Read juliet takes a breath by Gabby Rivera Online


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 onJuliet 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. ...

Title : juliet takes a breath
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 28648863
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 276 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

juliet takes a breath Reviews

  • Roxane
    2019-03-20 10:53

    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. At times there was so much Queer 101 didactic prose that slowed the novel down. That said this novel comes highly, highly recommended. It is fucking outstanding.

  • Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
    2019-02-26 16:14

    "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 is a book that has power. And a book that will stay with me. Juliet is a 19-year-old Puerto Rican lesbian from the Bronx who goes to be an intern for a hippy white feminist in Portland, and who also happens to have written Juliet's favorite book. It is a book about pussy power. But fear not, those worrying (as I did) about the cissexist nature of that book: it is called out frequently in the latter half of the novel! Just as so many other things are. In Portland, Juliet is part of an incredibly queer community. The number of queer women around at all times in this novel was impossible to ignore and it made my heart sing. Queer women of color, specifically, were essential in Juliet coming to understand the terminology she needed to define her own identity and to help offer new definitions of feminism and queer identity that can feel more inclusive to her.It feels rare to experience such visibly queer spaces in books. Not just queer spaces that happen in one scene, but a constantly queer environment that is full of support but also critique and questioning of white feminist structures. Beyond the presence of queer spaces, there is also so much emphasis on POC-only spaces and the importance that they have. Over and over again, the bullshit complaints of white feminists are shot down and intersectionality is emphasized, explained, and made the most important part of the feminism Juliet is trying to learn. A feminism that includes her, in all her Puerto Rican lesbian glory.Not to continue gushing, but some of my other favorite moments include: an entire chapter dedicated to making the period a celebrated experience, the strained but intensely loving relationship between Juliet and her mother, the entire chapter entitled "Ain't No Party Like an Octavia Butler Writer's Workshop", girls flirting, close family relationships, mini history lessons about amazing forgotten women of color, and about a hundred other things.OH OH OH and I almost forgot: the almost embarrassing amount of realism that queer women become completely useless in the presence of other beautiful lady-identified individuals. Every time Juliet saw a fabulous queer lady and lost the ability to speak or spit out coherent sentences I was on another planet of joy. This is the coming of age story of a fierce, funny, nerdy, chubby, intelligent Latina. It was breathtaking and sharp, full of so much goodness I know I'll be able to find new things again and again. It acts as an intro for those who don't know queer and feminist terminology, but also serves as a critique of the whiteness of those structures if you already do. It is ownvoices and vibrant and incredible. I'm begging you to read it.

  • ✨jamieson ✨
    2019-03-17 18:59

    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 REVIEWFrom 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. This book is one of those books I worry people won't read or will dnf because it's not got that much plot. It's a coming of age story, and I get why people say it's boring but this book is so entirely well written, well addressed, well researched and well presented it's a massive fucking shame if people walk past it. Even though it's not a typical fast moving plot, I still felt myself constantly reaching for this because it was endlessly interesting in other ways then plot. 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.Juliet Takes a Breath follows Puerto Rican lesbian girl Juliet Palante who's recently been introduced to feminism and "Pussy Power" by Portland writer Harlowe Brisbane. Juliet takes up a summer intern with Harlowe, and the story basically followers her as she navigates her internship. ( by nomoreheroestwo on tumblr)The truly beautiful and unique thing about this book is the incredible visibility of queer spaces, and especially queer spaces for women of colour. This book debunks and challenges aspects of feminism and womanhood that are exclusionary, cissexist or racist and promotes intersectionality. Juliet must confront and explore how her sexuality, gender and ethnicity intersect and that exploration is something so rarely seen in YA. What I liked about this is it kinda feels like you take Juliet's hand and learn as she does. This forced me to address and acknowledge some of my own white privilege and cissexism and I really liked that about it. If you're willing to go into it open minded you will genuinely learn alot about modern feminism, lgbt+ communities, QPOC spaces and intersectional feminism. Gabby Rivera feels in control and educated on every subject that comes up - this is own voices, but still a part of me was worried the exclusionary aspects of Harlowe's feminism would never be addressed. Shame on me for having no faith, Rivera masterfully writers and crafts her story. Aside from the larger themes, this book has such cute romance elements. There's a cute librarian girl who rides a motorbike and goes stargazing !! And an interracial couple with no white people !! (Kira is biracial Korean and White) There is also a poly relationship. And aaah it's so cute !! And Juliet is soo tongue tied over the cute girls and it was just sweet and not sexualised or anything but was just soft and realistic and I LOVED IT. Genuinely, I think this is such an important and well written book. I think it's important book that offers so much visible spaces for lgbt+ youth and especially queer women of colour. This book is filled to the brim with strong, outspoken and beautiful queer, poc women and it truly made my heart sing. The representation matters so much to me, and I imagine it matters even more to brown girls. This book feels so rare, like I don't know if I'll read anything which forefronts queer spaces this much again. I will never be over it. I genuinely want everyone to read this - whether you're gay, white, female or not. I feel so incredibly gushy about this book - like, you don't understand how validated and good this makes me feel and it isn't even for me. I am so happy Juliet got to find and experience spaces that included her, and a brand of feminism she could claim. Juliet's story is incredibly important, she's a chubby, latina queer women who finds her voice, her discovers and claims her own sexuality and spaces. The sharpness and poignancy of this book will not be forgotten by me, it's a terribly important story, a true look into how queer women of colour are struggling and it's a great intro book to inclusionary feminism which also serves as a critique and reminder to white feminist. I am literally willing to beg people to read this, it's that important. Kiss everyone.Ask first.Always ask first and then kiss the way the stars burn in the sky.

