by Sophie Gonzales & Cale Dietrich
Publication: December 7, 2021
**I was provided a copy of the book through NetGalley. I voluntarily read and reviewed it. All opinions are my own.**
I received an ARC, and I started it in November/December with the intent to finish reading it so I could provide a review by the publication date. It did not go as planned. My heart was going to literally explode from reading this, and I had to take it in pieces from a few pages to a chapter at a time. I finally finished it last month after binge-reading the second half.
The book provides insight into the pressures of fame and the sacrifices individuals make to follow their dreams. All the members of the band, Angel, Jon, Ruben, and Zach, have had to compromise parts of who they are to obtain fame and success. This is the context that frames Zach and Ruben’s relationship. Being a fangirl myself, it was disheartening to read at times, mostly because of the toll it takes on the members. When you adore the members and their music has a positive effect on your life, you don’t want anything bad to happen. You want them to always get along and be happy. I thought this aspect of the novel was conveyed very well, but it wasn’t what attracted me to the book. I’m a hopeless romantic.
There are so many things Dietrich and Gonzales get right, but they sent my emotions into a flurry with Zach, Ruben, and the tension. By the way, I also completely stan Zach and was mad at Ruben quite a few times. My emotions were all over the place from the pain of unrequited love, the anxiety of crushing on someone you shouldn’t be crushing on, and the fear of losing what you already have. If I was feeling this way then Zach and Ruben were worse off because all this, of course, was on top of everything else they were going through with maintaining an image and making sure the band remained at the height of success.
While I liked both Ruben and Zach, I was partial to Zach. It was the struggle with his identity that I latched onto because I’ve struggled with my identity in different ways. Watching him struggle and try to come to terms with who he is was difficult because I wish he had someone there to help him work through what he was feeling. I just wanted to hug Zach throughout the book. Once he realized his feelings, I couldn’t get over how much I enjoyed Zach and Ruben together. At one point, my notes/annotations were just how much I loved them and filled with emojis and heart eyes.
The second half of the novel suffers from what happens to television shows when the main couple finally gets together. The focus became about navigating their relationship as well as balancing the wants of their management company. My attention began to dwindle here. Without the tension, my heart palpitations slowed to normal, but I still found Ruben and Zach to be extremely adorable.
If This Gets Out provides a backstage pass into the lives of members of a boy band, providing a glimpse of the effects of fame and the consequences of being forced to be someone you’re not. At the center is a romance I mooned over nearly as much as the leads made eyes at each other. For a YA novel, this one is a bit steamier than most I have read, but I loved how sex-positive it was. If you’re a fan of boyband ships, this will certainly be a pleasing read–substitute Zach and Ruben for your biases and your ship wish will come true. (Even if you’re not into boyband, this is worthy read.)