Thursday 28 December 2017

Review Time! - Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

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Title: Juliet Takes a Breath

Author: Gabby Rivera

Genre: New Adult/NA,* Contemporary**, LGBTQ+ (and polyamory; with F/F)

*crossover appeal with older Young Adult/YA

Amazon: UK - USA

A few starting notes:

I received a free digital review copy of this book via NetGalley. NetGalley provides review copies from publishers in exchange for fair and honest reviews.

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This is one I've seen around a lot in the diverse books community online.

So many people that I trust and admire loved it that I was like - ok! Have to read this! XD

I really do hope that this book can get more 'mainstream' support and promotion, 'cos it really deserves that recognition!


Juliet's trying to work out her life. Puerto Rican, lesbian, New Yorker ...feminist?

The author of her favourite book - the one she credits with introducing her to feminism - Harlowe Brisbane, has offered her an internship.

Is this summer the one? The summer of her life? She hopes so, but things rarely turn out the way you plan.

Best bits:

This is a book that explores feminism, LGBTQ+ equality, and racial equality - and also how they interact with each other. Which is totally awesome!

This book tries to take intersectional feminism out of the realms of theory, and into the realms of practise, in all of its sticky, messy, real-world glory.

I love that. Equality and social justice aren't easy one-route things, and people are human.

And humans are fallible. That doesn't mean you give up on them entirely.

Basically, there's sh** that even good people pull which is NOT ok. You let them know that.

What happens after that is where the differences comes in. And I love the way that's handled in this book.

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The characters here are strong, real, beautiful, messy people. They rock.

The prose in Juliet Takes a Breath is gorgeous and complex - with a rhythm like a heartbeat.

(And my synaesthesia would like to inform you that it tasted of chocolate chip cookies!)

This book is also #OwnVoices - remember to support diverse creators! :)

Links to 3+ stars (positive) #OwnVoices Reviews, and Reviews by People of Colour (PoC):

Not so great bits:

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Potentially distressing content in this book includes:

- homophobia/general queerphobia
- racism
- sexism
- transphobia
- White Feminism
- coming out
- adverse reactions to coming out
- references to 9/11
- threat of sexual assault/attack

There's loads of swearing, and some sexy-times, but nothing that graphic.

There's reclaimed use of the slur 'dyke,' that might be offensive to some. As this is #OwnVoices, it's fine, but some people might not like reading it.

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There's a lot of info in this book - which is fab - but sometimes it can come across as a little info-dump-y.

Also, the social justice terms used seem a little modern for 2002 - so much so that it took me a while to figure out what time period this book was meant to be set in.

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This isn't a fast-paced, action-packed plot. This is character driven - so fans of lots of sh** happening in every chapter might wanna look elsewhere!

Also, there's a loooooot of hippie stuff! I was torn between 'Aww! My childhood!' and 'Ugh! My childhood!'*

So yeah, that stuff might irritate you - like it did with me; though my irritation was tempered by nostalgia.

*Long story short - my parents are v. hippie-ish.

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There are a few problems with this book in regards to references to Native Americans, which you can read about in Weezie's review which discusses the Native rep from an #ownvoices perspective.

There are also issues with equating female reproductive organs with being a woman - which is trans-exclusionary, bordering on transphobic, but this IS challenged within the book.

Whether it's challenged ENOUGH is another thing - and one that I'm really not sure on.

Links to under-3 stars (negative) #OwnVoices Reviews:


This is an amazing book - there are a few issues, but overall I'd personally say the importance of this beautiful novel outweighs them.

Read it, and see if Juliet can take your breath away.

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  1. I’m glad you enjoyed this!! I’m happy that it was an own voices, powerful novel. It seems very empowering!

  2. Sounds like this book packed in a lot of info!
    Glad you enjoyed the character driven book :)

    Dinh@Arlene's Book Club

  3. ugh I want to kick my butt for not requesting this ARC. My ratio was way too low so I had banned myself from NetGalley! There is no way I'm not reading the book though!

    1. Ha, you know you can rate things and say 'review to come' in the opinions section to get your ratio up? (Me? A bad influence? Never! *shifty glances*)

    2. you are one sneaky thingy! I already felt bad for posting short feedbacks for all my DNFs "I really wanted to like this book becasue XX but unfortunately the writing style wasn't for me/plot moved to slow" Now I'll be obsessing about taking your sneaky advice or not LOL

    3. I rarely actually do that, but y'know... to get more books there are few limits to what I'll do, lol ;)

  4. I've seen this book around a little bit online and it sounds like for the most part you really enjoyed this one! I really like the idea of it challenging a lot of ideas and dealing with a discussed topic in theory and bringing it in practice to see what its like as well. There's a lot of things you mention in the review that I don't really know much about so I think the information included in the book would actually be good for me.

    1. I think it's an uber-important book, and it's def. informative! :)


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