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 don’t worry, Juliet has something kinda resembling a plan that’ll help her figure out what it means to be Puerto Rican, lesbian and out. See, she’s going to intern with Harlowe Brisbane – her favorite feminist author, someone’s who’s the last work on feminism, self-love and lots of of ther things that will help Juliet find her ever elusive epiphany. There’s just one problem – Harlowe’s white, not from the Bronx and doesn’t have the answers. Okay, maybe that’s more than one problem but Juliet never said it was a perfect plan… Critically-acclaimed writer Gabby Rivera adapts her bestselling novel alongside artist Celia Moscote in an unforgettable queer coming-of-age story exploring race, idenrity and what it means to be true to your amazing self. even when the rest of the world doesn’t understand.
Warnings: homophobia, racism
Juliet Takes a Breath is about a queer person of color finding her voice, and a bit about learning that sometimes the people you look up aren’t all that great. When Juliet gets an internship with a famous feminist author, she is happy to meet her idol and also get a chance to immerse herself in queer activist spaces. But upon meeting Harlowe, she is hit with disappointment after disappointment as the latter is mostly leaving her to her own devices with respect to her internship project and her devices, and then also finding out that Harlowe doesn’t have all the answers, especially when it comes to non-white queer experience. The people around Harlowe – other queer PoC activits, sort of warn Juliet about Harlowe’s tendency to have the wrong take on a situation. While Harlowe seems like she is an ally, the truth is that when it comes to intersectional topics, she is not yet divorced from her whiteness, and doesn’t understand that her efforts are causing more harm than help. Juliet realizing that she shouldn’t be looking to her for answers, and instead work on her own as well as with other queer PoC to figure out what her voice would be. There are instances of family homophobia also explored in this book. The artwork is gorgeous, and I loved the color scheme. I would say, though, that the pacing and scene transition of the graphic novel isn’t great – it made me feel like some things were missing, and that I should have maybe also read the original novel before reading this adaptation.
Is it diverse? lesbian, fat, Puerto Rican main character; queer PoC secondary characters
Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from BOOM! Box, via Netgalley.