the MTA.Thank us for our patience. Like, save the gratitude and get me home. I was leaving that night for Portland, Oregon, and I still had to finish the mixtape I was making for my girlfriend, Lainie, who was already away at her internship with the College Democrats of America. On top of all that, I had to pack, shower, get ready for my good-bye dinner, come out to my family, and then hopefully still be able to hug my mom so hard that I would feel her on my skin for the whole summer. I didn’t have time for the train to be stalled. 

“Seven times three is twenty-one, seven times four is twenty- eight.” Across from me, a young girl and her mom, both wearing bandanna dresses and head wraps, reviewed times table flash cards. Three dudes stood in the doorway. They bragged about their conquests over “some bitches from last night.” When boys talked, it sounded like feral dogs barking. They fiended for attention, were always aggressive, and made me wish I could put them down.

Raging Flower was both book and shield. I pulled it out, sighing mad loud. The main boy gave me a look. Whatever, papi culo. I couldn’t even with dudes lately. All they did was talk smack about how good they laid down the pipe. Anytime I ignored them I was both abitch and all of a sudden too ugly or too fat to get it anyway. Neighborhood dudes sure knew how to slime and shame a girl in one swift move. Reason number five hundred and fifty-oneRaging Flower was so necessary. Reading helped me gather myself, reminded me that I had a right to be mad. It felt like my body was both overexposed and an unsolved mystery. 

“You must walk in this world with the spirit of a ferocious cunt. Express your emotions. Believe that the universe came from your flesh. Own your power, own your connection to Mother Earth. Howl at the moon, bare your teeth, and be a goddamn wolf.”

Ferocious cunt. I circled that phrase in neon-purple ink. Was I a ferocious cunt? By tomorrow night, I’d be in Harlowe’s home, not on the train in the Bronx. I had planned my escape—chose to come out and run off into the night. What kind of wolf did that make me?

I needed air. I wasn’t ashamed of myself. I wasn’t ashamed of being in love with the cutest girl on the planet, but my family was my world and my mom was the gravitational pull that kept me stuck to this Earth. What would happen if she let me go? Would my family remain planted to terra firma while I spiraled out and away into the void?

The train lurched a little. The mother-and-daughter duo beside me packed up their flash cards and got off. The train doors closed with a high-pitched two-note signal.

At the corner of 238th Street and White Plains Road in the Bronx, the 5 and 2 trains split ways. I got off the train and stood on the corner, staring at the fork between the elevated train tracks. A bent, corroded metal rainbow, it curved above and beckoned the 5 train in another direction, away from Mount Vernon and into the unknown. But nothing likes to be split in half so when the 5 train hit that bend, sparks flew out and landed like mini-meteors on the sidewalk. The wheels ground hard, metal on metal, and sent out a screech: a torturous yell that could be heard for miles. The sound shredded the fibers of my bones. I felt it in my cavities, heard it in my daydreams. 

The sun was setting over the neighborhood. Jamaican men stood in zigzag patterns on the block, shouting, “Taxi, miss?” No insurance, some without a license, but damn if they didn’t get a person where they needed to go. I dipped around them and made a left toward Paisano’s Pizza Shop. Black and brown bodies were in full motion. A solid line of people shuffled in and out of the liquor store. It was owned by Mrs. Li. She sent flowers to my uncle Ramon’s wake when he died two years ago from cirrhosis. Sirens sounded as ambulances rushed to the nearest emergency to transport the bloody and wounded off to Our Lady of Sacrifice Hospital. 

The block was never silent. 

We lived loud and hard against a neighborhood built to contain us. We moved like the earth pushing its way through cement sidewalks.

I pulled a dollar out of my pocket. “Robert,” I said to the man crouched in between the liquor store and Paisano’s. He didn’t move. Jacket over his head, he stood still as death. Robert existed in a plume of crystal-white smoke. “Robert,” I said again, louder. The jacket shifted, his wide brown eyes peered out from the sleeve.

“Hey, ma,” Robert said, not blinking. I put the dollar in his coat pocket. He nodded thanks and pulled the jacket back over his head. I didn’t know how else to reach out to this man who’d been smoking crack in between the same two buildings for almost twenty years. Even on Christmas morning, he stood like a sentry dedicated to crack rock. I’ve asked him if he needs anything. All he’s ever asked for was a dollar. That was our relationship. I nodded and kept it moving, past his smoke spot, past the row of cab drivers, past the seventeen-year-old girls snatched up for prostitution and their eighteen-year-old pimps. I was almost home. Good thing too ’cuz those dudes from the train werestill talking mad loud behind me. Why were they on my ass? My cell phone buzzed in my pocket. Mom.


