If This Gets Out by Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich is a compelling contemporary about the dark side of the music industry. Following a boy band on their tour through Europe, this one contains both uplifting and heartbreaking moments, as well as a romance that perseveres in the face of a controlling management team. This one was a little heavier than I was expecting, but I would definitely recommend it to those looking for a queer romance about finding hope.Title: If This Gets Out
Author: Sophie Gonzales, Cale Dietrich
Also by this author: Only Mostly Devastated
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult Fiction
Publication Date: December 7, 2021
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 heartbreakers in front of the cameras and best friends backstage. But privately, cracks are starting to form: their once-easy rapport is straining under the pressures of fame, and Ruben confides in Zach that he’s feeling smothered by management’s pressure to stay in the closet.
On a whirlwind tour through Europe, with both an unrelenting schedule and minimal supervision, Ruben and Zach 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 start to truly realize that they will never have the support of their management. How can they hold tight to each other when the whole world seems to want to come between them?
❃ I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃
Review: If This Gets Out by Sophie Gonzales & Cale Dietrich
This book chronicles the experiences of popular boy band Saturday on their tour in Europe. Two of the band’s members, Ruben and Zach, have always been close, but as they spend more time together, they realize they’re more than just friends. However, on tour, the boys realize just how controlling their management team is, managing everything from what they wear to how they are allowed to interact with each other. When management finds out that Ruben and Zach are dating, it is clear that they will never be supported, as they are forbidden from coming out to their fans in order to protect their idealized image. As Ruben and Zach navigate their growing feelings for each other and the pain of pretending to be people they are not, they must find a way to fight for love and keep each other strong.
❀ Dual Narration
There are two narrators, providing us with both Ruben’s and Zach’s perspectives. They are both such strong characters, and I admired their determination to fight back against their management team. While I enjoyed their narration, I found that both characters are a little generic. This actually goes for the rest of the members of the band, since they are all the exact opposite of their public persona. I enjoyed this tension between their real selves and their carefully crafted selves in the public eye, but I was hoping for something a bit less expected.
❀ Dark Side of Entertainment Industry
Where the story truly succeeds is in its commentary on the dark side of the entertainment industry. I really felt for the characters as they have lost control over their own selves, and the story highlights the harm of forcing young artists into the closet for the sake of maintaining their image as ideal boyfriends for their fans. While the fight for change is powerful and well-executed, there are other heavy topics throughout the story that I felt could have been given more time. Zach’s eating disorder goes unaddressed, and Ruben’s controlling mom could have benefitted from more attention. However, this does not overshadow the book’s main critique of the mistreatment of young, marginalized musicians.
❀ Message of Hope
If This Gets Out by Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich is a powerful take on the pressures of the music industry. I loved the premise of a boy band on tour, and the main characters’ struggles in the face of a controlling management team are well described. This one could have done more to address some of its other heavy topics, but ultimately, I enjoyed its message of hope.