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Gabby Rivera promises a ‘gayer, chubbier, and more confident’ heroine in new graphic novel

‘Juliet Takes a Breath’ cover
A graphic-novel adaptation of “Juliet Takes a Breath” is on the way.
(Celia Moscote / Boom! Studios)

Juliet Milagros Palante is a 19-year-old lesbian, Puerto Rican college student from the Bronx, and she’s just starting to figure out what all that means.

Gabby Rivera’s debut novel, “Juliet Takes a Breath,” follows Juliet as she comes out to her family and heads to Portland, Ore., to intern for her favorite feminist author, Harlowe Brisbane. During her summer away, Juliet learns her hero doesn’t have all the answers, but she meets plenty of other people who help expand her worldview and help her grow.

Rivera, with artist Celia Moscote and colorist James Fenner, will be adapting “Juliet Takes a Breath” into a new graphic novel, Boom! Studios announced Wednesday.

“We’re blasting new energy into the story and lush colors all over the page,” Rivera said in a statement. “Get ready for a Juliet Milagros Palante that’s gayer, chubbier, and more confident than ever before.”

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Gabby Rivera and Celia Moscote
Author Gabby Rivera, left, and artist Celia Moscote.
(Julieta Salgado, left / Boom! Studios)

The Bronx-born Puerto Rican author is known for her stories centering on queer Latinas. She was the writer of “America,” Marvel’s 2017 comic book series about the queer Latina superhero America Chavez. And Rivera has described her eco-dystopian original comic book series, “b.b. free,” as “a bouncy love letter to queer kids everywhere.”

Originally published in 2016, “Juliet Takes a Breath” is a coming-of-age story that examines how complicated it can be to navigate predominantly white-feminist and queer spaces for someone figuring out their own identity as an out Puerto Rican lesbian. The novel was republished in September 2019 by Penguin Random House.

Moscote, an L.A.-based storyboard artist and illustrator, said they cried when they first read “Juliet Takes a Breath.”

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“It’s a story I wish I had when I was first trying to navigate the world,” said Moscote in a statement. “It’s an absolute honor to be able to bring such an amazing cast of characters to life. Family drama, sexual re-awakenings and a bunch of incredibly smart and hot women, what more could you ask for?”

Juliet Takes a Breath cover
The cover for the Gabby Rivera and Celia Moscote’s graphic novel “Juliet Takes a Breath” (not final art).
(Celia Moscote / Boom! Studios)

Added Boom! Studios editor Shannon Watters: “‘Juliet Takes a Breath’ is such an important novel about coming of age and coming out so it’s been a wonderful experience to be able to live in this world and relive this story as we adapt it into a graphic novel.”

The graphic novel “Juliet Takes a Breath,” from Boom! Studios’ Boom! Box imprint, is slated for a November release.


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