I yanked the phone from my ear. “Yes, Momma?”

“Pick up some recao, cilantro, and tomato sauce for the sofrito. Oh, and something sweet. I love you.”

“Love you too,” I replied, still keeping the phone a safe distance from my ears. I learned a long time ago that you never told Momma she was shouting. 

Everything in the Imperial Supermarket was mad suspect. The fruits and vegetables were often moldy. A pack of sesame candy I bought had a roach in it once. And man, I hated buying chicken there too. Every package of meat had a grayish tint to it, and the aisle itself often smelled like blood. But it was the only market we had within walking distance from the house. Momma was going to get her sofrito ingredients. I just had to be diligent and examine everything, as per usual. Figured I’d start with the easy stuff and pick up the tomato sauce first.

The group of bro-dudes from the train found me in the canned vegetable aisle, and one of them said, “Hey, mami, you lookin’ good. What’s up with your number?”

I didn’t answer him. I focused on the sixty-five-cent tomato sauce in my hands. He moved in close behind me.

“I said you lookin’ mad good,” he repeated, his breath harsh on my neck. 

My back tensed up. I cracked my middle knuckle with my thumb. Every way this group of man-boys could possibly assault me flashed through my head. A bolt of fear snaked up my spine. I squeezed the can, wishing I was bold enough to clock him with it. I shrugged hard and turned around. His friends had moved in closer, forming a little semicircle around me. Fucking dudes, man.

“Whassup? You too good to say hello?” he asked, smiling. 

“I’m gay and not interested,” I blurted out. 

My whole face went hot. Why did I say that? Jeezus. With fluorescent lights above me, stained white tiles under my feet, and a circle of machismo incarnate around me, there was nowhere to run.

“That’s a damn shame. Maybe you just need this good D right here,” he said as he grabbed his crotch. He stared at me and gave himself a good up and down stroke. His eyes had a hard glint to them. His tattoo-party tattoos showed from beneath his beater: a lion on his right arm, a crucifix on the left, and the name Joselys across his neck.

His boys gave him a pound. They laughed, salivated, and tightened their circle around me. I stepped to the right, and he moved in my way. They laughed again.

