Saturday, July 8, 2017

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera book thoughts

Title: Juliet Takes a Breath
Series: N/A
Author: Gabby Rivera
Published Date: January 18th, 2016
Publisher: Riverdale Avenue Books
Source: Netgalley
# of Pages: 276
Format: Ebook
Genre: Young Adult/Feminism/Queer/Contemporary
Days to Read: 4
Rating: 4.5
Would I recommend it?: Yes
Would I read more books by this Author?: Yes
My Social Media: Goodreads/Instagram/Twitter

Goodreads Synopsis

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.

My Thoughts

I got this review from Netgalley in exchange for an honest...oh wait, no I didn't.

I've heard many good things about this book and I love me a good queer contemporary, so when I saw this on Netgalley I had to request it! I was so happy to get approved (and I did end up loving this book!) but when I got the email I saw something that i've never seen in any other Netgalley email i've gotten and it doesn't sit right with me.

"Your request has been approved on the basis that you have a strong interest in the book's subject matter and that you review books. If you request a book that turns out is not in the genre you read, and find that it is not to your liking because you were expecting something else, the author would appreciate it if you did not leave a review. Likewise, if you were unable, or choose not, to finish reading a book (DNF), we would appreciate it if you refrained from leaving a review."

Maybe i'm over-reacting but to me it sounds like "If you don't like it, don't review it" and not let reviewers be, well, honest in their reviews. It seems to go against the whole honest reviews policy thing. I'm always going to be honest in my reviews. I am only one person so take my reviews with a grain of salt, no book is for everyone, all I state is my honest opinions and feelings about a book, which I will always give. Now since I did truly love this book, and think it's definitely worth the read, this may seem silly to even bring up, but I couldn't honestly say the whole "in exchange for an honest review" now could I? So suffice it to say that dampened how I felt going into this book but I still wanted to read it, doubt the author had anything to do with that email, and I'm really glad to have read this book now! I just don't feel right about that whole thing and don't want to lie myself.

This book is about a Queer Puerto Rican 19 year old girl, Juliet. She goes to the house of an author she looks up to for an internship. The author, Harlowe, wrote raging flower. A feminist book. Along the way she learns flawed to say the least. Juliet is trying to learn where her queer chubby brown self fits into feminism that ends up being whitewashed. Also before she left for the internship she came out to her family...and the reaction wasn't great.

Honestly I still hate her mother though i'm not sure i'm supposed to. She's "trying" but failing so hard. I will never understand why it's so hard to accept that some people..are gay. Like who cares? Why is it a problem and so hard to come to grips with? I will never understand homophobic people and I don't really care to. Though maybe that's my own failing. Obviously homophobia isn't ok, but if someone is really trying to learn and do better...

As for the other characters, I mostly loved them. I have a weird relationship with Harlowe. She made me look at myself in ways I didn't want to, confront my own white privilege. I keep thinking i'm doing this and I know racism is wrong and horrible, but i'm still white with all the shit the US has ingrained in me and having been raised by a racist family. Racism never made sense to me, but that doesn't mean i'm immune even without meaning to be (which does not make it ok!). Harlowe ends up doing things I know past me would have done and not understood was wrong, so I couldn't exactly hate her when I saw she was trying to apologize, learn and do better. But she isn't doing so great and I can easily see why people would hate her. At some points in the story it felt like "oh, so POC are allowed to be flawed and mess up, but white people aren't?" not from the story, but from how I know there is hatred for Harlowe even as I saw her trying (but generally not doing a good job of that), but she isn't the only one that's flawed. Everyone is, because everyone is human and being human means messing up and doing your best to learn and do better but no one will ever be perfect. We..are..human.

By the end of the book I saw that isn't the case. I can see why people hate Harlowe, even though I don't think she's exactly evil. I don't love her, I don't hate her. I'm not sure how I feel about her, it's an odd relationship. Which is why I feel odd about hating Juliet's mother. Juliet doesn't hate her mom. They say they love each other, but I can't wrap my head around how you can love someone but not accept they are gay and why is that so hard?

Basically this book is causing me to take a long hard look at myself, to think a lot and ask questions. I JUST finished this book, and I know it will take me awhile to process it.

I LOVE Juliet. She is naive but willing to learn. She doesn't have it all figured out by the end of the book, and that's ok. It's about the journey. She learns a lot in the book and is learning how to love herself, every bit of her in a world that wants to make her something else. She is only 19 and who at 19 has it all figured out? I'm pretty sure no one ever does, especially not at 19. But as I said she goes through a lot and learns a lot. There is so much to this book.

This book made me angry, sad, happy. It made me cry. I don't necessarily think it's perfect but it's damn close. It's a wonderful book with a great message, great and real characters, and ways to make you think.

I highly recommend this book to everyone, especially those looking to see themselves in this book or looking to challenge their mindsets.


  1. Very insightful review!

    I gave your blog a follow, and I would truly appreciate it if you could check out my book reviews blog located at and possibly give it a follow as well! Looking forward to reading more of your reviews!

    - El