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?
“If This Gets Out is an absolute showstopper! Equal parts edgy and adorable, this bright, joyful book has everything I look for in a queer YA romance.” —Phil Stamper, bestselling author of The Gravity of Us
Boy band, being in the closet vs. coming out, behind the scenes in music industry
If This Gets Out is the first collaboration of Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich. I have read books by both authors, and it seems to me that their skills combine well to create a book that’s pretty adorable but still manages to delve into some serious issues.
This book seems to be marketed as a queer YA romance, but I would argue that it’s much more than that. There’s a lot of substance in this story and it’s great to see the genre expanded to include some relevant and serious issues.
Ruben, Zack, Jon and Angel are the members of the boy-band Saturday. They are a fully managed band that appear to have it all together in front of the camera. The problem is that things behind the stage seem to be starting to unravel.
Ruben has known for a long time that he was gay, but his management has insisted that he keep his sexual orientation “discreet.” What does that mean when you’re in a boy band? It means that you can’t ever really be yourself. Things get even more complex when Zach… whom Ruben has long harbored an unrequited crush on – kisses him.
While the romance plays out behind the scenes (and in fade to black scenes that are really well written) the business of being in a boyband is also explored. The authors do a great job of shining some light on the contractual process that may be involved in making music and many other issues: Lack of creative control, lack of personal time, all work-no play, mental health issues, paparazzi, fans and more.
It may seem ambitious to tackle so many issues in one book, but the authors do a great job of exploring the ins and outs of the music industry.
The book becomes a battle between the band members and their management. They’re all becoming young men and some of them are dealing with the challenges of fame better than others. Each of the band members is dealing with something different and it certainly makes for interesting reading.
Jon is the son of their manager and seems to be discovering that he’s more of a commodity to his father than a son. Angel is seeking excitement and freedom in unhealthy ways. Ruben’s mother is controlling and tends towards being a little cruel – he just wants to come out and be “himself”. Zack… oh Zack (I did love this character) is a people-pleaser and is finding out that just may mean he doesn’t actually know what he wants for himself.
The POV switches between Zack and Ruben. This is the way that Gonzales and Dietrich chose to co-write. It works quite well in the book. I particularly loved that the different POVs were printed in different fonts. It seems small but it was an extra clue for my brain when I was reading.
This is a YA book and could be considered new adult as the band members are all 18 years old. It’s feels as though it’s firmly planted in the YA universe. I loved the voices of the characters and think that it would be a great read for young people, or for people like me who just love YA.
This was an enjoyable read and I look forward to more collaborations from these two authors.
Things You May Want To Know: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: (SPOILERS) forcibly in the closet, substance abuse, underage drinking (in EU so higher drinking age), danger, heights, descriptions of being intoxicated, coming out, abusive “stage mother”, distant father.
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I received an ARC of If This Gets Out by Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich from Wednesday Books via Netgalleyin exchange for an unbiased review.