If This Gets Out was a book I was expecting to be this super fluffy love story. But what I ended up listening to was a book about questioning rep, toxic parental relationships, and standing up for oneself. Definitely a must read for queer YAs this winter. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
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?
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
If This Gets Out was emotionally heart wrenching. Underneath this story of love, is one of self-discovery, having to realize we are worth loving, and what we will do to live authentically. Gonzales and Dietrich fabulously balance these moments of joy and butterflies with scenes of tension, doubt, and fear. This character driven story allows us to see Ruben and Zach’s motives, their mistakes and fears, doubts and insecurities. We have these moments where we are rooting for them, where we don’t know what they’ll do.
If This Gets Out is intensely focused on their love and each individual’s character journey. The questioning rep combined with the quest to live as true to ourselves as we can, is emotionally moving. It reflects their fears of not only hurting the ones we love, but also ourselves. In our lives, there can be this gap between who we are who we are seen as. And throughout our lives we try to navigate this distance, to figure out how worthwhile it is to fight to be seen differently.
Listening to the audiobook of If This Gets Out was phenomenal. While there’s only one narrator, Ramon de Ocampo does a great job at differentiating Ruben and Zach. At giving each of them their own hesitancy and emotional depth. If This Gets Out is nuanced, gripping, and fun all at once. If you love queer contemporary YA books and have also loved this resurgence of boy band love, then this is a must read.
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