Author: Gabby Rivera
Publisher: Riverdale Avenue Books
Publication Date: 18. January 2016
Rating: 5/5. Stars
Diversity: LGBT Characters, PoC
TW: reclaimed q slur, reclaimed d slur, sexual assault mention, rape mention
Summary: 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.
Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of this book on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I have heard a lot about Juliet and I was super excited when I was finally able to start reading it. And boy, honestly, it did not disappoint.
Juliet is from the Bronx, in a secret relationship with another girl and on her way to her internship with feminist writer Harlowe. Her summer will definitely not be a normal one and she is so ready for it. (and honestly, so am I).
Juliet is a really fascinating character, wry and funny and interested in finding knowledge. She’s also a fascinating narrator and I loved how her story was told, it was just amazing. Knowledge about being feminist and a lesbian and a round, brown girl and how all these identities can ever fit together. It’s a lot about discovering herself and about growing as a person and about growing up. When Juliet goes from the Bronx to open-minded Portland, she is thrown into a new world full of white people and feminists and weird confusing new terminology. I loved how Juliet always stayed open to various concepts, even to those she ultimately rejected and also that she didn’t accept anything unflinchingly, but thought it through first.
JTAB also deals with racism, microaggressions, sexual assault, lesbophobia and entitlement in LGBT+ spaces. It was all dealt with very well and I really loved reading this book. And while I’m white, I loved to see how Juliet confronted the racism and white-centrism in feminism and LGBT+ spaces and I can’t imagine how it must feel for latinx LGBT+ people.
Juliet also gets the best haircut I’ve ever read about in a story and I love it a lot. It means a lot to her and symbolizes change and she is happy with it, no one gives her shit about her decision, she is just allowed to be herself and grow and change and it’s great.
Another thing I enjoyed is about how much love this story is. About familial love, about friendship love, about first love, about summer love, about the love of and through words, about the fierce love in friendships between girls, about how abundant love is and in how many forms it can come and how neither form is somehow less important than the other.
My favorite scene was probably the Sci-Fi workshop that was only open for black and brown women because I love seeing acknowledged how important safe spaces can be. (Also Juliet’s story sounded super interesting, and I’d love to read it)
Sometimes it felt a bit too much with all the LGBT+ explanations, even though they made sense in the context and were interesting to read, they slowed the story down a bit, which is probably my only complaint about the story.
In the end it’s a really, really great book and I loved it a lot.