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Can't Take That Away

4.74  ·  Rating details ·  128 ratings  ·  59 reviews
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 fro
Hardcover, 384 pages
Expected publication: March 9th 2021 by Bloomsbury YA
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Steven Salvatore Cris is cisgender and uses he/him :)

Also, Carey uses they/them most frequently, but they also use he/him and she/her as well. …more
Cris is cisgender and uses he/him :)

Also, Carey uses they/them most frequently, but they also use he/him and she/her as well. (less)

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Average rating 4.74  · 
Rating details
 ·  128 ratings  ·  59 reviews

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Aug 26, 2019 added it
Shelves: queer, owned
A genderqueer icon punching bigotry and ignorance to Mars? We can only stan
daph pink ♡
Jan 29, 2021 marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2021-tbr

leo | 飛べ

give me all the enby characters you cowards
My new goal in life is to do whatever it takes to protect Carey.

This is such a messy contemporary, and brilliantly so. It just feels so incredibly real, and at the same time all of the bad things are balanced out by all the good, affirming, supportive things. Really, there's even on-page therapy!! Which means that even though this has its hard moments, it was ultimately a really comforting and empowering read.

CWs: suicidal ideation, depression, assault, transphobia, misgendering, homophobia/quee
CWs: instances of homophobia, bullying, and misgendering; use of homophobic slurs; exploration of gender dysphoria; mentions of suicide ideation; allusions to depression and anxiety; exploration of familial death and grief; descriptions of degenerative illness (Alzheimer's); homophobic attacks and hate crimes; physical assault; graphic description of injury

This is a tough book for me to review, because I enjoyed it and I see its importance, but I also struggled with it a bit. It's described
laurel [the suspected bibliophile]
Trigger Warning: Assault, Misgendering, Homophobia, Transphobia, Car Accident, Family Death
Respect My Existence or Expect My Resistance

Carey Parker dreams of being a diva. They have the talent. They have the voice. But they're scared—of rejection, of homophobic and transphobic assholes—and they are dealing with a lot at home, with their grandmother's worsening dementia. Then they meet Cris, and their world opens. Inspired to try out for the lead role in Wicked, Carey auditions and nails the role
The Nerd Daily
Feb 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Mimi Koehler

A mix of powerful anthem and heartfelt call for equality, Stephen Salvatore’s debut Can’t Take That Away is a celebration of community activism and depicts the messy, difficult yet encouraging reality of growing up queer and how letting your voice be heard can change everything.

Read the FULL REVIEW on The Nerd Daily
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

Lea (drumsofautumn)
I had honestly never heard about this book until I saw it pop up on Edelweiss but.. a genderqueer main character featuring in a musical? Hello, it is buzzword galore for me!

Instagram | Blog | Booktube Channel | Twitter
Nicolas DiDomizio
I was lucky enough to read early drafts of this manuscript, and let me just say... this book is EVERYTHING. Insanely lovable protagonist Carey Parker's journey is full of heart, humor, queerness, activism, feels, Mariah Carey worship (#Lambily4Life), and so much more. This is an instant YA classic about the power of finding and owning your authentic voice! ...more
Dec 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
I adore this book! It's got Broadway references, well rounded characters all over, and it's so so so queer it's lovely! Carey is fantastic and I love how the chapter titles start with how Carey identities at the time. Some of the queer stuff is a bit heavy handed at first, but lessens up once the setting is established and you settle into a wonderful story.

Carey's story isn't your typical YA meet cute romance. Yes, it has that. And it's adorable, but the romance is kind of left on the back burne
Mar 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
There is so much to love about this book! I am overjoyed to see a genderqueer person as the main character. Carey has such a great support system, from their loving mother and the incredible twins Monroe and Joey - their chosen family, to their other fierce friends and their inspirational teacher, Mr Kelly. Having all of this support unfortunately doesn't stop Carey from being bullied, not only by their peers but also by a teacher who should be protecting them instead of causing harm. However, C ...more
Lisa Pineo
*I received this eARC from Bloomsbury YA via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
My ratings: * I hated it ** It was okay *** I liked it **** Really good ***** Great
TW (trigger warnings): homophobia, transphobia, physical/verbal/emotional abuse, death, suicidal ideation, discrimination, misgendering, bullying

Sure to become a favorite of LGBTQIA+ people and allies everywhere, "Can't Take That Away" by debut author Steven Salvatore takes your breath away with it's amazing characters and heart
Mar 02, 2021 rated it liked it
Can’t Take That Away by Steven Salvatore was one of my most anticipated 2021 releases. A genderqueer diva using the power of song for self exploration and affirmation? Yeah, that’s my brand. Plus, I’m always on the lookout for books with genderqueer and genderfluid representation since it’s still one of those identities rare to see discussed and explored within the LGBTQIA2S+ umbrella. However, I ended up with really complicated feelings about this novel that I will do my best to outline below.

Shelf Blame
Feb 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Thank you so much to Bloomsbury and NetGalley for the ARC of this book!

I literally just got done reading this, and I couldn't get to my computer fast enough to write a review.

