Can't Take That Away

Steven Salvatore

fiction art lgbtqia+ music young adult
emotional slow-paced

384 pages

A charming, inspired story about being true to who you are. - Phil Stamper, bestselling author of The Gravity of Us

An empowering and emotional debut about a genderqueer teen who finds the courage to stand up and speak out for equality when they are discriminated against by their high school administration.

Carey Parker dreams of being a diva, and bringing the house down with song. They can hit every note of all the top pop and Broadway hits. But despite their talent, emotional scars from an incident with a homophobic classmate and their grandmother's spiraling dementia make it harder and harder for Carey to find their voice.

Then Carey meets Cris, a singer/guitarist who makes Carey feel seen for the first time in their life. With the rush of a promising new romantic relationship, Carey finds the confidence to audition for the role of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, in the school musical, setting off a chain reaction of prejudice by Carey's tormentor and others in the school. It's up to Carey, Cris, and their friends to defend their rights--and they refuse to be silenced.

Told in alternating chapters with identifying pronouns, debut author Steven Salvatore's Can't Take That Away conducts a powerful, uplifting anthem, a swoony romance, and an affirmation of self-identity that will ignite the activist in all of us.

What the community thinks

summary of 13 ratings (see reviews)

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Moods

emotional 100%
inspiring 80%
hopeful 60%
sad 40%
challenging 20%
lighthearted 20%
reflective 20%
tense 20%

Pace

medium 40%
fast 40%
slow 20%

Plot- or character-driven?

A mix: 50% | Character: 50%

Strong character development?

Yes: 80% | It's complicated: 20%

Loveable characters?

Yes: 80% | It's complicated: 20%

Diverse cast of characters?

Yes: 100%

Flaws of characters a main focus?

Yes: 60% | It's complicated: 40%

Average rating

4.77