If This Gets Out by Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich – Book Review

Title: If This Gets Out (review copy)

Authors: Sophie Gonzales, Cale Dietrich

Genre: YA Contemporary, Romance, LGBTQ+, Pop Culture

Blurb from Goodreads

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 realise 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?

My Review

The thing with being an adult reader of YA is that every now and then you’ll come across a book that instead of making you feel nostalgic for your youth, will actually make you feel every single one of your lived years.

And such was the case with me and If This Gets Out.

I just couldn’t find my way into the novel because I’m very much not the target age group. I had thought that a book focusing on a boy band would make me feel all kinds of nostalgia for my own teen years when I was besotted with boy bands. But instead I felt nothing but distance from it. An unbridgeable distance.

Having said that, much of my disillusionment with this novel was down to the writing. The way the book was written was just so prosaic. And this made the whole storyline feel flat to me. It completely lacked in any sort of lyrical beauty that I ached for. Instead the writing felt utterly perfunctory and it felt at times like I was reading a technical manual rather than a fictional story. What can I say, I just like a bit of purple prose! Well nuanced purple prose is a better way to describe it. I just wanted writing that had a natural flowing cadence that would reel me in to the heartbeat of the story.

Although kudos to the two authors because the book was certainly cohesive with its narrative structure because it seems that they each took a different character from which to write from and yet somehow managed to marry their individual writing styles together… although perhaps this need for them to unify their writing styles was actually detrimental to the natural flow one usually gets from a novel.

So sadly these characters and their storylines just didn’t move me. The book was certainly carefully thought out, and very sensitively written… but it didn’t have that spark that I expected. The relationship between Zach and Reuben just felt bland rather than something I could fully get invested in; I think I was hoping for a bit more of a sweet and sultry slow burn build up with their relationship.

However, the plot that really grated with me was the storyline surrounding the band and the impact of being in the public eye. Which is somewhat strange because I do feel as if that part of the novel was reasonably well plotted with a great deal of important things to say regarding public perception of LGBTQ+ musicians. And how the bigwigs in the pop music industry value money over honesty and integrity. But I just found the whole book to be overly dramatic, overwrought, and frankly rather exhausting to read. The exhausting part one could argue is probably a good reaction to have because these characters were constantly exhausted from having to play a role rather than get to be themselves so it could be said I was exhausted in sympathy with their plight! …

Yet overall reading this book just took too much out of me. It felt akin to a chore rather than reading for enjoyment.

Not for me.

*An e-copy was kindly provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley for honest review*

  • Publication Date: 7th December 2021
  • Publisher: Wednesday Books

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2 thoughts on “If This Gets Out by Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich – Book Review

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