  • Adriana
    2019-02-28 15:00

    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, don't get me wrong, but I just didn't get it. But then I started reading the book, and I realized: Holy shit. This book is about me.This book celebrates all the different kinds of wonderfully brown humans in the world. It challenges stereotypes and rejoices in people who come from different backgrounds, who hold different beliefs, who believe and act differently than the world expects them to, and who give no fucks about it. This story interrogates the institution of feminism and queer spaces, especially when both of those tend to privilege white voices and bodies. Juliet constantly struggles with how she should feel about feminism and queer theory, when neither of these things were made for her, or with her in mind. How anyone who isn't white is expected to to accept white feminism—white anything—as the universal truth, how we are expected to find ourselves there when we were never written into it in the first place. How those who have been othered can other people themselves. How we are forced to assimilate and assume a language that was never made for us. How doing so can create a division with our roots and make us feel like we're "not brown enough."And how Juliet's family took her coming out? Don't even get me started on how much truth was present on the page there. It's so hard to balance the respect you have for your roots, your parents, your life forces, with the knowledge that some days are going to be harder than others. One day they're chill and the next they're trying to talk you down from it or convince you that it's just a phase. How no one wants to confront it or talk about it—some days it's just ignore, ignore, ignore at all costs—because then they think it'll go away or it won't be real. How we need to be patient and trust in the love that our fams give us, even when it's not easy. How some days we can't act or present ourselves in a way that's authentic to us, because those are the concessions we have to make sometimes in order to live and keep the peace. Para la familia. Every day is a negotiation.Y'all, this book just hit me deep. I live this damn struggle every day and Gabby Rivera managed to perfectly capture it in less than 300 pages. Every page of this book made me feel alive and known. And I still don't know how to put that into words.If you're queer and brown and still trying to figure out how to exist in this world, please read this book. It's for you.

  • Vanessa North
    2019-03-13 13:02

    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 Portland, Oregon at the feet of the pussy lady, Harlowe Brisbane. At 19, I was a student in Asheville, North Carolina (like a southern, mini Portland) and there were a lot of Harlowe Brisbane types in my life. I loved how Juliet was open to confronting all the new concepts being thrown at her and how she filtered them through herself and embraced trying out even the ones she ultimately chose to reject. Juliet’s openness was part of what made her such a powerful personality to read.That openness was full of vulnerability too. Knowledge is a currency, and people give it or with hold it with their own motivations and insecurities and intentions all twisted up together. There was this one scene where Juliet is humiliated and made to feel small because she doesn’t know everything—or even much of anything—about being queer. And I remembered back to 1996 and coming out to a lesbian friend in Asheville, and how she made me feel small and like I wasn’t a good enough queer because I was just “trying on bi.” That’s right, bi-erasure (not that I had that word yet) with a shame-cherry on top. So, when Juliet experienced something similar, I felt Juliet’s tears all the way back to the cruelty of that moment and how much it affected my relationships with other queer women for years. In that scene, I felt such a deep connection with Juliet, because I knew exactly how she felt. We think we’re safe around other queer people, that they can’t or won’t hurt us because they understand. It’s hard to learn, but we can be hurt just as much—and more—by cruelty within the queer community. I wish I could have read this twenty years ago!And love. Oh love, love, love. I LOVE how this book talks about love. About familial love, and romantic love, and the feel of falling in love with someone through words. The fierce love of female friendship. The bittersweet urgent love of a summer fling. I’m a romance novelist for a living, so I spend a lot of time thinking about love, and how we show it, and how we know when we’re feeling it, and how we feel loved. Juliet is wise—Juliet knows you can feel love and be deeply loved all in one beautiful moment and that letting that moment be huge and awesome and everything—that’s putting love into the world. Juliet was sometimes scared and confused and often hurt, but she *loved*. And that's a special kind of fearlessness.Perhaps some of the strongest and most important parts of this story are the parts I’m least qualified to comment on—I’m very much aware that while as a queer woman I related to Juliet on lots of levels, our experiences don’t intersect on race. I’ll just say this: Watching Juliet confront the racism in white feminism and take room for herself was wonderful. All in all, I was charmed by this book. I laughed and I cried and I devoured it in a weekend. And I cannot wait to read whatever Gabby Rivera writes next.Lastly—that cover? That cover is everything. Recommended. :)

  • Romie
    2019-03-14 16:07

    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 to her entire family before leaving for Portland for the entire summer. She goes there to be the Pussy Lady’s intern, a very well loved white feminist lady who wrote Juliet’s favourite book, Raging Flower.And I loved Juliet, I loved how clueless she is about the LGBTQ community, about feminism, about herself, because we discover all these things with her. We experience her doubts, her sadness, her happiness, her pain, and it was freaking beautiful.Juliet goes through a lot, she meets new people, open her mind to a world she didn’t know existed, she finds herself, or at least she begins to understand who she wants to be.Me. Because I’m a messy, over-emotional, book nerd, weirdo, chubby brown human and I needed to learn how to love myself, even the shameful bits.This book deals a lot with feminism and how different feminism can be for a lot of people. I admit, I was extremely afraid at the beginning of this book, because I felt like the feminism that was described was only meant for white cis women, and I didn’t want to find this kind of bullshit in this book. But turned out the book condemns strongly this ‘kind’ of feminism.I couldn’t understand why it mattered so much. Like, what was so bad about Raging Flower? Ava said it was because Harlowe didn’t make queer and or trans women of color a priority in her work; that Harlowe assumed that we could all connect through sisterhood, as if sisterhood looked the same for everyone. As if all women had vaginas.“Um, Ava, don’t all women have vaginas?” I asked, staring at her.“Fuck no. We just talked about this,” she replied, “This is why I can’t fuck with Harlowe. All Harlowe does is equate being a woman to bleeding and having certain body parts. Like, I’m so not with that. For me, womanhood is radical enough for anyone who dares to claim it.”Also guys, there was an ENTIRE chapter on polyamory relationships and on MENSTRUATIONS. CAN YOU BELIVE THAT ?! In our society, periods are still really taboo even though they're the most natural thing ever. People need to talk about periods in books more often, because young ladies need to understand they have nothing to feel ashamed of.Know your period as you know yourself. Touch the wobbling blobs of blood and tissue that escape and land intact on your favorite period panties. Note the shades of brown and purple and volcanic reds that gush, spill, and squirt out announcing themselves. Slide fingers deep inside your cunt and learn what your period feels like before it’s out of your body. Masturbate to ease cramps and meditate to soothe the spirit. Connect to your blood cycle. Build sacred rituals around your body during this time of renewal.I wish I could do this book justice, I truly do, but I’m a terrible mess right now. I needed to read this book, because as a biracial bisexual woman I needed to feel like somebody had my back, and this book totally offered to watch it for me.All of the women in my life were telling me the same thing. My story, my truth, my life, my voice, all of that had to be protected and put out into the world by me. No one else. No one could take that from me. I had to let go of my fear. I didn’t know what I was afraid of.Also, Cece's review is so much better than mine, so go read it please, you won't regret it !