Carey Parker is a genderqueer teenager with the soul of a Diva. They dream of being their true self, able to sing their heart out and feel comfortable with their identity. Unfortunately, there are people in the world who like to pick the wings from butterflies, and that's who Carey has to deal with. After they score a tradi
Brittany Zimmerman
Nov 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to NetGalley and Bloomsbury for the ARC of this book. All opinions are my own.

Not many books have truly affected me down to my core. Only one comes to mind (besides nonfiction) and that’s The Hate U Give. Until I read this. Can’t Take That Away brought me to my knees and shook me to my core. Thank you Steven, for this beautiful book. Although I don’t just think a thank you is enough.

When I first heard about this book I was so excited and I immediately added it to my TBR. When I got t
Jason June
Dec 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
There really aren't the right words to describe how much reading about Carey and their journey meant to me. As a genderqueer person, there were so many times Carey describes their gender and I was like, "YES!" Carey gets me, and I feel seen, and this book is for sure going to boost the hearts of so many readers. ...more
Jun 29, 2020 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer, covers_love, i_must, ya
Berry A genderqueer, Troye Sivan looking mc who will falsetto the bigotry away? Yes ma'am, thank you. ...more
Sep 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtqia, release-2021
Jan 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book is fucking phenomenal!

Updated review (?):
Warning! Kinda chaotic review ahead. Forgive me for I am incapable of expressing my thoughts on a book I so intensely loved.

Where do I start with this book? Which part of it should I try to explain first and tell you why it's amazing and why it's brilliant and why it's "another basic ass positive as hell adjective but in caps"? I'm trying not to convince myself to start from the ending. Because that's what is vivid in my head. From the part it m
Jan 27, 2021 added it
so I'm super glad I stopped rating books because I have no idea how to rate this book. our main character has to go through so much trauma (suicidal ideation, misgendering, bullying, and family death to name a few) and so much of it is displayed right on the page that it doesn't necessarily feel all that uplifting, even when good shit does happen. however, you know I'm all about genderqueer characters and I really thought this was great representation, but it begs the question of it is all the t ...more
Jan 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
I received a free egalley of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I have read quite a few YA books with protagonists who are part of the LGBTQ+ community, but this is my first book with a genderqueer protagonist. I think that’s because this book may be one of the first to ever amplify a gay genderqueer voice, and it is an #OwnVoices story. I cannot tell you strongly enough how important I think that representation is, both for informing people about identities they may not k
Alex Richards
Dec 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I cannot say enough good things about this book!!! I have been dying to read it ever since I read the synopsis and it did not disappoint!

I absolutely loved the main character, Carey, and was totally there for their journey. As a genderqueer, Mariah Carey-loving, diva-in-training, Carey goes through a lot, and encounters a few very small-minded people in their small town. Carey's struggles were so real and well-written. I felt each emotional punch deep into my core, and wanted to jump off the pag
Jake Andino
Feb 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I got an early copy of this book from the author and even though I’m a sloooowww reader and it’s hard to find the time to read lately, when I actually got the chance to read it I couldn’t put it down!

What I loved about it is how real it felt. It took me back to being a teen and having to juggle friends and family (the mom character and the grandma were two of my favorites. It’s so rare to see parents in YA and the family bond was really beautiful) and feeling like the weight of the world was on
RTC. I need to sit with this one.

I received an ARC of this book through the publisher; however, all opinions are my own.
J.Paul Thunders
Will Skrip
Jan 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
What starts as an overly-syrupy, seemingly predictable high school romance becomes something much more profound in Steven Salvatore's timely and evocative CAN'T TAKE THAT AWAY. Reminiscent of the recent Broadway hits THE PROM and DEAR EVEN HANSEN, Salvatore taps into the viral social justice that seems to pervade the lives of young people today. As a lifelong theatre kid, I'm particularly supportive of Salvatore's assertion that finding the confidence to get up and sing in front of an audience r ...more
Charlie Murphy
Jan 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this book through work and I’m so happy I took a chance on it. Salvatore takes such great care of their characters and makes them all instantly relatable. It is insane that this is their debut book, I can’t wait to see more from them.

We all have a little Carey in us. When I was growing up, I was Carey. Whether it be mustering up the courage to audition for the school musical, trying to figure out who I was or even just calling 107.9 to request Mariah Carey’s “
Books That Burn
Dec 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: clear-ur-shit
*I received a free review copy in exchange for an honest review of this book.

CAN'T TAKE THAT AWAY Is about being true to yourself, following your dreams, and making your small slice of the world a little safer for the ones who come after.

The plot rotates between focusing on the MC's inner struggles and musical aspirations, the queerphobic treatment they encounter at school, and their relationships (both platonic and romantic). Early on these sections felt a little more divided, but as the book
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Steven Salvatore is a queer (gay and genderqueer, using he/him and they/them pronouns -- please default to they/them) writer who lives in New York with their husband. Steven has worked in higher education since 2011, teaching composition courses across curriculums. When not writing or teaching, you can find Steven rewatching any and all Star Wars media or listening to Mariah Carey's extensive and ...more

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