A review by merlesstorys
Can't Take That Away, by Steven Salvatore

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


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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