Reviews

Can't Take That Away, by Steven Salvatore

wintersorbit's review

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Content Warnings: homophobia, transphobia, assault, Alzheimer's disease, parental death (side character), grandparental death, misogyny, sexism, blackmail, forced outing, gender dysphoria, misgendering, bullying, suicidal ideation, vomiting, threat of gun violence

hannistudies's review

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emotional funny hopeful inspiring lighthearted sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

3.5


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cm_kayla's review

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5.0

The fact that this is a debut novel astounds me. I recently had a conversation with my roommate about how some authors sit on their incredible words for years and we never get to read them yet adequate or actually bad authors can pump out books and get that cash year after year. I will certainly be picking up anything else that Steven writes in the future.

Carey Parker loves Mariah Carey. Like LOVES her. And Carey wants to become a diva of their own. But with their grandmother's health issues and constant bullying from kids in class because of their identity, Carey is constantly struggling to break free. But then Carey meets a cute boy named Cris and finally life seems to be taking a turn. Carey makes a bold and brave choice to audition for Elphaba in their school's upcoming musical Wicked, but not everyone in town or at their school is okay with Carey playing the role. And so Carey must fight, with the help of their friends and family, for acceptance, justice, and for their right to exist as they are.

This book was unlike anything I've read before. Carey Parker is a splendid character, full of heart, intelligence, courage, and love. I absolutely adored that each chapter was told in indentifying pronouns based on how Carey identified at the time or day that the story was being told. Mr. Kelly is a remarkable teacher and I love the idea of wearing a bracelet specifically to acknowledge your pronouns on a specific day. I could tell within the first ten pages that I was going to love this book.

I loved that there was pure joy in some cases and while there was intense battles of anger and sadness, love always came back through. I liked how well the school board and adults were portrayed in varying ways, it felt extremely realistic. I was so attached to Carey and their fight and at one point even CRIED because I felt so beaten down and exhausted by what Carey was experiencing.

Overall, highly important read, incredible characters, lovely writing, and exceptional debut,

averyconfusedhomosapien's review

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emotional funny hopeful informative slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

2.25


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miloblue's review

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emotional hopeful inspiring tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.0

fuckitupvato's review

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5.0

this started out so light and fluffy and it got real fast, and i *love* that.

i love that the chapter titles have carey’s preferred pronouns, i love their love of mariah carey, and i just really loved this book. i teared up like five different times reading this.

really enjoyed it.

greenisthecolorofkale's review

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really good rep but i just didn't like the 'queer theatre kid' stereotype going on

nik_alien's review

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emotional inspiring

5.0

merlesstorys's review

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dark emotional hopeful inspiring tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.75

My first introduction to a genderqueer person outside of the Hollywood biz as I don’t know one irl (at least as I know of) and it was really good.

I liked the writing style of Steven Salvatore as their depiction of queer youth today resonates with stuff I’ve experienced so far and they take a deep look at the feelings of their main character, Carey as well as the ones of their friends. 

Which brings me to the characters in this book and I honestly love them all so much, it’s indescribable. Carey with their love for music and musicals, Cris with his unbelievable Charme, Monroe with her amazing fashion taste, Joey just for being a good ally, and Phoebe with -again- her love for musicals. They all get their peaks throughout the book and that is just amazing - and the most important thing in “Can’t take that away” is the friendship, not the ‘boo-friend’… I love it.

Next to the starting situation: it’s such a good idea, to show the main character in their natural habitat aka music/als with their ambition to become Elphaba, and just as well as her, defy gravity. Pun very much intended. 

The only critic I have is that the ending is a bit too much for me. (Not the actual ending, but what happens after Carey and Cris are reunited. I don’t want to spoil more) 
This small section means unfortunately a quarter star down from five stars, but that’s literally the only thing I didn’t like.

Also, can we please talk about the hardcover artwork? It’s insanely gorgeous (please insert the Gaga meme here about being amazing etc. :D)

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cossettereads's review against another edition

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Trigger warnings: Alzheimer’s, Assault (Verbal, Physical, Sexual), Blackmail, Bullying, Cancer, Death (Death of a parent, death of a grandparent), Emetphobia, Forced Outing, Gender Dysphoria, Grief, Hate Crime, Homophobia, Medical Complications, Queerphobia, Sexual Assault/Harrassment, Shooting (Threat), Suicide Attempt, Suicide Ideation, Transphobia