Here’s where I’ll add all the lovely things people have said about Juliet Takes a Breath.
This area is a work in progress and will be updated. But mostly it will serve as a link-drop site.
Blurb from Jamilah King at Mic:
Newcomer Gabby Rivera’s first novel is already earning rave reviews for bringing stories traditionally left on the margins to the center. It tells the story of a queer Puerto Rican from the Bronx who heads to Portland, Oregon after coming out to her family.
#1 on Mic’s Top 25 Essential Reads to Make Women’s History Month Last Longer than a Month (March 28, 2016)
From Leila Roy at Kirkus:
The more that Juliet learns and thinks and grows, the more complex the world becomes—she sees people who think that they’re speaking universal truths, but she also sees that the idea of a universal truth is predicated on the assumption that everyone is beginning at the same starting point, with the same worldview and ultimate goals. She has to contend with the fact that her hero is a person with flaws, and she has to decide how to react to that—should she walk away, or should she acknowledge those issues while also appreciating her hero’s strengths?
‘Figuring Out Who You Are’ a Review of Juliet Takes a Breath at Kirkus by Leila Roy (March 21, 2016)
Looking for a queer coming-of-age novel that you could actually relate to? Oh, only since the first time you realized your attraction toward your same gender was widely considered strange and abnormal? No shit! Well, hermanas, that time has arrived. “Juliet Takes a Breath” follows the story of Juliet Palante, a queer puertorriqueña who leaves the Bronx bustle (and her mami’s delicious arroz con maíz) for a summer in Portland, Oregon, where she interns for her fave feminist author Harlow Brisbane. During this time, the naïve, passionate and always hilarious Juliet comes out to her Latinx familia, gets some textbook and real-life instructions on feminism, queer terminology and radical politics, experiences the ups and downs of first romances and realizes that noisy subways, jam-packed dining rooms and speakers blasting Big Punrhymes can actually be more serene than birds chirping on the West Coast.
Meet the Queer Latina Behind 2016’s Dopest LGBT YA Book ‘Juliet Takes a Breath’ via Latina Magazine, written by Raquel Reichard (March 24, 2016)
When asked about Latinx identity, Rivera states:
“As Latinas, we get one framework: You are ultra femme, you are definitely straight, you can cook and clean and take care of a man, and you get this one way to do it — and there’s nothing wrong with that way. Much respect to all the women who fit into those identities, but what about everybody else? There needs to be more outlets. More mirrors. More possibility.”
Author Gabby Rivera on New Book, Identity, and LGBTQ Representation, an interview with Vivala dot com (March 14, 2016)
From Sarah Sawyers-Lovett at Lambda Literary:
Juliet Takes a Breath is the kind of book that gets the bittersweet pain and longing of growing up exactly right. It’s about the reality of your heroes being human, falling in and out of love, the fierce unconditional love of family, and learning to navigate the world in a way that allows you to retain your humanity…Juliet Takes a Breath is an impressive first effort from Gabby Rivera, whose perfect prose and gorgeous characters took my breath away.
From the interview with Ariel Gore:
Ariel Gore: You’ve said you want queer brown girls to see themselves everywhere. In your experience, what are the psychological effects of not seeing yourself represented in literature?
Gabby Rivera: You just feel like you don’t fucking exist outside of your neighborhood. And since the rest of the world doesn’t live on the block with you, they don’t know you’re a real person. When you step out of your neighborhood, you’re a walking stereotype for every white person who’s never met a Latina or a Black person or a gay person. Lord help you if you have more than one marginalized identity because then you’re an intersectional Ringling Brothers Circus for everyone to gawk at and test their hood skills on. that’s what it is to be under/mis/not represented.
The Power of Seeing Ourselves in Literature by Ariel Gore at Psychology Today
From Yvonne Marquez at Autostraddle:
I read Gabby’s book on the plane on the way home to the Valley and maybe I’m always emotional going back home but Gabby’s book hit me, like right in the gut, in such a good way. I laughed and smiled so many times because I could hear Gabby’s voice saying things in real life and understood her Latinx references and her viewpoints as a baby queer Latina. I connected so much with Juliet because I’ve been in Juliet’s awkward, teen shoes, something that doesn’t happen very often with books. I read the last half of the book on the way back to Dallas and again, maybe I was just emotional from leaving my family back home but I cried several times because what Juliet learns about herself in the end was just so damn beautiful.