Read A F*cking Book Club: We’re All Reading “Juliet Takes A Breath”

I bring you all great tidings of joy. I have fantastic news! We’ve been hotly anticipating the debut of Autostraddle’s very own Gabby Rivera’s queer YA novel, Juliet Takes a Breath and guess what, you can read it right this day! And it’s our next Autostraddle book club!

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y’all this cover

When I heard Gabby had a forthcoming book, let alone a queer YA novel, my heart immediately did somersaults of happiness. If you’ve ever read anything Gabby has written for Autostraddle you know she’s a powerful truth teller, someone who writes from her soul and impacts you with the beautiful rawness in her words and voice. One of the most exciting things about my job is working with amazing writers like her, who can spin words into magic. I’m so happy her new book is out in the world and I’m so excited for y’all to read it. I’ve already devoured it and it made my queer Latina heart sing.

Juliet Takes a Breath is a queer coming-of-age story that follows Juliet Palante, a queer Puerto Rican from the Bronx, as she travels to Portland, Oregon for her summer internship to work for her idol — a white feminist author named Harlowe. Throughout her journey, Juliet comes out to her family, deepens her feminist views and radical politics, learns what queer community is all about, finds some badass queer people of color mentors, falls for a rad girl and unearths some truths about herself.

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. When I was a closeted teen, I read Annie On My Mind and Keeping You a Secret and those were amazing LGBT YA novels to keep me company throughout figuring out who the fuck I was but I can just imagine how Juliet Takes A Breath will impact young, queer people of color along their journey. Even though Gabby’s book is aimed at LGBT youth, I rediscovered some lessons I learned long ago but needed to be reminded of their value as an adult. It reminded me about the power of forgiveness, surprisingly; how community can always lift us up; and how chubby, brown girls rule forever.

Here’s what Riese had to say about the book:

“Rivera cuts your heart right open with the most original young lesbian character I’ve read in years, seamlessly weaving together racial politics, awkward teenage romance and queer coming-of-age that manages to both center and transcend the identities it represents.

So tender, so real, so crazy-beautiful and earnest and honest and everything you’ve ever wanted in a queer coming-of-age story but could never find till now.”

I mean, if you haven’t already, you should buy it now for your Kindle and then buy the paper version when it becomes available January 29th! Read it, consume it, write all your feelings down in your diary and then come back to Autostraddle on Wednesday, February 10th so we can talk about all your thoughts and feelings in a new post! Also stay tuned to Autostraddle for Gabby’s personal essay of how this book got born and additional events and shows in the spring.

Yvonne S. Marquez is a lesbian journalist and former Autostraddle senior editor living in Dallas, TX. She writes about social justice, politics, activism and other things dear to her queer Latina heart. Yvonne was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter. Read more of her work at yvonnesmarquez.com.

Yvonne has written 205 articles for us.

34 Comments

  1. So excited to read this book! I love Gabby <3 I don't normal do kindle, actually never, but this is going to be an exception for an exceptional book. Of course I'll get the hard copy later as well cause I'm all about physical books

  2. I cannot wait to read this book! “If you’ve ever read anything Gabby has written for Autostraddle you know she’s a powerful truth teller, someone who writes from her soul and impacts you with the beautiful rawness in her words and voice.” So true. Yay!

    • I’m really looking forward to reading this after the conference, Gabby! It was great to meet you, and I hope we run into each other again in the next couple of days! I normally prefer paper, but I’m not sure I’ll want to wait that long, in this case.

      (I’m also normally a bit more demure in my use of exclamation points)

  3. It’s so good!!! I had to text my gal pal, and confess that I didn’t know if I was more in love with Juliet or with Gabby because she’s talented like woah. Both?!?! My sister is turning 18 and navigating the world as a black baby dyke, and immediately after I was done with the book, I bought her a copy. Did I mention it was good?

  4. Hurraaaahhh! This is so exciting! I love the name and the cover and the goofy shorts of Gabby reading it on her website and *everything*!! Can’t wait till the print version is out – I’ll definitely be getting it.

  5. Goddamn. Just finished because I couldn’t stop. It’s not often we get a chance to tell authors how much their work had meant to us. Fucking a. I don’t know what to say that’s not a swear word. Well freaking done.

  6. ahh! Just finished and I loved it so much! I’m going to buy at least one physical copy to donate to the library at my old high school – I don’t even know if they accept donations like that but if not I’ll hide it somewhere in the stacks.

  7. I *finally* ordered my copy (thanks paycheck for arriving haha) and I AM SO PUMPED. Gabby, you were already one of my heroes… now you’re a hero in a new field. When I get my own (hella queer) novel revised, I am going to ask you so many questions….

    Much love. Will return here and probably Amazon with thoughts after I’ve read it… 🙂

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