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Juliet Takes a Breath 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
ultralurkykitty 7 months ago
Juliet Takes a Breath is a coming of age story about a Latinx lesbian from the Bronx who travels to Portland for the summer to intern with a feminist writer who she admires and idolizes. Juliet's exuberant voice engages the reader immediately, and we watch her navigate coming out as a lesbian, discovering the LGBTQ community, family, relationships, feminism, and issues of race and privilege. It is a character and issue driven book rather than being heavy on plot. I'm worried this book will be pigeonholed as an LGBTQ and/or Latinx book (which it is, of course), and readers who don't belong to these groups won't pick it up. Fundamentally, this book is very human and explores big issues like learning who you are, the consequences of making assumptions about others, respect for others and yourself, and establishing boundaries. We can all take something valuable away from this book whether we are Juliet's age or much older.
BlowPop More than 1 year ago
I received a free copy via Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. Oh. My. Gosh. This book. I NEVER thought I would see myself in a book with regards to my asthma. But I DID. And I practically cried. I mean that's the only spot I really saw myself with this book but do you know how rare it is to see yourself in a book like this when it comes to asthma? Like the dumbest things (to me) trigger my asthma. Too much excitement. Too much stress. Too much panic. Too much anxiety. Running (which is one of the only things I *DON'T* think is dumb that triggers it). Smoke of any kind (fire, cigarette, marijuana, etc). Laughing too much. Crying. Perfume/Cologne. And seeing a main character who not only has asthma but carries an inhaler AND USES it and it isn't an afterthought but an integral part of WHO they are? That was wonderful and life changing and I want more. It made me realise what I was missing. And I NEED MORE. I can remember being in Juliet's shoes. Learning who you are and discovering yourself. In a way I'm still kind of there. This is one of those books where I want to buy a bunch of copies and distribute them to libraries and to people who want a copy of it if I had the money to do so. All I can really say is if you have the opportunity/means to do so, get this book and read it. It's worth the price.
kittymarie 3 months ago
Juliet Takes A Breath is a contemporary YA stand-alone taking place in the early 2000s. Juliet is a young feminist latina who has just introduced massive changes to her life. Within the first couple chapters she’s come out as lesbian to her family and moved from her diverse home (The Bronx) to Portland, Oregon to be mentored to a popular feminist writer, Harlowe Brisbane. Throughout the book we see passages from Harlowe’s feminist self-help book. Juliet, embarking on a road of self discovery, is eager to explore and embrace all sides of her identity- even though the intersections of these often become an issue. In The Bronx she faced homophobia, in largely white Portland she faces racist micro-aggressions. Juliet’s understanding of herself and other people evolve a lot across the course of this narrative. I really appreciated how this title had a number of fantastic and thought-provoking adult characters. This is a title that can appeal to young adults AND adults, but remains thoughtfully devoted to Juliet’s point of view. I really liked how the adults were also capable of missteps, and the reader seems encouraged to meaningfully question authority figures when they are out of touch. What really got my attention in this book was Juliet herself. She’s a very frank and inquisitive character. At first I found her a bit childish and off-putting, but before long I was swept into her psyche and world, bonding quickly with the characterization. While I liked this book from the start, it’s really one that grows and gets better from chapter to chapter. The dialogue is in-depth yet natural, with several passages worth highlighting and moments that are strikingly relevant. At many turns, conversations between characters had me feeling strongly. This book is important and there are people who stand to gain so much from reading it. Why You Should Try It – I thought Juliet was OK, then likable, then lovable. She grows and evolves, and is a fantastically formed character by book’s end. The overall vibe of this title is vibrant, realistic, and inspires energy and self-love. There are many moments of fantastic and highlight-worthy character dialogue. The friendships, relationships, and interactions are heartfelt and well-conveyed. this book is important and there are people who stand to gain so much from reading it. Why You Should Try It – I thought Juliet was OK, then likable, then lovable. She grows and evolves, and is a fantastically formed character by book’s end. The overall vibe of this title is vibrant, realistic, and inspires energy and self-love. There are many moments of fantastic and highlight-worthy character dialogue. The friendships, relationships, and interactions are heartfelt and well-conveyed. Disclosure : Received an ARC of this title from Penguin Teen for review purposes.
Anonymous 4 months ago
Powerful Feminist Takeover This book was powerful and emotional. In 2003 Juliet journeys across the country, from the Bronx, to Portland, Oregon to intern for Harlow Brisbane. Harlow is a powerful, feminist author. Throughout the summer Juliet experiences heartbreak, love, hippies, non-meat burgers, polyamory, PGPs, lesbians, family, women leaders, and herself. I love how the author gave us Juliet, through all the lesbian and Bronx context, a young adult that women can relate to. Even if you are not a lesbian, growing up in the Bronx or in search of a feminist movement, give this book a shot. You will learn the value of standing up for yourself, loving yourself, and actually taking a chance to breathe and find you and love who you really are. You do not have to have a single label. Just be happy for who you are. Be proud. Once you get past all the language most people are not comfortable with and situations that might seem gross to you (based on societal views) the heart of this book boils down to simply put, F*** everyone else and love yourself.
Anonymous 6 months ago