  • ⚔ Silvia ⚓
    2019-03-01 17:09

    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 me get there.There is nothing wrong with this book itself. It's an incredibly powerful book that will help a lot of people cope with things like coming out and being a POC in the US. And that's the thing. This is one of the most US-centric books I've ever tried to read and it just doesn't do it for me. I kept wondering why it made me so goddamn uncomfortable at every sentence, and I think it all comes down to that. I can't connect to any of the things that I encountered in the book (at least up until the point where I read), and I know some of you will hate me and be like "it's because you're white!!!". Well here's the thing, being white is not something that is homogeneous around the world. I live in Europe and we have our own mentality and viewpoint and little to none of it comes down to skin color.Reading about "whites" in this book pissed me off because I kept thinking "this book is not made for me", and that's okay. It's not a book made for Europeans, but if you're someone who lives in the US you should probably give it a try.A final note because I'm pissed. I was under the impression that a reviewer should speak their mind about a book they're provided. This is a sentence off the approval email I got for the ARC months ago. If after reading all or part of the book you find the material was very different than you what expected or the genre was not to your liking, the Author would appreciate you not review the book as opposed to posting a review that would not be fair to the Author.I tried to contact netgalley about it on twitter and they never replied, so I don't even feel bad about putting this out there since I'm pretty sure this goes against everything that netgalley and the whole publisher-reviewer policy should be.

  • Julio Genao
    2019-03-14 14:01

    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???

  • CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian
    2019-02-26 17:05

    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 LIBRARIAN WHO RIDES A MOTORCYCLE.But god damnit, I just read an entire fucking novel of telling instead of showing. And the characterization was so shallow; most of the characters never felt real to me. Ultimately, I was just really bored reading this. I've read some of Rivera's journalism and essays on Autostraddle, which I thought were great, but fiction is a VERY different kind of writing and this entire novel needs a gigantic editorial makeover to transform it into that. So much of it read like a Queer 101 textbook and/or journal entries. What a bummer.

  • Naz (Read Diverse Books)
    2019-03-06 16:54

    For an in-depth review, visit my blog. Read Diverse BooksReading 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 appreciate literature about experiences foreign to my own, representative literature that serves as a mirror to my own life is spiritually fulfilling, so to speak. That’s exactly how I felt after closing this book. My essence, my aura, my self — they were all satiated and happy. I hope you have all had a similar experience recently, in a way unique to you.

  • Dahlia
    2019-03-09 18:11

    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 commercial YA/NA literature, especially with a queer POV. It's so inclusive in a way that never feels tokenistic, even if it's not always 100% in its depiction. (There's one paragraph in which Juliet's at her aunt and uncle's, and her uncle is Jewish so they're eating Shabbat dinner, and it's just so cute. For the record, holding hands is totally a Christian thing and not a thing Jewish people do when we bless food, but like, just seeing the word Shabbat in a book is so freaking nice. Jewish rep is usually in the form, of, like, someone referring to their bat mitzvah money.) I don't wanna be that white girl who's like ALL WOMEN OF COLOR SHOULD READ THIS, but I will say that if you've been desperately looking for #ownvoices QPoC rep in YA/NA, this is an excellent one to pick up, and I imagine it'd be a pretty damn cathartic read for many. ETA: I will happily be that white girl that says ALL WHITE WOMEN SHOULD READ THIS. So, ALL WHITE WOMEN SHOULD READ THIS. Wanna understand the difference between white feminism and actual intersectionality? Hiiiiiii this should help.

  • Elise (TheBookishActress)
    2019-03-12 17:12

    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 is Juliet's specific journey as a lesbian woman of color, and the author makes that very clear. Yet I was constantly impressed that Rivera managed to make this journey so specific yet so universal.The side characters shined here too. All were complex and developed, even in very little page time. I feel like I know these women. I feel like Gabby Rivera knows these women. I was just incredibly impressed by the amount I connected to this story. The integration of social issues here was also amazing. I’ve never read a book that represented so many issues so well. There’s a focus on lgbt issues, on women’s issues, on how women’s issues and trans issues need to be connected, and on racism issues. It’s revolutionary that this book got published by an agency. Juliet would be proud. I almost wish Juliet’s brave women heroes had been integrated more into the latter half of the book. It seemed like an amazing concept that almost got abandoned. I understand why it happened, though; there was a lot to resolve in the latter half. Again, the pacing needed a little editing. But everything else was just amazing.div17: ownvoices

  • ☆Dani☆ ☆Touch My Spine Book Reviews☆
    2019-02-25 14:15

    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!

