“Salvatore captures those intense feelings from the first semester at college, especially for queer young adults. There's a sense that you can create the life you’ve dreamed of and find belonging. I loved relating to Chase's journey!”
— Sara Wigglesworth, Green Apple Books & Music, San Francisco, CA
From the author of Can't Take That Away comes a sex-positive, fairytale-inspired YA novel that celebrates first love and self-acceptance, perfect for fans of What If It's Us.
"My heart didn't stand a chance. I loved it from once upon a time all the way to its joyfully complex ever after." - New York Times bestselling author Becky Albertalli
"A jolt of lightning to my soul. The characters are so bright, the emotion is so vibrant, and the love is exquisitely electric." - Jason June, author of Jay's Gay Agenda
Chase Arthur is a budding animator and hopeless romantic obsessed with Disney films and finding his true love, but he's plagued with the belief that he's not enough for anyone: he's recovering from an eating disorder and suffers from body dysmorphia fueled by his father, and can't quite figure out his gender identity. When Chase starts his freshman year of college, he has to navigate being away from home and missing his sister, finding his squad, and contending with his ex-best friend Leila who is gunning for the same exclusive mentorship. If only he can pull together a short for the freshman animation showcase at the end of the semester.
Then Chase meets Jack Reid, a pragmatic poet who worships words and longs to experience life outside of his sheltered world. But Chase throws everything into question for Jack, who is still discovering his sexual identity, having grown up in close-knit conservative family. Jack internalized a lot of homophobia from his parents and childhood best friend, who unexpectedly visit campus, which threatens to destroy their relationship. Chase will have to learn to love--and be enough for--himself, while discovering what it means to truly live.
Steven Salvatore is a gay, genderqueer author, writing professor, Mariah Carey lamb, and Star Wars fanatic with an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School. They are the founder and CEO of Queerative Writers, a virtual creative workshop series for LGBTQ+ aspiring writers. They are the author of AND THEY LIVED…, CAN'T TAKE THAT AWAY, and NO PERFECT PLACES: A Novel, and are represented by Jess Regel of Helm Literary Agency. As a native New Yorker, their heart belongs to the Adirondacks.
“Captures all the best and most terrifying parts of loving both yourself and others, masterfully balancing a dreamy romance with the raw honesty it takes to sustain it. This book is a true delight.” —Dahlia Adler, author of Cool for the Summer
“Steven Salvatore writes complicated love stories with such sincerity, thoughtfulness, and emotional resonance. My heart didn't stand a chance-I loved it from once upon a time all the way to its joyfully complex ever after.” —Becky Albertalli, New York Times bestselling author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
“I devoured this novel. . . . Compulsively readable, unapologetically human, and refreshingly original, this is a modern gay fairy tale that will turn even the most jaded reader into a hopeless romantic.” —Nicolas DiDomizio, author of Burn It All Down
“Reading And They Lived was like a jolt of lightning to my soul. The characters are so bright, the emotion is so vibrant, and the love is exquisitely electric. Chase's story is a reminder to all of us that we're deserving of love from ourselves and others, and-even through the hardships-to enjoy the journey and live.” —Jason June, author of Jay's Gay Agenda
“Sincerely funny and heart-achingly real. . . .Salvatore delivers the memorable queer fairy tale readers are craving!” —Julian Winters, award-winning author of Running With Lions
“Salvatore has done a superb job of dealing with a dramatic complexity of issues while creating equally complex, highly empathic characters. Readers will urgently root for a happily ever after.” —Booklist, starred review
“Taking on coming out, the challenges of art-making, the importance of mentors who get where one is coming from, and the joys and terrors of romance, Salvatore sweeps readers off their feet.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“A sex-positive, LGBTQIA+ romp through an artist's freshman year of college, with quick, witty dialogue and sure pacing that makes it a perfect crossover title for older teens and college students in the vein of Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl and Margot Wood's Fresh.” —School Library Journal
“[Chase's] growth, supported by queer mentors and friends, provides affirming representation of questioning and nonlinear healing . . . A dramatic and refreshing storm of emotion.” —Kirkus Reviews
“This charming, joyful story-about self-love, fighting for what's right, and the love to be found in chosen family-will make you want to put on a pair of red heels and blast Mariah Carey.” —Booklist, starred review, on Can't Take That Away