I immediately felt a connection to Juliet because of her mixtape with Ani defranco song and the book dedication that references the 32 flavors and then some song. My sister and I would listen to Ani and to this day my mom has a hard time understanding me, I am not a lesbian but I love being single and my mom can’t understand how I am in my 30s and not worried about marriage. When I moved from a small town to a city in my 20s my mom suggested that I should be friends with gays or black people. This carries over to her worrying I’ll never get married. As much as Juliet struggles in the same way with her mom I can see that Juliet’s mom love her despite not being able to fully understand what Juliet is going through. He mom reading Raging Flower was a huge growth in there relationship and it reminds me of the little things my mom does to support my art. I love that Juliet’s connection to Ava was so strong that she was able to text her whenever and learn About the LGBTQ community from another perspective. The young people Juliet met through her cousin allowed to her understand why Harlowe might have claimed to have the support of the black and Latino community. When Juliet decides to run she gives up her voice in the room but she doesn’t learn this until she is with her cousin. Seeing what it was like in both gay communities gives Juliet the understanding she needed to be able to write her own story. Juliet Takes a Breath is a great coming of age story and gives others insight on what is is like to be gay or dating outside your race in the Latino community. Gabby Rivera does a great job making this a semi autobiography by using her experiences as LGBTQ female in a Latin American family.
CarFay 7 months ago
This book was all about feminism, LGBT issues, and most importantly self exploration, finding out who you are and who you want to be. I was a little hesitant to read this at first, but so glad I did. I read it in one sitting. This was unlike many other books I have read lately. Juliet was a breath of fresh air. She is funny, innocent, and coming into her own. She just came out to her family and this story deals with her learning about this "new" community and finding her place within it. There were small thing I liked and didn't like. I liked the whole chapter dedicated to menstruation. I never read something like that in YA. Some things I wished went into more detail was the different aspects of feminism or her relationship with her mother to name a few, but overall I liked everything.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Loved it! I found Juliet Takes A Breathe to be a really smart and engaging novel. Both the text and its characters are fierce and unapologetic. I learned a lot about the LGBTQ community and the politics of gender reading this book. It definitely made me think twice about my beliefs, and any book that does that is worth the read in my opinion. It's beautifully written. There's passages that are perfect. Juliet goes on both a literal and spiritual journey in this book to find herself and figure out her place in the world, and she does so with integrity and strength. The characters and writing feel incredibly authentic and while there were some things that came up that didn't fully get fleshed out, on the whole, the book did a great job of starting and finishing conversations both amongst the characters and within Juliet's mind that are so important to have in today's society. I am so happy I was able to read this book, and I will definitely recommend it to people I know!
Lfoster89 7 months ago
I liked this book. the characters were very interesting to explore. Juliet was a very complex person. She had issues with her family over her sexuality. Juliet was a Spanish gay woman. She express herself by writing and reading books. I felt like Juliet reminded of me. I loved to read and write. I just not a gay person. However, I did not like Juliet ex-girlfriend. She was a very obnoxious and selfish individual. She broke up with Juliet by writing a letter. I felt like Juliet ex-girlfriend was not a real person. She seemed like a fantasy individual. I liked someone to break up with in-person. furthermore, I did see Juliet grew after the break up. overall, I gave this book a 4.5/5 star rating. People needs to read this book because feminism is very important in society. Also, gay representation plays a huge role in American society.
SimplySusan 7 months ago
At its most basic, this is the story of a young lesbian coming out to her family. But this well layered story is so very much more! It is the story of a young woman learning about herself and what makes her strong. It is the story of how her ethnic history shapes who she is and who she wants to be. It is the story of feminism and friendship and recognizing the best and worst in each other and ourselves. While sometimes I felt like the story or characters became a bit of a caricature, I feel Ms. Rivera used them to help illustrate the variety and individualism in an easily homogenized group. Not all lesbians are the same. Additionally, despite their differences and conflicts, I liked how Ms. Rivera presented a supportive group of people for Juliet, and for any reader who reads this book for understanding. I would recommend this book for any young woman questioning herself, regardless of sexuality. Thanks to Bookishfirst for a copy of the book. This review is my own opinion.
VolunteerVal 7 months ago
While a teen in the Bronx, Juliet reads a feminist book that changes her life and begins corresponding with its author. To her surprise and delight, she scores a summer internship in Portland, OR with writer Harlowe Brisbane. On the night before she’s scheduled to fly to the West Coast, she comes out to her beloved black and Puerto Rican family members. As she feared, this news is received mostly with shock and launches Juliet on a journey of analyzing her relationship with her mother and other relatives. In the next several weeks, Juliet has many first-time experiences that significantly expand her world view and her sense of self … most positive, all educational. The title is a clever play on Juliet's medical condition and her growing self-awareness. This novel is unlike anything I’ve read as a white 50-something Midwestern woman, and I loved it! If you know young people who are questioning their sexual identity and/or preferences, put this in their hands. Note: This novel was first published in January 2016.
anovelescape 7 months ago
