Title: Juliet Take a Breath
Author: Gabby Rivera
Release Date: January 18, 2016
Publisher: Riverdale Avenue Books
(book provided by Netgalley)
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. (from goodreads.com)
This was such a powerful book. Focusing on Juliet, a 19 year Latina from the Bronx, the story follows her as she tried to figure out who she is and what she wants out of life. I personally loved that Juliet is both completely sure of who she is, and also totally confused by what that means for her. The book opens with her cold emailing the author (Harlowe) of her favorite book and remarkably getting a response and an offer to be Harlowe's summer intern. Taking a giant leap of faith Juliet come's out to her family and then promptly flies across the country to take the opportunity of a lifetime.
Harlowe's world in Portland, OR is a far cry from Juliet's in NY and author Gabby Rivera does a phenomenal job weaving the stories of all the people Juliet meets together to create a tapestry of humanity that allows the reader to look at the world we live in.
My only negative for this book is that the world Juliet is thrust into is full of new worlds and acronymns (like poly for instance). Initially Juliet doesn't want to admit that she doesn't know what all these things mean, afraid to look stupid in front of someone she looks up to. However, Juliet's lack of understanding can also represent the readers lack of understanding. While I was able to follow the vast majority of what was being referred to, there were still moments that I had to step away from the story to look something up, which killed the momentum of the story.
That aside, this book is such a worthy read and provides a look at what it's like to trust yourself and take a chance on a life you might never have experienced otherwise. That's a message that goes beyond the protagonist and her story and everyone can relate to.