cover image Juliet Takes a Breath

Juliet Takes a Breath

Gabby Rivera and Celia Moscote. Boom Box, $14.99 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-1-68415-611-5

This boisterous graphic adaptation of Rivera’s YA novel, cocreated with newcomer cartoonist Moscote, captures the generous spirit—and spirited provocations—of the original. Juliet Milagros Palante, age 19, is a baby dyke from the Bronx, N.Y., with a secret long-distance girlfriend. It’s the summer after her freshman year of college, and she’s headed to Portland, Ore., for an internship with Harlowe Brisbane, author of Raging Flower: Empower Your Pussy, Empower Your Mind. The night before her departure, Juliet decides to come out to her Puerto Rican family; while her abuela kisses her goodbye on the cheek, her mother is less accepting. So starts a summer of self-discovery, culture clash, and growth. “Feminism... still sounds weird. Too white,” admits Juliet. The pitch-perfect cast of characters she meets up with in Portland, imbued with a particular self-congratulatory brand of activism, provide ample fodder for humor and conflict. Moscote’s exuberant art celebrates Juliet’s curves and curls. The color palette is heavy in pinks, purples, peaches and deep blues—capturing heartbreak, summer crushes, and the sunrise of new beginnings. Rivera pokes at big questions around the intersection of race and queerness, and even if some of her headier message have been simplified here, this brightly drawn version maintains its integrity. Juliet’s original outing won Rivera devoted readers, who will surely champion this accessible adaptation. Agent: Joanna Volpe, New Leaf Literary. (Dec.)