  • Emma
    2019-02-22 18:05

    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 of womanhood, queerness, and her identity as a woman of color. She arrives in Portland, Oregon for a summer internship with Harlow Brisbane—the author of one of her favorite books, and resident feminist icon—believing that working with her idol will help her to figure out her life, whatever that means. Once she arrives, though, Juliet realizes that neither Harlowe, Portland, or herself are quite what she imagined.That was a purposefully vague summary, because this is a very hard book to describe. It’s largely plotless, which is something that often annoys me, but it worked perfectly in this case. It’s a very character-based coming-of-age story about a girl learning to understand her own identity, and how she fits into the larger world. This is an internal book, one that focuses on personal experiences and challenging one’s own preconceptions. Rivera’s characters are flawed. They are problematic sometimes. They fuck up, they say offensive shit, but most importantly their words are challenged and they learn to know and be better. The entire book is super, super diverse—the MC is lesbian and Puerto Rican, and literally almost every single other character is queer, poc, and/or female !!!! (This is also ownvoices rep, as the author herself is a queer latina woman. In an author’s note, she states that much of Juliet’s story was inspired by people or events in her own life.) There’s also a Korean-American romantic interest, a poly relationship, queer female friendships, and multiple f/f romantic relationships (although the focus of this book is never really romance).There are multiple sections that include rather long explanations about sexuality, gender identity, feminism, and racial discrimination/microaggressions—just to name a few of the issues this book tackles—so it may come across as a little overexplanatory if you’re already v familiar with these topics. I think they’re all incorporated quite well into the story, though, and could potentially be super helpful for any readers who are just starting to understand these subjects. There were a few plot and character threads that seemed to pop up and disappear, like Juliet’s projecting researching inspiring female figures, but overall I really don’t have any major complaints about this. It was absolutely fantastic, and all I want is to run around gifting beautiful copies of it to every single person I know!!! I’m realizing now that this isn’t much of a mini review, but I’m gonna cut myself off here bc if I let myself go on about this book for much longer I’ll never get around to posting this review sooooooI’ll leave you with a few more lovely quotes:We are not damaged. We have suffered from the brutality of an inherently violent system that favors maleness over womanhood. We’ve been victimized but that doesn’t make us all victims. We’re not the outcomes of what men have done to us. I refuse to be reduced to that.“You are your own person, Juliet. 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.”Kiss everyone. Ask first. Always ask first and then kiss the way stars burn in the sky.I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  • Julio Genao
    2019-03-14 11:46

    that cover is fantastic. and so is the foreword.i will make this book mine.

  • BrokenTune
    2019-03-13 15:02

    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 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."When I first looked into picking up Juliet Takes a Breath, I came across a review that described this book as the female version of The Catcher in the Rye. My immediate reaction was "Oh, good grief, noooooo!" and I instantly wanted to cancel the sample that had just been delivered to my kindle.However, I read the first few pages and was kinda hooked by the voice of Juliet, a 19-year-old Latina, living in the Bronx. The book starts with Juliet writing a letter to the author of her favourite book, a book that she originally started reading as a joke, but that turned out to have such an impact on her that she started to question her view of life."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 guess, this is where the similarities with Holden Caulfield start. But, really, this is also where they end. Where Holden dismisses the believes of others over his own somewhat narrow-minded ideas, which are based on his misinterpretation of the Burns poem (which he never really bothers to find out more about), Juliet wants to learn more about the ideas in the book that she regards as her "Bible" and manages to arrange an internship with its author.And so Juliet's huge road trip begins. She moves to Portland (OR) for the summer to help her author gather material for a new book, and by doing so learn more about herself, her family, her relationships with others, her place in the world, and as with all good coming-of-age stories, she learns that stories change depending on whose narrative is given a voice."Who were these women? I didn’t recognize any of their faces. How could I be 19 and not know any of them? I’d always done all of my homework, read all of the books assigned in school and yet, here was a world full of possibly iconic ladies I knew nothing about."Unlike The Catcher in the Rye, which was a painful read because I mostly remember wanting to smack Holden with his own book, I could hardly wait to pick up Juliet Takes a Breath in my spare time. A couple of nights sleep may have suffered also, but it was such good fun reading this, that I really didn't mind.I'm looking forward to more of Gabby Rivera's writing. "It made me wonder about all the ways that we are able to love each other and how movies and TV make it seem like you have to discard people once they break your heart or once the love disappears. Maybe that was a horrible lie, a complete disservice to real love."

  • Cri (PaperbacksandPizza)
    2019-03-03 13:05

    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 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. Read because you’re tired of secrets.”DISLIKES:• This book is PLOTLESS. Do you hear me, folks? 70% of the book is just a sequence of happenings that I didn’t understand at all. It felt like the writer didn’t know how to tell the story. We have Juliet, who travelles to Portland to go to her favourite writer’s house. Until here it’s okay, I mean it is totally relatable, but page by page, Juliet goes around Portland and basically does NOTHING expect for complain and praise Harlowe. The real plot starts a looooot of time later.• If someone asked me about what emotion predominated in me while I was reading this book, I would say B-O-R-E-D-O-M. Most of the time I just felt like I didn’t want to read it, I’m sure if I hadn’t requested this title on NetGalley and if I didn’t hate DNFing books so much, I would have stopped reading Juliet Takes a Breath. The thing is, I really didn’t care for any of the characters and I just wanted it to be over, as I could have started reading another book from my endless TBR. • Harlowe’s feminism isn’t the one I have always known. Since when feminism is based on hating men, being weird (because Harlowe was HELLA weird) and masturbating?? I thought it was about genders equality. I’m the fool, apparently. There were times when I liked Harlowe, but the times I hated her and just didn’t understand a thing about she said were more. • The characters’ behaviour: from Juliet to almost EVERYONE. There is a part in the book where Juliet takes the bus, in Portland, and she complains about the scent –that isn’t flower’s- that is in the bus. She says phrases like these ‘In Portland do people wash? My mother has always told me to be clean!’ Of course she has always said that?! Why does a person wouldn’t be clean? I’m not even American, but I found it a little bit offensive to Portland people: in the buses there is no good scent since people have invented buses, not only Portland buses stink. Look, I’m far away from Portland, and here buses are the same as Portland’s. Here’s the quote: “Some of the men on the bus looked like normal white guys but their beards were thick, unkempt, and their T-shirts were yellowed from sweat. I didn’t understand them. What kind of white people were they?” So now white people have to be clean? This pratically doesn’t make sense. I assure you, my white classmates don’t smell like flowers. To mention another character’s beviour I didn’t understand Juliet’s mother. The only thing I couldn’t help but feeling confused was where her mum let her go to a STRANGER’s house in an another state. Like, what?! What if she is a killer?• I found Juliet too much full of prejudices and annoying, to be honest. Also naive. She’s 19 and in the whole book from the way she acted, she seemed much more younger. Also the fact she knows so little about her own country and about LGBT+ community. Look, I know this book is mainly about Juliet’s trip to know everything about herself, about LGBT, but don’t even know what a transgender is… They are not aliens, so I couldn’t help but wonder why Juliet was so much ignorant. • This isn’t a negative or positive thing itself, it depens on what the point of view. For me, it was a negative. The thing I’m talking about is that this book is really USA-centered. It is a negative thing because I’m NOT an American, and because of that, I couldn’t understand such things. There is a lot of USA culture, which is okay to know, but it gets confusing to non-american people.• Juliet is constantly watching EVERY GIRL she meets. When she has already a girlfriend. I didn’t appreciate at all when she used poligamy to justificate the fact she liked others girls, beyond her girlfriend. NO.LIKES:• This book is about a Latina! I haven’t read a book about a Latina since… well, since never. It’s always a good thing when in a book there is diversity and I LOVED how Juliet said a lot of words in Spanish, it made the whole thing more real. Although I can’t speak if the author portrayed Latina culture as it has to because I’m not Latina.• Juliet undertakes a journey in the LGBT+ community because, if I haven’t told you yet, she is a lesbian (more diversity,yay). She starts knowing herself and I found absolutely beautiful and amazing the way she discovers her personality, her sexuality and her just being a person in general. • I just loved Juliet’s family! Family, in this book, is an important topic and not only parents and siblings are present, but even aunts and cousins, which I just adored. In conclusion: This book wasn’t for me, but it might work for you. I recommend reading it, especially if you are part of the LGBT+ community.

  • Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd)
    2019-02-27 10:46

    3.5 StarsRead 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 after chapter 2, but I am glad my sister pushed me to keep going because I really loved it. Juliet Takes a Breath is a moving and powerful story of self-discovery, growth, expectations, and feminism. Juliet’s story felt so honest and raw, it truly captivates you as she learns to love herself.Things I Liked:Juliet’s journey is beautiful and powerful. I loved seeing her discover feminism, what it means to her, and where she fits into this larger movement. I also really loved that she learns from her family and she has a support system around her, ready to uplift and encourage her. The feminist and queer ideologies are very accessible for every reader. Juliet learns and absorbs so much - about non-white revolutionists, polyamorous and other non-heteronormative relationships, safe spaces, trans rights, allies. Juliet’s eyes are opened to a world she didn’t know existed and she craves knowledge and understanding. Everything is explained very clearly and respectfully, so those new to feminism can easy understand the topics and grow in knowledge like Juliet.I also loved how Juliet’s relationship with her mom developed. We see their relationship go through so much and in the end, her mom helps propel her forward, and encourages her to reinvent her own world and not rely on others to do so.I LOVED that they called out the white feminism EVERY TIME. The characters in the story were openly critical of the exclusionary and dismissive white feminist nonsense and actively challenged that white feminism was universal. It was just so great to see.Things I Didn’t Like:You already now I hated Harlowe. Everytime she was in a scene I just got angry - and don’t even get me started on her dumbass book. First of all, it reminded me so much of the book Rachel reads in Friends-Be Your Own Windkeeper. I felt like they were basically interchangeable. On a more critical note, Raging Flower reeked of privilege. Highlighting women’s divine essence and power, and their cosmic sisterhood, while not confronting any of the systemic or political oppression women - especially non-white women - face was infuriating. Yes camaraderie and self empowerment are important, but I HATED how Juliet upheld her book as a bastion of feminist literature and Harlowe was iconicized for her mediocrity. It was not unrealistic though, and Harlowe/her book was called out several times so I really appreciated that. I also HATED her half assed apology to Juliet after the incident at the book reading. She literally said she didn’t think she said anything wrong or mean about Juliet and I couldn’t believe it. I felt Juliet was very naive. I understand that this is the story of her journey to discover more about feminism and where she fit in, but it didn’t feel like she was in college to me. She says she met Lainie in a Women’s Studies class, but she still knew virtually nothing about feminism, or the fallacies of the US government, at all. It was a little unbelievable to me. I also didn’t like her thoughts about the Native American genocide being an accident, and how Harlowe and Maxine’s poly relationship meant her crushes on Kira and Maxine, while still loving Lainie, was okay - it felt like she was trying to justify emotionally cheating to me, while not being open with all parties. It was also hard for me to believe that Juliet’s only resource on feminist literature was Raging Flower - even in Harlowe’s book she says to read books and resources from a wide range of people, so I couldn't believe that Juliet hadn’t taken that advice to heart.This was a tough reading experience for me, but I am really happy I finished the book. Juliet’s story is honest and gripping and unapologetically queer. Juliet celebrates the queerness in her own life and in the community she discovers. I loved going on this journey with Juliet and seeing her come into her own and learn to love who she is.I received a copy of the book from Riverdale Avenue Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  • Julia
    2019-02-25 17:08

    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, sexuality or gender, but as a latina lesbian, it felt like something special for girls like me, and that's not something we get very often. The way it was written, filled with terms and phrases in Spanish without much explanation or translations, the way these women spoke and joked about white people shit, and everything about Juliet's family — if I didn't already know the writer was a queer latina woman, I would've guessed it by the time I reached the second chapter.Juliet Milagros Palante very easily earned her spot in my mental list of favorite protagonists ever. She was everything. She was dealing with so much at the same time throughout this story and I wanted to pull her into my arms and protect her, but also I knew she was going to be okay. Every chapter kept making me love her more just when I thought that wasn't possible. I don't know how to describe her other than saying she was so fucking real. Brave as hell but scared and vulnerable. Sometimes she'd stand up for herself and sometimes she'd cry on her cousin's shoulder, and she was so damn believable and relatable. Her determination on the quest of finding herself, her thirst for knowledge about her community and identity, her respect for new things that she didn't really understand just yet such as polyamory and gender pronouns, her love and admiration for the women that crossed her way, her adorable shyness around cute girls. Every part of her beautifully written personality was worth of praise.And I cannot remember the last time I read a book with such spectacular supporting characters. Every single one of them was wildly important to Juliet's journey, and at the same time, they made me wish desperately for new books where it's their turn to be the protagonist. And Ava, holy shit. At each of her appearances I'd stop and hope from the bottom of my heart that Rivera will consider blessing me with a whole book about her story someday. When Juliet asked herself why she didn't go spend her summer with Ava in Miami instead, I nearly wept just thinking about how fucking fantastic that book would've been as well. Ava warmed my heart with her love for Juliet and for queer people of color and her patience and care with Juliet's doubts and insecurities and her hilarious one-liners. Viva la revolución, Ava.Besides all of the stuff I've mentioned above, this book was also a very entertaining and well written lesson on intersectional feminism. I was wary as hell of Harlowe's brand of hippy vagina-centric menstruation-loving feminism and some weird ass excerpts from her book, but from the very beginning, with the email Juliet wrote to her, I felt safe to believe it wasn't all going to be like that, and it was so delightful to be proven right. In the end, even Harlowe turned out to be an interesting, likeable character — flawed, but with good intentions and open-minded enough to listen and learn where her behavior needed fixing. Amongst the adult badass lesbians, though, Maxine was the real star for me, and Juliet's little crush on her was totally understandable. She and Zaria were so smart and wonderful and caring and, again, I want another book about them too. Along with Ava, and Kira, oh sweet loving Kira, they played the role of raising awareness to intersectionality and the importance of having spaces for people who really understand your struggles and not just preach about sisterhood.I was so excited when I noticed there was going to be some romance. I'm a sucker for romantic storylines in pretty much everything, but I was ready to read this without any expectations for stuff like that, and then Kira showed up. I'll just say that, even if it wasn't the main focus of the story, Rivera writes fluffy romance damn well.I think I'm done here. Short version: this book has the potential to be legitimately life-changing for girls in situations similar to Juliet's, and I hope they get the opportunity to read it.

