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‘Juliet Takes a Breath’: The coming-of-age story of a Latino kid from the Bronx

Gabby Rivera’s debut novel follows Juliet as she comes out to her family and starts an internship with her favorite feminist author.

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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.

In this debut novel, Juliet Takes a Breath (Penguin Random House) Latino author Gabby Rivera borrowed the story from her own life — like she once did, Juliet heads to Portland to intern for a white feminist writer — and the result is a luminous journey of self-discovery.

"Through Juliet’s awakening, Rivera gently challenges us to step out of the shadows and into the light, and reminds us that successful rebellion begins with loving yourself in all your infinite variety,” said Samira Ahmed, New York Times best­selling author of Love, Hate & Other Filters and Internment.

“When I was coming out during this time, I was very much a part of white lesbian circles and trying to understand the, like, what is a Tegan and Sara and an Ani DiFranco. And, like, what is this world? And we didn't have gay marriage yet... I never in my mind would have imagined that I would be out and talking about my book and talking about me as an artist in this way. I wasn't in the closet, but I just imagined that, the way that queerness sometimes is like a secret society, that I would always be in my secret society," Rivera told NPR in 2019.

About the author

Gabby Rivera is a Bronx-born, queer Puerto Rican author "on a mission to create the wildest, most fun stories ever," as she writes on her website.

She’s the first Latina to write for Marvel Comics, penning the solo series America about America Chavez, a portal-punching queer Latina powerhouse. Rivera’s critically-acclaimed debut novel Juliet Takes a Breath was called “f*cking outstanding” by Roxane Gay and was re-published in September 2019 by Penguin Random House. Currently, Gabby is the writer and creator of b.b. free, a new original comic series with BOOM! Studios. Stay tuned for her podcast joy revolution coming in 2020!

When not writing, Gabby speaks on her experiences as a queer Puerto Rican from the Bronx, an LGBTQ+ youth advocate, and the importance of prioritizing joy in QTPOC communities at events across the country.

Gabby makes magic on both coasts, currently residing in California. She writes for all the sweet baby queers, and her mom.

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