“Only you can change your world.” ~Juliet Takes A Breath
Juliet Takes A Breath by Gabby Rivera: 1/5 Stars
Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Portland, Oregon. She just came out to her family and isn’t sure if her mom will ever speak to her again. But Juliet has a plan, sort of, one that’s going to help her figure out this whole “Puerto Rican lesbian” thing. She’s interning with the author of her favorite book: Harlowe Brisbane, the ultimate authority on feminism, women’s bodies, and other gay-sounding stuff.
Will Juliet be able to figure out her life over the course of one magical summer? Is that even possible? Or is she running away from all the problems that seem too big to handle?
With more questions than answers, Juliet takes on Portland, Harlowe, and most importantly, herself.
*This review does contain some spoilers*
I haven’t done a review with spoilers in a while. I was thankful enough to receive an e-copy of this book from NetGalley. 🙂 Since I received this book from NetGalley I am to give an honest review and y’all know that’s what y’all will get. I’ll tell it like it is.
Disclaimer of sorts: If you are just looking to be mean or negative don’t bother even commenting. These are my opinions and you can read this book for yourself and decide if you like it or not because that’s your job not mine. Mine is to see if I liked it or not! 😀 Also, could get a touch (just a touch) political, so feel free not to read. 🙂
So, going into this book I stayed open-minded and just let it take me wherever it did and I hoped I enjoyed the ride. Sadly, I did not. I was pretty disappointed and upset over this book and I was just expecting more. I didn’t think I would love this book, but I thought I would get something from it and enjoy it still.
Let’s jump right in. As y’all can see I gave this book a generous rating of 1 star. I wasn’t a fan. I thought the writing could be good sometimes so that didn’t really bother me and this book read pretty quickly. This book had some good messages and quotes that I liked, but overall this book wasn’t for me. I feel like I’m supposed to like this book just because it’s diverse but that’s not how life works. If I don’t like it then I don’t like it.
Some things I didn’t like about this book are how freaking annoying Juliet could be! I liked her in the beginning I thought she sounded pretty cool but slowly I just started to not like her anymore. I found myself rolling my eyes a lot about her and this book as it went on. Juliet complained so freaking much. I get that she’s a teenager but come on she acts like a child. She’s seventeen, I believe, so the least she could do is act a little more mature. I definitely understand teenagers can be stupid and act like they know everything but come on Juliet! She didn’t even seem to learn hardly anything in this book. She cried about when things didn’t go her way and complained until someone coddled her ego and told her she’s amazing.
“”Forever person.” I wanted to scream at Lainie and tell her to go fuck herself and ask her how she even dared to include that cutesy hyperbolic shit in a breakup letter to me. What a self-important, miserable, cheating-ass human being.”
Here she is freaking about her girlfriend cheating on her…except Juliet was already cheating on Lainie emotionally. She was thinking about other women and making out with them so freaking often! So, why is only okay for her to do it? Why is it only okay that Juliet can be so hypocritical? It just really bothered me that she freaked out even though she was being just as bad of a girlfriend. And then she had to sit there and wait fr someone to come help nurse her wounds.
I get being a teenager is tough and so is love and breakups, but when you’re being a hypocrite and then think the world owes you something or that you deserve sympathy that’s just wrong. It’s wrong. Plain and simple. Moving on.
The author wrote certain things that just weren’t realistic. Like Juliet got upset about something her idol, Harlowe, said and so she get’s on a plane the next day to see her aunt…that’s just not realistic. I get it she wanted to get away but that’s not how life works. It’s not realistic and it just shouldn’t have been how it went. Like I thought she was gonna book the ticket realize she was being completely dramatic and then make the more mature choice of staying. Nope! She just left and then came back. Money shouldn’t just be thrown around like that haha.
That kind of leads me on to my next think about Juliet she just seems to run away from her problems. So many times she runs away then someone guides her back to the path, but then she doesn’t learn anything. She does this same stuff over again and doesn’t seem to do much thinking for herself.
Man that was a lot of negative about Juliet. I liked Juliet I really did in the beginning. I hate that she became so whiny and just couldn’t seem to even make decisions for herself. I wish she actually learned on her own and grew as a character, but I feel like she hardly grew.
Something I really loved about this book was how close Juliet was to her family. I really enjoyed seeing that. There were some rough patches with her mom, but they got passed them and that was nice to see. It was nice to see on her mom’s part and on Juliet’s part. I also just loved seeing how much she could bond with her aunts and her cousins.
“Don’t question yourself unless you hut someone else. When you hurt someone else, sit down, and think, and think, and then make it right.”
Her family definitely had some great advice and I loved seeing them help her and pass on some knowledge. I wish I felt she absorbed what they told her more, but I feel like she still understood it a little. That counts for something.
Something that really bothered me and I’m not really wanting to talk about is how this book talked about white people. Now, it really bothers me that I even have to talk about this and I hate how awkward and uncomfortable it makes me feel but I’m gonna do it anyway. I told y’all I would be honest so here I am being honest.
I don’t know if how they always seem some kind of anger for white people is why I wasn’t able to connect with this book and feel something on a deeper level or if there’s just everything else and then this. I think this book can be very helpful for anyone and I think there are definitely people out there that connect with this book so much and that’s great, but I just didn’t.
I think it’s great that this book is so diverse. I just hated that it felt like I wasn’t supposed to be reading it because I’m white and it just left me with a disconnect as it intensified throughout. This book acts like every white person is racist especially if they’re American and white. I just hate that it seems like this book constantly had to be tearing someone. or some race, shall I say, down in order to build other up. This book stuck with tearing down white people. I get it there a lot of horrible people out there, but this book pretty much assumes that if you’re white you’re racist and already have a lot of privilege so you need to keep your mouth shut. Not cool.
“For goddess sake check your privilege.”
“Do you remember how I acted like a spoiled undisciplined white kid?”
“…to never forget the vast amount of privilege they experience because of whiteness.”
“Kinda like when white people want to know where we’re really from, you know?”
“She wrote me a list of all the other books I needed to read about feminism that weren’t written by white women.”
“My white privilege spewed out, all over, onto you.”
“But I’m not here to make space for good white people.”
I feel like there are so many things the author could have done to make this less aggressive. For example the quote about more books written by people of color. She could have phrased it better instead of making this petty kind of remark. I think reading more about your culture and reading books by people from your culture and just reading books by anyone in general is great, but I hate that for some reason white people constantly need to be almost looked down on when they haven’t done anything. When I say “they haven’t done anything” I’m talking about the good ones ready to stand with everyone and help not the racist horrible white people, okay?
I’m moving on from that topic of the book before I get too political. So, overall this book just didn’t work. I felt like everything had to be overly dramatic and that there were so many things that could have been touched deeper like maybe some of Juliet’s love interest but they were just skimmed over. I felt this book just didn’t do a great job at building characters well and that the main character, Juliet, was just flat-out annoying. However, I’ll always recommend the book no matter what my review says. I say this because anyone and everyone can read what they want and if you think this book is perfect for you then obviously read it! It didn’t work for me and that’s fine. I’m just here to write the review.
I hope y’all enjoyed this post! Sorry for the long review! I just haven’t had a book that I gave a low rating in a while. So, I decided to be more detailed I guess. Have a great day y’all! ❤
You can purchase this book by clicking the picture at the top! 🙂