Juliet Takes a Breath

Juliet Takes a Breath


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.  (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)


This book had a really slow start for me and I was pretty skeptical when reading the “excerpts” from Harlowe’s book, but I was eventually won over.  Understanding and bearing witness Juliet’s journey to shy and unsure young woman who is learning to be comfortable in her own skin was absolutely wonderful – and often hilarious.  There were multiple moments I was laughing out loud.  Sometimes I felt I could never relate, and then on the next page I related so well to Juliet, Harlowe and all the other characters it felt like Rivera was inside my head.  I think alternating between challenging my way of thinking and completely understanding is what made the book so thought-provoking and stuck with me.

Rivera tackles extremely complex, politically charged and touchy topics with compassion and non-judgement that I have never encountered before.  This is not a book at a superficial level that dismisses people’s perspectives, but instead tries to address the complexities in a way that anyone could understand.  I’d highly recommend this read even if you don’t think you’re directly impacted by the topics because I think it will help you step into someone else’s shoes and understand the trials others face on a daily basis.

Warning: Contains sexual content and repeated strong language.

Rating: 5 stars!

Who should read it? Anyone trying to understand a little more insight to feminism, LGBT or minorities and the intersection of any of the above.