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Review: Boy band drama meets romance in ‘If This Gets Out’

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“If This Gets Out” by Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich (Wednesday Books)

Saturday is the hot, new American boy band getting ready to do their first overseas tour. Its four members might be more excited if they were allowed any personal freedom — their identities are being chipped away to uphold the carefully curated personalities assigned to them. With each album release and every leg of tour, more restrictions are piled onto Saturday’s members until they’re sequestered to their hotel rooms any time they’re not actively working. Are 18-year-olds Ruben, Zach, Jon and Angel ready to take matters into their own hands?

“If This Gets Out” is a tangle of richly fleshed-out lives navigating an often insidious industry. Co-authors Sophie Gonzalez and Cale Dietrich create nuanced, lovable characters who are relatable, despite being in situations most people can only dream of.

The novel alternates perspectives between Zach and Ruben as they uncover a deep attraction for each other. Ruben knows he’s gay and has been waiting years for Saturday’s management company to allow him to come out publicly. Zach, still coming to terms with a sexuality he’d previously tamped down, is far less experienced than Ruben in navigating the world as a queer person. Their fledgling feelings are immediately put to the test under the constant scrutiny of fame.

Meanwhile, the band is dealing with everyday teen problems: fighting with parents, processing breakups, adapting to adulthood. Tack on long days filled with media appearances, choreography practice and public performances that leave little time for basic necessities like food and sleep. Saturday has brought its members success, but they’re beginning to question the price they’re all paying.

Gonzalez and Dietrich part the curtains and imagine what happens backstage, showcasing the drama that takes place when flesh-and-blood people become puppets for entertainment. “If This Gets Out” will suck you in from Page 1 with its well executed prose, and its fascinating world of boy band drama will stick with you beyond the finale.

Donna Edwards, The Associated Press