This was such an interesting read! It's rare to come across YA (though this probably more accurately falls into the NA category) that feels fresh and different, but Juliet Takes a Breath accomplished exactly that. I will note that I was predisposed to like it, as it's a diverse book set in Portland. I grew up in a suburb of Portland and always love reading stories set in the area. And the story features Powell's Books, my favorite place in the city! There were parts to the story that were more difficult for me -- for one, it was more vulgar than the books I typically prefer to read. But none of the vulgarity felt like it was placed for shock value. It suited the story well, so I didn't mind overly much. And... the book was full of extremely hippy concepts. Lots of weed and auras and spirituality and energy -- those are all things I have a really difficult time with, being more of the logical, practical, needs-evidence-to-believe-it sort (and someone who has a particular aversion to the scent of weed + personal difficulty understanding why people are attracted to anything mind-altering). And yet even these concepts were presented in a way that worked, even for a cynic like me! Juliet is from the Bronx. She's never been to Portland before. So everything she encounters is from the perspective of someone who doesn't automatically buy into the subculture. Some things she goes with and accepts or does her best to stay open-minded about. Others she questions. If she had approached it any other way, I might have had to DNF. But her forcing herself to stay open-minded reminded me to force myself to stay open-minded. And I'm glad I did! Because Juliet Takes a Breath has SO much to offer. It's incredibly, wonderfully diverse in a way that I wish all books being published in this day and age were. It's full of transformation. It brings up so many interesting ideas, concepts, and points. Juliet (and the reader, alongside her) learns a lot of new, diverse terminology in a way that feels true to the narrative and interesting. It shows rather than tells why certain toxic attitudes and actions hurt people. I do want to mention that story is pretty much entirely character-driven. If you're looking for a scintillating, fast-paced plot, this probably isn't for you. But if you want to really get to know a character and follow her journey of self-discovery, then Juliet Takes a Breath may be just what you're looking for. Thank you Dial Books and Bookish First for a free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Bibliomatter 7 months ago
I was excited to pick up this book because I love to review stories with LGBTQIA+ representation. I was also ecstatic to hear about a character who has asthma since I suffer from Samter's Triad. Unfortunately, it isn't exactly a new favorite of mine. Overall, the book is okay, but I had a hard time finishing. Even though so much was going on, I wasn't a fan of the presentation; it felt dragged out. While this personally wasn't one of my favorite new releases, I would still recommend giving it a shot. I believe this book will garner very mixed reviews. It's a love it or hate it kind of read. Objectively, it's not bad, it just wasn't for me.
Brandie Bridges 8 months ago
This book was absolutely amazing and a breath of fresh air. When I first opened the pages of this book it had my attention. The main character Juliet just broke out to her family about how she identifies herself and the main person that did not approve was her mother. This book is an eye opener about finding yourself and knowing yourself. As Juliet is learning about herself she was soon to learn about the LGBTQ community. But the one person that Juliet thought would help her on this journey of finding herself was her favorite author Harlowe Brisbane. But even though Harlowe had been the person that she looked up to Harlowe was never the answer to finding herself and her sexuality. Eventually Harlow had to communicate with her family, friends, and her mother who she loved so much. The title of this book is definitely accurate to what Juliet had to go through in order to find her spirituality, sexuality, and inner self. Reading this book made me realize that everyone in the world are trying to find themselves whether it is the love of their life, sexuality, spirituality, or just trying to figure out what is their purpose in life. Life is something that is explored and something that is to be cherished, but also life is where you discover things about people and yourself, which I just love this book because it opened my eyes to so Manu possibilities. Juliet takes a breathe is a breathe of fresh air that literally gave me an extra breath of how the world functions.
MsHarleyQ 9 months ago
3.5 stars. A story about a young Puerto Rican lesbian from The Bronx, who goes to intern with her favorite author somewhere that is definitely not The Bronx, while trying to figure out where the hell she fits in all of this mess we call life. This book gets very raw and some parts can make you uncomfortable. It didn't for me but I can totally see why someone else would. Here's another thing....the book basically has no plot LoL. Normally that would have annoyed and/or bored me but I was just so into seeing Juliet find herself. Also..it's just 300 pages so there's that. This book is about a lesbian woman of color. BUT that doesn't mean everyone can't walk away with something from this book. No you're not going to like every character (Like Harlowe...ugh..), but I feel like most of us know someone like most everyone in this book. It may not end up being your favorite book ever, but i still feel it's a must read. ARC received from Bookish First.
ChocolateCheeks 7 months ago
Alright, so, where to start?... I hated this book. There, I said it. Now that that's outta the way, let me try to explain why as delicately as possible. First and foremost, I was given a free copy of this book thanks to the publisher and Bookish First in exchange for an honest review. Yada, yada, yada. Moving right along... I'm really struggling to put into words why I didn't like this book because we are living in 2019, a time filled with an overabundance of political correctness and my opinion on this book is bound to offend a lot of people. Who am I kidding? Not very many people read my reviews these days but still, I worry. Overall, I thought this book came across as crude. It was crass, it was raw, it was trying so, SO hard to be diverse, to the point where it came across like a swift crack across the face. I couldn't bring myself to read past page 70 when the "Pussy Lady's" roommate just had to be a nudist. It was just too much for me... and I'm a liberal. lol I'm not sure if all of the overly bold characters were supposed to make me laugh or what but I didn't. It's a shame this one didn't connect with me because I'm always looking to see life through other people's perspectives. It's one of the main reasons why I read. Overall, you know who you are if you are going to like this book. It's hitting for a very small, niche market of people. I hope this book brings comfort to those people. It only managed to turn me off though.