By: Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich
Rating: 5/5 Stairs
Expected Publication: 7 December 2021
It took a few chapters for me to get into the characters and the story. But once I did I was hooked.
I was expecting a cute romcom, with the typical romcom formula elements. I figured instead of a meet-cute, this would take on the best friends angle, with one lead pining for his best friend and the other is clueless. (check!) Once they each realize their own attraction, something (usually a misunderstanding) keeps them from being together. (check!) As a reader, I was hoping both leads would be adorable and I’d be rooting for them. (check! check!) Since this is an LBGTQ+ romance, I anticipated that part of the storyline would deal with the struggle to be able to come out as queer to the public. (check!)
What I wasn’t expecting was a serious look into the life of a boy-band. From the outside, we look at boy-bands and think how cute the boys are, this one is my favorite, they are having so much fun, look at all these screaming fans, etc. In If This Gets Out we get to look at the band from the inside. Each member has a carefully crafted individual persona, geared towards a certain fan personality. Individual creativity is stifled for the greater image of the band. Heck, individual personality is stifled – the boys have one face to the public and another when it’s just themselves outside of the public eye. And bands with a huge following (think Beatles-level hype) leave the members exhausted with little to no time for themselves or their interests. The management company is in complete control of pretty much every aspect of their lives. And when If This Gets Out begins, the stress has been building, and the cracks in each member are starting to show.
I loved, loved, loved the romcom aspect of this book. And the inside look at the band and the way their record company exploits them as a commodity was powerful. The characters feel raw and real, and I was moved to tears a few times while I was listening. This book has a lot going on – unrequited love, self-discovery, and not just finding out who you are, but fighting for yourself and standing up for what you believe in.
I was lucky enough to receive an audio version of this book from NetGalley, and Ramon de Ocampo is a fantastic narrator. (I recognized his voice right away, he narrated Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston.) I almost felt like I was watching a movie while listening to the narration – he transported me completely into the story. I’m sure reading the print is a great experience, but I definitely recommend listening to the audio book.
If This Gets Out is a romcom, but that’s just the beginning. Get ready for a backstage, all access pass to the boy-band sensation Saturday, and hang on for the ride. It’s a great one.