Title: If This Gets Out
Authors: Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich
Publisher: Wednesday Books/Macmillan
Length: 408 Pages
Category: Young Adult, Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 Stars
At a Glance: There’s a lot to unpack in If This Gets Out, and I think Dietrich and Gonzales do a darn good job of addressing it all. I liked that the authors gave us a lot to think about beyond the love story.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: Eighteen-year-olds Ruben Montez and Zach Knight are two members of the boy-band Saturday, one of the biggest acts in America. Along with their bandmates, Angel Phan and Jon Braxton, the four are teen heartthrobs in front of the cameras and best friends backstage.
But privately, the pressure to stay in the closet has Ruben confiding in Zach.
On a whirlwind tour through Europe with an unrelenting schedule and minimal supervision, the two come to rely on each other more and more, and their already close friendship evolves into a romance. But when they decide they’re ready to tell their fans and live freely, Zach and Ruben realize they will never truly have the support they need.
How can they hold tight to each other when their whole world is coming apart?
Review: Four teenage boys meet at a performing arts camp and are strategically put together to form what the creators hope will be the next big thing… A scenario that is certainly easy to imagine in 2021, right? The popularity of boy bands remains as strong as ever, as evidenced by the massive fandoms for groups like One Direction, BTS, and so many others, and it is that enormous popularity, and fascination, frankly, that Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich are counting on to draw readers to their new collaboration, If This Gets Out.
When we meet Zach, Ruben, Jon, and Angel, they are now eighteen, and about to embark on the European leg of their world tour. And it’s safe to say that when they met as fifteen-year-olds at Camp Hollow Rock, and thought it would be cool to form a band, they had noooo idea what they were actually getting into. I was immediately taken in by this story. I loved the friendship aspect—the boys are obviously all very close—and the fun of some of the scenes, but Gonzales and Deitrich also do a great job right away of showing how the stress of being on the road for an extended period, the overwhelming fan attention, and the control of their management company are all affecting the guys.
We obviously get to know Zach and Ruben the best, as the story is told from their points of view, but the authors also do a very nice job of fleshing out Jon and Angel’s characters; it really feels almost more like an ensemble piece at times. Zach and Ruben do get the most backstory, but I felt I knew them all quite well by the end of the book. And, as I said above, I really loved their friendships. Each of their struggles are known and shared by the other members, and they all have each other’s backs, no matter what.
On the surface, If This Gets Out is a boyband romance. A love story for everyone who has ever shipped members of 1D or their favorite K-Pop band. But I found it to be much more than that. Ruben is dealing with an extremely overbearing and hyper-critical mother; Zach is a serial people-pleaser, never putting himself first, and is of course also coming to terms with his bisexuality; Angel is struggling with substance abuse; and Jon is the son of the head of the villainous Chorus Management, the company that is keeping Ruben and Zach in the closet, and basically stealing all the boys’ identities. It’s a lot to unpack, and I think Dietrich and Gonzales do a darn good job of addressing it all. It’s hard to imagine the pressures placed on artists, and the abuses of power that young artists in particular must endure. I liked that the authors gave us a lot to think about beyond the love story.
You can buy If This Gets Out here:
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