  • Weezie
    2019-02-22 17:51

    **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 plot was strong, the writing was nearly flawless. I loved how Harlowe even understood her privilege and was still learning how to break the cycle of white women using PoC. I loved how the book challenged white feminism and it's minimal space for WoC and Transwomen. But there was one passage that ruined it all for me. If you follow me on twitter, you've seen it and if you don't, here it is: Like wasn't once with the Native Americans enough and didn't that kind of happen by accident? The pilgrims didn't mean to kill the Indians with yellow fever or whatever, right?It happens early on in the book and I spent the rest of my reading experience with those two sentences running non-stop in my head. I kept expecting for the author to correct the information but it never happened. In fact, while the book explores Latinx and Black oppression, the author never once circles around to talk about Native folks which I found troubling. You can bring us up but you can't correct it in later text? Someone reached out to the author on my behalf and while they did apologize and said that they meant no harm, I can't help but feel, well, harmed. This would have been a powerful read for me but instead I felt very othered by it. Brown and Queer but not the right kind of brown to be respectfully acknowledged. Due to this, I have chosen not to rate this book because it doesn't feel fair to the author to rate their book when I have such conflicted emotions about it. I also can't pick myself apart and rate this book based on its Queerness while ignoring the hurt it caused to my Nativeness. MY NOTE TO THE PUBLISHER: Thank you for the opportunity to read JULIET TAKES A BREATH. While I have written a review for this book, I will not be rating it due to a conflict in emotions about this book. It is beautiful, yes, and powerful but I can't accurately give a rating to a book that has two very callous lines about the genocide of my people. ("Like, wasn't once with the Native Americans enough and didn't that kind of happen by accident? The pilgrims didn't mean to kill the Indians with yellow fever or whatever, right?") A friend reached out to Gabby Rivera on twitter on my behalf and while Gabby did apologize, it doesn't erase the text or the fact that it is never corrected at any point in the book. I understand that the passage was meant to show Juliet's lack of understanding about the whitewashing on American history, but if the author was going to choose to use Natives as her example (which I have no idea why she would do that since she was looking up Latinx history) then the text needed to be corrected at a later date or at least challenged by another character. While Gabby might understand that's not what happened to Native American tribes during the brutal conquests of early America, the reader might not. Too many times the displacement, slavery, and genocide of my people has been swept under the rug and chalked up to disease. I am terribly disappointed that anyone writing a book or publishing a book that includes decolonization and unlearning White History would think that 2 glib lines about genocide would be ok.

  • Jackie
    2019-03-25 17:05

    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 terms and phrases concerning feminism and queerness and she discovers herself in ways she never thought possible.The novels deals with TONS of important topics regarding feminism and what it means to be queer (especially as a PoC) and I just loved every single thing about it ❤It was honestly such a powerful read and I felt very connected to Juliet and I felt like I was experiencing everything that happened in Portland alongside Juliet. She felt so relatable to me. I remember when I was first confronted with terms like polyamory and allyship, and, just like Juliet, I was very confused. It was so nice to have these terms explained and properly discussed and dealt with in this book!And I loved all of the queer characters so much! They were so welcoming, open and kind, and they helped Juliet on her personal journey and it was just beautiful to see so many queer women supporting other queer women <3333Seeing Juliet’s growth and her discovering who she really is and learning to accept herself was so beautiful to read about.I took of half a star because there wasn’t really much plot as the book was mostly about Juliet’s character development and her finding herself, but it was still absolutely incredible.Full review is now up on my blog: https://toomuchofabooknerd.wordpress....*Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review! This did not affect my opinion in any way!*

  • Andrew
    2019-03-09 18:07

    *Received from Netgalley*This was such an amazing book. It seemed so small yet held so much! It talked about everything possible! Poly relationships, different pronouns, learning, teaching, allies, the whole of the LGBTQ+ community, racism. It helped me learn some new things too and I'm so grateful I had the chance to read this!

