Reviews tagging Bullying

Can't Take That Away, by Steven Salvatore

24 reviews

lettuce_read's review

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4.0


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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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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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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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misssleepless's review

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dark emotional tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

2.5


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foreverinastory's review

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emotional hopeful inspiring medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

The school/principal really made me mad. But otherwise I definitely loved this! However, the audio quality was TERRIBLE and it's not even from Netgalley--wtf @Bloomsbury!?!

Rep: white genderqueer MC with anxiety and anxiety/panic attacks, Black female side character, bisexual male love interest, disabled elderly grandmother who can't speak much--implied side effects of a stroke possibly.

CWs: Alcohol consumption, biphobia, bullying, death/death of grandparent, dysphoria, gaslighting, grief, hate crime, homophobia, lesbophobia, mental illness (anxiety), panic/anxiety attacks, misogyny, sexism, transphobia.
 

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seawarrior's review

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emotional hopeful inspiring reflective sad tense medium-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

4.0

There's a lot of ways I feel about this story and how I relate to it, but I'll try not to go on too long. I sincerely hope this book was as validating an experience to write as it surely will be for the genderqueer people who read it. 

I began this story feeling that I couldn't see much of myself in Carey and was somewhat at odds with their melodramatic perspective of the world. Yet after reading further, I quickly became invested in their life and their dreams. Their wish to just exist authentically without having to make a political statement to do so is painfully close to my heart. I loved that as Carey grew kinder to themselves, they learned to apply similar kindness and understanding towards the people they were close to. It's very rewarding to watch a character who's a self-described diva learn to de-center themselves and prioritize their loved ones, along with those they have the power to inspire. Carey's love towards themselves and their friends and family made me love and respect them too as a reader. The supporting characters don't feel like props in Carey's play of life. Instead they are written with their own dreams, and anxieties they learn to overcome over the course of the story.

Really my only significant criticism of this story was that some of the character's speeches read more like a well-plotted lecture than organic dialogue that would realistically occur between people. However, I understand how difficult these moments must be to create as a writer, especially when your character is representing a piece of yourself. For the most part I felt this story was refreshing and inspiring, and the characters' voices will likely stick with me for a long time. 

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leahlovesloslibros's review

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challenging emotional hopeful inspiring lighthearted fast-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

5.0

**Note: The MC in this book is genderqueer and alternates between using he/she/they pronouns; for this review, I will use they/them pronouns to refer to Carey.**

Carey identifies as genderqueer. They are an incredibly talented singer who longs to be a famous performer like their icon, Mariah Carey. Along with the "normal teen drama," they also regularly face discrimination and homophobic incidents at school. Combined with their grandmother's battle with dementia at home, Carey is struggling to make it through senior year. When auditions come for their high school musical, Carey wants to audition for the main character, Elphaba, who is traditionally played by a woman. After an encounter with a swoon-worthy classmate and several conversations with their supportive friends and family, Carey finds the confidence to audition for the lead role, which makes them a huge target of ridicule in their high school, and sparks a movement bigger than they could have ever anticipated. 

I adored this book; it gave me all the feels. Carey's friend group is the most supportive group of individuals - what you can only hope for in a group of best friends. They have a fiercely supportive mother as well, whose unwavering love for her child is what all queer individuals hope for, but not all are so lucky to have. The rapid decline of Carey's grandmother in her battle with Alzheimer's is something that, sadly, I can sadly relate to, but I love that her character is written as Carey's main inspiration for their singing and performing. 

Throughout the book there are many traumatic events that occur, some on-page and some just referenced. At times, it did seem a little bit too perfect how everything got wrapped up so nicely, but even so I still loved reading how the characters handled each and every curveball that was thrown their way. Without giving too much away, the ending seemed a little bit predictable, but I'm not complaining as it was pretty much everything I wanted in an ending, especially in a standalone novel.

I think it's really important that we see queer books that showcase both the struggles that LGBTQIAP+ individuals go through as well as the triumphs, and this book definitely had both. I read a library copy of this book and will purchasing my own copy ASAP. Additionally, I have already put Salvatore's next book on my TBR, and it doesn't even come out until next year. If you like musicals, queer romance, and activism, this book is for you. 

Rep: non-binary MC, Filipino-American bisexual love interest, gay SC, pansexual black SC, Latina lesbian SC

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readalongwithnat's review

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emotional tense medium-paced
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

I just absolutely loved this book with my whole queer heart. Seeing Carey's pronouns change day-to-day made me feel very validated as a nonbinary person.

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solenekeleroux's review

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emotional hopeful informative inspiring lighthearted fast-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? No

4.25


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