Juliet Takes a Breath

Juliet Takes a Breath - Gabby Rivera

Juliet was holding onto a dream. She found her dream inside a book and she hopes that by meeting the author of this book, she would finally be set free. She is tired of hiding, she wants to live, and she wants to breathe. What Juliet actually finds in the end was not the freedom that she expected but something much more, something the book and the author could never provide for her. Juliet finds her own voice and more inner strength than she thought she possessed.


Juliet was looking for a safe haven, somewhere where she could be herself. Living in the Bronx, Juliet has been living a lie for many years. With her Puerto Rican heritage, Juliet is afraid of telling the world actually who she is until the night before she sets off to do her internship with Author Harlowe. Things at Harlowe’s house are a bit “free” and it reminded me of the 1960’s as Juliet is met with individuals who feel free walking around naked, smoking drugs and drinking without reservation. Juliet is shocked of course at this behavior but considering this is the author’s home and knowing the author’s mindset and being in a new city, Juliet knows she must adjust.   It was Juliet attitude and energy at Harlowe’s that I enjoyed most about this novel.   Juliet went into this internship with the attitude that she wanted to set free and she hoped she would accomplish that with Harlowe. Reading Harlowe’s novel, she felt a connection and she knew that just being with her they would bond and Juliet would feel more relaxed with her sexual identity. Juliet hoped the internship would empower her so when she went back home, she would not be terrified about what awaited her since she came out. Juliet had hoped that she would be more relaxed now that she was not living a lie yet as the days go by Juliet is the same person.   Juliet tries to be focused, she tries to be composed, she tries to be reserved but life there was different and these new individuals that are in her life are trying to help her relax and change but Juliet can’t. I loved this conflict.


This novel was not what I was expecting; there were parts that I thought were fantastic and parts where I wished that the author could have written more. Juliet thought she would find her freedom from someone else but the truth was, she first needed to discover herself and how she felt about herself. The novel tackles some great issues for young adults: self discovery, friendship, and heritage.