  • Latanya (CraftyScribbles)
    2019-03-24 13:51

    (Full Review on 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 chicken soup will she create for her soul? Gabby Rivera's debut novel explores the lengths a young woman would go to determine who she'll be in a society fascinated with telling her how she will be. Juliet's naive but willing to learn. She's wobbly, but sure. She's scared but courageous. This story's coming of age. A story about discovery ignored in the pages of Seventeen and the CW. Looking or a cut and paste plot's futile. It's not going to happen.When she leaves the Bronx, Juliet believes she knows what being a queer Puerto Rican entails and is ready to mesh with women, like her. But, what she finds is not as welcoming as she believed. What she discovers is alienation when she meets the woman she thought she knew via her book. Fangirling becomes a study of truth versus fiction.Throughout the pages, issues of feminism, intersectionality, being a woman of color, and classism dance.  Stereotypes and beliefs become challenged. The importance of quality space for women of color - especially queer women of color - to breathe scream for opportunity, and how white allies sometimes hinder the chance boil under the surface. Impact outweighs intent. For example, Harlowe, Juliet's primary antagonist without realizing, exists. She'll cause you to roll your eyes as you read. But, she exists. Rivera's words feel truthful. One, Juliet does not know everything nor will she by story's end. She says inconsiderate things about other groups (e.g. Native Americans; Transsexuals). But, she gets checked and rechecked on learning to resolve her ignorance as she learns about herself. Often, we have characters saying terrible and misguided things without someone saying, "No. That's not cool." In her cousin, Ava, she gets teachable moments for growth.Two, the characters, while some are flat, exist outside the book. Juliet's family reactions toward her coming out range from denial to confusion to acceptance. Nothing's swept under the rug. Nothing's saccharine by story's end. But, there's heart. There's truth to how some families react and, seeing those scenes felt good. Other moments of reality spanned from Juliet's perspective on Portland's monochromatic landscape (Seeing people of color poke through every now and then gave her pause and allowed her to feel less tense) to her attendance at a queer party, where she cut her hair and declared herself free from the nonsense plaguing her, posed tranquil and genuine heartwarming I never saw before. Third, even though this book centers around a Latina, brown and black women will relate (Plus, there are black characters Juliet befriends, not as stock characters, but those with heart, body, and soul). Honestly, I know these characters. Maybe I'm one of them ; ) . That's how real Rivera paints her story.Is this story perfect? No. It's short, but there's meat to devour. Some say there's no plot. But, most coming of age stories don't have a plot. The emotional journey's the story's point. Either you follow or you don't. Also, there's a bit too much of Queer 101 thrown inside. I do not know all the terms and I'm in the life. But, damn. Receiving them all in a word gumbo at once can prove daunting to those readers as naive as Juliet. Less Tumblr. More thesaurus-free editing. Some readers may feel uncomfortable. But, the lesson's about not being comfortable and venturing into your own skin to see where you lead. Juliet's trying to figure out where she's headed and she meets vexing characters along the way. Harlowe, I dislike you with the fire of a thousand suns! (Sorry Not Sorry!)Verdict: 4/5. Cop this book now.*This book sits happily on my bookshelf by my own intersectional and PRIDE-ful funds*

  • HannahCassie (PSIloveThatBook)
    2019-03-21 10:58


  • Book Riot Community
    2019-03-23 17:09

    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 fantastic book about feminism, racism, sexuality, and coming of age. My favourite thing about it, though, is its recognition that people are complicated and flawed. You can have some things figured out and get other completely, devastatingly wrong. And it’s up to us to decide which people are worth sticking with despite their fuck-ups and which people are toxic for us despite the things they get right. I think that’s such an important and affirming thing to see in a book about social justice. And that’s just a small part of this story. This is definitely one that will stick with me.–Danika Ellisfrom The Best Books We Read in September 2016:

  • Tori (InToriLex)
    2019-03-05 17:55

    Actual Rating 4.5Find this and other Reviews at In Tori LexThis book was an incredible exploration of how Juliet learns to accept who she is, and how to appreciate others because of their differences. This book effortlessly teaches you why intersectionality in feminism is vital, without ever becoming preachy. You learn with fierce but innocently ignorant Juliet, as she visits the revered but problematic feminist author Harlowe. Juliet is taken out of her comfort zone, and immersed into Portland for her internship, where progressive thoughts and actions permeate everyone around her. However over the course of the book she learns to confront what she doesn't like directly and how to deal with the ways racism exist even in progressive activist communities. "White people that informed me that my fellow latinos were 'genetically more violent' than the average white boy all while inviting me to their summer home on the Cape."This book was eye opening to me because it highlighted powerful. self assured women of color characters. It's still hard to find books that confront how feminism for people with different lived experiences, who suffer at the hands of racism, is very different. Creating a community where you can live your truth freely, is not beneficial but necessary. Juliet learns by confronting things honestly how to live for herself and the importance of sharing her voice, This book has the power to encourage so many more to take a breath and become who they need to be."Society, government, white supremacist power structures, blatant hatred of women, and a whole slew of institutions are all working together to make it so that you gotta dig to find out even a shred of truth. They don't want you to dig. That's how this world is set up."I was engaged, empowered, and entertained while reading this book the entire time. The only criticism I have of the book is a small timeline inconsistency error. Despite that error this book was more than worthwhile.  I wanted to read more about the many characters who were un-apologetically themselves.  I would recommend this book to everyone, it confronts race, sexuality, gender, and feminism in a transformative way. I'm looking forward to reading more of this authors work as its released.

  • Xan West
    2019-03-08 15:00

    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 folks have said that it was challenged later in the book, and some have said that it was challenged a bit but not enough for them. There is no clear agreement on this question from other readers. I may pick up the book again if I am in a different place where I am more up for tolerating the cissexism at the beginning of the book.

  • Rebekah Gordon
    2019-03-22 12:11

    I love this book so much. It is so funny and smart and sad and real and full of heart and I just kinda want to start buying copies of it for libraries around the country.

