Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera
Adaptation of the novel by the same name. Illustrated by Celia Moscote.
19-year old Juliet has a summer internship set up with Portland author Harlow Brisbane, creator of a modern feminist handbook that Juliet finds inspiring. Just before leaving the Bronx and departing on this journey, Juliet comes out to her Puerto Rican family, to mixed success. Her mother thinks it’s all a phase, even though Juliet has been dating her current girlfriend for a year. With that goodbye plaguing her, Juliet takes off on a journey of self-discovery and acceptance, of learning about the diversity of queer culture, and confronting white fragility and racism.
This is an absolutely beautiful story. Juliet's journey will definitely inspire others to do some soul searching, including white, LGBTQ+ allies who might be having issue letting go of their colonial mentality (as Harlowe displays). Rivera is frank and up front about a lot of issues: body issues, sexual positivity, support and acceptance of others, and the complicated mix of issues that comes from being a person of color in the LGBTQ+ community. Having only the background knowledge of Rivera provided by the publisher, it seems like Rivera has put a lot of her own soul into the character of Juliet, and what we as readers get is a very authentic, lovable character. Many students will be scrambling to read this story, which has such a strong representation that is often lacking in literature.
Moscote's art is warm throughout, as depicted on the cover image, and it gets even warmer when Juliet visits Miami. Blue is used sparingly as an accent, and it really pulls the attention as a main focal point of the page. The character designs Moscote uses also add so much depth to the characters as people. You get a stronger sense of their personality through the way they are drawn (like Harlowe not shaving her legs, for instance).
The novelization was rated for ages 14+, and the graphic novel is similarly targeting this age group. Here are a few content warnings: some cussing, discussion of women’s genitalia, masturbation, posterior nudity, and a few sex scenes that are suggestive, not graphic. Most of these go into the themes of sexual positivity and body positivity.
Sara's Rating: 9/10
Suitability Level: Grades 10-12
This review was made possible with an advanced reader copy from the publisher.
Publisher: BOOM! Box
Publication Date: December 1, 2020
ISBN: 9781684156115 (Paperback)
Tags: Rating: 9/10, Suitability: High School, Graphic Fiction, LGBTQ+, Romance, Realistic Fiction, BOOM! Studios
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I've been reading manga and comicbooks for years. Now, I write reviews and other helpful things for School Librarians, teachers, parents, and students.
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