Book: Juliet Takes A Breath by Gabby Rivera, Narrated by Lillian Claire
Published July 2016 by Audible Studios|Run Time: 7 hours, 35 minutes
Where I Got It: I own the audio book
Genre: YA Contemporary
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.
I liked Juliet Takes A Breath! Juliet’s pretty cool, and I loved seeing her as an intern in Portland. She learns a lot about herself and others, and it was great to be along for the journey.
I was pretty angry at her family when she came out to them. I was angry that they saw it as a joke, and didn’t take it seriously. I was angry that they saw it as a phase she’ll grow out of. I know not everyone has supportive families, but I still found myself angry at them and their reaction, because Juliet deserves so much better than that.
She had quite the summer in Portland. She’s a world away from New York, and her time in Portland wasn’t what she expected. We see social justice, feminism, race, sexuality, and how they do (or do not) intersect. We see that the people we look up to are flawed, and that meeting our heroes can be hard, and that they’re not who we thought they were. That the words they write can be hard to separate from the person writing them, and that they can get some things wrong, while also getting some things right. That people can be allies in some ways, but ignorant in other ways. I can see why Juliet clung to Harlowe’s book- we all have that something we hold onto for dear life, that thing that means the world to us, and the realization that we can’t put the creator of it on a pedestal. Still, I’m sad that Harlowe was great in some ways, but horrible in other ways, and that Juliet had a front row seat for it.
Still, I loved some of the people Juliet met over the course of the summer, and I hope that she stays in contact with some of them. Like Kira, and Harlowe’s ex. And the women from the workshop that wanted Juliet to submit her story to the anthology she was putting together. I wish I could remember their names, but they seemed really cool and supportive, and I hope Juliet talks to them long after the book is over. I also hope Juliet’s family comes around as well, and they’ll be more accepting of her and whoever she brings home to meet them.
Honestly, I just enjoyed seeing Juliet figure things out and what she learned about life, other people, and herself. She has a clear, honest voice, and I found myself rooting for her the whole time.
3 stars. I didn’t love Juliet takes a breath, but I still liked it! Juliet had an interesting summer, and I was glad I was there for it.