  • Chelsea
    2019-03-04 14:01

    3.5 stars.*** edit: leaning more towards 4 stars because of the important message and the introduction. Still, not a huge, huge fan of the writing style. *****I received this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**I’m really wishing I had that half star option right about now.So, I was super psyched to read this book because I’m in love with what Gabby Rivera is doing with America Chavez’s solo series. She has such a personable, charming way of writing and it really makes you feel like she’s talking to you personally. She gives her characters such a pride that honestly makes me jealous. I wish I were that confident and fearless in real life. In that regard, I have the utmost respect for Rivera’s work and I would go door to door promoting this book to young members of the LGBTQIA community. Little me would have died over this book!That being said, I wasn’t super in love with this entire book.The style of writing is very different from what I’m used to. Some of it felt like I was reading notes from my Women's Studies course. The dialogue didn't sound like dialogue. Several characters, her cousin in particular, spoke in essays. Some of it reminded me of my youth, when I was reading any and every Young Adult novel I could get my hands on. Some of the dialogue seemed a little too immature to me and I could have done without descriptions of what Juliet wore every day. There were times when I would forget that the character was 19 at the time and think she was about 14. Especially when Juliet was going through some of the heavier emotional scenes. The hyperbole reminded me of why I haven’t picked up a YA novel in a long, long time. Maybe I’m just not an emotional person but sometimes the exaggeration grates on my nerves and I disconnect from the character’s situation. It makes me feel like an old grandmother and I just wanted to take Juliet aside, pet her hair and tell her “Sweetie, it’s not the end of the world.” I hate feeling like that because a) I’m not that old and b) it makes it harder to know when an event is actually a big deal. If everything is a tragedy, the word starts to lose its meaning. Then again, I have been called a robot before so it might just be me.This book is a great introduction to feminism, lesbianism, and intersectional feminism. Some of the scenes where Juliet speaks about being uncomfortable about not knowing all the lingo and the issues in the community were like snapshots of my past. I think all members of the LGTBQIA community have been in that situation where someone way more experienced and knowledgeable than you is throwing around acronyms. The reader learns more about what these words mean as Juliet does and the book is never smug about it. I’ve read other novels that kind of leave the reader to figure it out for themselves and, as this book explains, this stuff isn’t all in one place. There’s no Big Book of Gay to educate the masses. At times, the trippy hippie, literally-hugging-Groot-the-magical-tree-of-life stuff took me out of the book. There were some unintentional (I think?) laughs when Harlowe went full on Moon Goddess but I appreciate the insight into that culture. We all have our image of what Portlandia is like but I thought it was all exaggeration. Juliet’s coming out scene broke my heart. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time because I’ve been there. The not knowing is the worst feeling in the world, made even worse for Juliet because she went across the country immediately after. Her mother’s struggle to accept her was one of the most moving and relatable aspects of the book. I teared up while reading some of those scenes, not gonna lie.The crux of what makes this a good book is the discussion of intersectional feminism. Throughout the novel, Harlowe Brisbane is built up as this great beacon of feminist pride. Twitter, Tumblr, etc does this now with celebrities and YouTube personalities. They make a small statement like “Women should be paid as much as men” and teen girls are fawning over themselves to call these women feminist icons. Little attention is paid to how little these women actually do to fight for women or how little they mention that the struggle is different for women of color, queer women, and disabled women. Then these “icons” make a mistake and their fans cry outrage like it’s not partially their fault for exalting women that did the bare minimum.Juliet’s realization that Harlowe is flawed and privileged was important. As much as I kind of hate that it took her cousin Ava telling her that to make her see, the lesson was important all the same. The Women’s March this year highlighted the fact that white feminism does not include all women. Trans women and women of color spoke out about their exclusion and the voices speaking over them. They were told to silence themselves and not speak of the struggles of Native women and violence against their communities because that “wasn’t what we’re here for today.” If your feminism isn’t about uplifting all women, it’s not feminism. Harlowe’s feminism was all about empowering your pussy, embracing menstruation; trans women and women of color were an afterthought. I hope I don’t have to explain why that was problematic. Another thing I give kudos to Rivera for is the subtle dismantling of call out culture. The book acknowledges that it’s not Juliet’s job to educate Harlowe but she's not exiled into obscurity. It did make the scenes with Phen a lot more uncomfortable for me. The fact that Juliet was just another intern in a long line of interns makes it seem like Harlowe latches on to people of color and kind of uses them to make herself feel better the same way some people say "I'm not racist, I have _____ friends."Lastly, I loved how much this book emphasized women finding heroes in other women. Harlowe means well, she’s constantly trying to better herself and while that’s great, Ava explains that Juliet should seek out heroes of color. Juliet finds herself on a quest seeking out historical figures and symbols of feminist rebellion. There are too many YA books out there with weak heroes that seem to exist only to fight over boys, whether they’re in a small town or in a dystopian future. I have to praise a book that tries to get girls to read up on real life heroes from our pasts. One note, I was kinda peeved about the Lainie reveal. I feel like this thing happens in every YA book with a lesbian protagonist. So, I enjoyed parts of this book. I would definitely recommend it to younger members of the LGBTQIA community. It may be my age but I just couldn’t connect to some of the more emotional scenes and the style of writing as much as I hoped to. This is still a fabulous book about identity, self-discovery and becoming your own heroine.Definitely a recommend for me if any of these elements are your cup of tea. 3.5 stars.

  • Shira Glassman
    2019-02-24 16:47

    Goddamn. This is an amazing book and if there's a movement to get it into the schools, not just into the libraries but into classrooms, to be discussed and loved and taught, sign me up. It's a story about a girl figuring out her life and her relationships and learning about how she can be empowered by intersectionality and by connecting with other queer women of color.I don't know what to say that everyone else hasn't already. I guess I'll rattle off some compliments.1. The storytelling of Juliet's idolization of white feminist Harlowe for introducing her to the idea of celebrating her vulva, slowly growing charred around the edges as the reader watches Harlowe, as I put it in the chat with the author, "rollerblade towards the Fail cliff" -- with Juliet and also with her Black life partner, until that amazing, electrifying moment when another Black queer woman in the group (Harlowe's partner's other partner) finally calls Harlowe on her half-dressed allyship and Harlowe answers her by completely fucking up. The storytelling of all of this was just masterful.2. I loved the relationships between the MC and her brother and cousin. Totally positive, adorable, queer family dynamic full of love. I also love the depiction of her mother's journey. Some of our loved ones need time. They shouldn't, but they do, and they're awesome for being willing to change or at least work on it.3. This is so personal and silly but the fact that her place of healing when things went pear-shaped was SOUTH FLORIDA, was MIAMI, the tropics of my childhood, really meant a lot to me. And thank you so much, Gabby Rivera, for the paragraph showing the warm, positive feelings the MC has for her cousin's Jewish family's Shabbat prayers. It was not only an amazing surprise to run into my own culture in a book coming from another community, but you really did capture the positivity I have for those moments. It's not just "us" on screen, it's what *I* feel, on screen.