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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Hodgson

If This Gets Out by Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich

Updated: Jul 9, 2021

If you follow me on bookstagram, then you will know that I regularly mention how much I love Sophie Gonzales’ Only Mostly Devastated which came out last year. I was, therefore, super duper excited to read an advanced electronic copy of her latest novel, a collaboration with Cale Dietrich, If This Gets Out.

The story follows Zach and Ruben who are members of one of the most successful American boy-bands of the moment, Saturday, as they embark on their first European tour. The chapters alternate between the point of view of each of these main characters, and the unrelenting schedule of being a teen heartthrob on tour starts to take its toll on Zach, Ruben and their fellow bandmates Jon and Angel. As the tour progresses, Zach and Ruben start to rely on each other more and more and their friendship blossoms into something more. When they decide that they want to go public with their relationship, however, they quickly realise that they will never have the support of their management. How will their relationship survive the pressure that is put on them when the whole world seems to be against them?

I expected that this story would be an incredibly enjoyable romance; and it certainly was. It was also so much more than that, and I don’t think I was ready for the spotlight it shone on the music industry and the all encompassing obsession of perception over reality. Each member of the band has a carefully curated image that they must stick to at all times, whether on or off the stage. Their social media presence, their diets, even their time-off is strictly controlled, and nothing is left to chance in the machine that is an internationally successful boy-band.

The cracks start to appear in different ways for each member of the band, and the storyline touches on drug and alcohol dependency as well as the censorship which completely controls how Zach and Ruben are allowed to interact with each other whenever they are together. The control that is exerted over the band by their management company is extreme, but it is also completely and sickeningly believable to anyone who has ever been a pop music fan. The recent coverage of Britney Spears’ conservatorship and problems with her management has really hit home just how timely this commentary on the machinations of the music business really is.

The hook of this novel for many readers will undoubtedly be the fact that it is a queer boy-band romance, but it really does transcend what I expected from the story. It is a credit to the authors that they have taken something which could have stayed in the safe realm of a fluffy and sweet romance, and have instead created something much more topical and meaningful.

If This Gets Out is an absolute cracker, and I heartily recommend getting your pre-orders in as you will want to read this as soon as possible! It is out in the UK on 6th January 2022, published by Hachette.

Thank you to Hachette and to NetGalley for the advanced electronic copy.


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