cover image Juliet Takes a Breath

Juliet Takes a Breath

Gabby Rivera. Dial, $17.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-593-10817-8

In this retooling of her YA debut, Rivera explores intersectional feminism through a self-described “closeted Puerto-Rican baby-dyke from the Bronx.” Juliet Palante has just finished her freshman year of college, and after seeing her girlfriend off and coming out to her family, she’s headed to Portland, Ore., to intern for “the Pussy Lady”: Harlowe Brisbane, author of Raging Flower: Empowering Your Pussy by Empowering Your Mind. Brisbane, who is white, is awfully relaxed about the internship and their living arrangements, and her brand of feminism seems limited to Juliet, who is not sure she can be comfortable in New Agey, predominantly white Portland. But Palante means “to move forward,” and in Rivera’s expansive prose (a mix of letters, book excerpts, and narration), Juliet does. In trying to keep it together, and sometimes succeeding, she comes off as wonderfully human, worrying about her first girlfriend (and maybe her second); her mother’s bad reaction to her coming out; and navigating micro aggressions, new ideas, and research before Google. Best of all, Juliet’s eye-opening summer of identity research reflects early adult life—intense experiences and relationships, and the work of finding oneself—in all its messy, confusing splendor. Ages 14–up. [em](Sept.) [/em]