This book completely blew me away! It was such an adorable and sweet, but also so heart-wrenching and gripping, story about two boy band members falling in love with each other and having to choose between risking the band and their whole careers or being allowed to be their true selves. It was also a terrifying tale showing the harsh realities of the music industry, as well as a wonderful tribute to loyalty and friendship. I read this book feverishly in one sitting, hoping for the HEA the main characters so deserved, but fearing that the evil manager or the characters themselves would cause a train wreck hindering that.
The story follows the boy band ‘Saturday’ and its four members Ruben, Zach, Jon and Angel, as they head off to Europe for an overseas concert tour together with their strict management. Everything in their lives is planned and arranged in detail for the personas they’ve been typecasted for; the clothing (even in private), their hairstyles, who they’re allowed to talk to, and what they are allowed to say or do. To live up the mass-appeal demands, Ruben has been forced to hide being gay since he was sixteen, Angel has been forced to change his name, Jon has been forced to play on his sex appeal and Zach has been stopped from writing music the way he wants to. Basically, they are treated more as products than real people. That is, until the pressure just gets too high, and Zach starts to question his sexuality, Angel starts taking drugs and Ruben just can’t take any more of his mother’s ‘feedback’ and lying about who he really is. When things get weird between him and his secret crush Zach after a kiss one night with too much to drink, the foundation for the whole band starts to crack.
This was such an amazing book! It didn’t shy away from the darkness and trauma and the problems with the entertainment industry, but it was also a heartwarming, sweet and adorable story about love and unwavering friendship. I rooted so for all the four main characters, they all completely stole my heart in their own ways. They were so complex and wonderful and my heart ached for them, especially Ruben and Zach struggling with new feelings for each other and for their right to be together in open, but also for Jon always coming second after the business for his father, and Angel for not getting the help he so desperately needed. And the friendship between the four of them was truly amazing. Even though they fought, they always had each other’s backs.
I loved the writing style and how the authors made us reader come along the four main characters’ journey from insecure, closeted, troublesome kids to young men finding their path. I also really appreciated the authentic way in which the pressure and objectification within the music industry was explored, showing the abuse of powers, the constant supervision, control and staging, the exhausting working conditions, the homophobia and marginalization of queer artists, and how young celebrities are kept isolated and risk to lose their sense of who they truly are. There were some parts that were almost too heartbreaking and I wanted to scream at the horrible persons responsible for the way the band members were treated. But there were also so many parts with hope and joy, amazing character developments, a swooning love story and, most of all, the important message that you are beautiful and wonderful just the way you are
All in all, I absolutely loved this book and recommend it with all my heart! It was such a powerful story about accepting and being proud of who you are, for wanting things and for being brave enough to chase after those things no matter how scary it feels or how hard it might make your life. It dealt with difficult topics in an honest and realistic way, but it was also such an uplifting, heart-warming, sweet and emotional rollercoaster for a love story!
Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to read an ARC of this gem! All opinions are my own and I am leaving my honest review voluntarily.
5 glorious stars
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All 1 Star 2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars Abbi Glines Abdi Nazemian Adam Silvera Adib Khorram Aiden Thomas Aisha Saeed AJ Collins Alexandra Christo Alexene Farol Follmuth Alexis Hall Alex Kelly Alex Sanchez Alice Dolman Alice Oseman Ali Hazelwood Alison Cochrun Al Riske Alwyn Hamilton A. Meredith Walters Amy Aislin Amy Harmon Amy S. Foster André Aciman Andy V Roamer Angie Thomas Annabeth Albert A. Poland Ashley Poston Ashley Woodfolk Audrey Coulthurst Becca Fitzpatrick Becky Albertalli Benjamin Alire Saenz Beth Bolden Bill Konigsberg B.L. Maxwell Briar Prescott Bri Spicer Brooke Skipstone Cale Dietrich Casey McQuiston Cassandra Clare C.G. Drews Chris Bedell Ciara Smyth Clarissa Pattern C.L. Beaumont Colleen Hoover Crystal Frasier C.S. Pacat Daven McQueen David Biddle David Yoon Dean Atta Debbie McGowan Debbie Rigaud Deborah Harkness Delia Owens D.G. Carothers Dhonielle Clayton Douglas Stuart Dustin Thao Elizabeth Acevedo Elizabeth Arroyo Elle Kennedy Elle Wright E. Lockhart Emily M. Danforth Emily Mims Erin Watt Ernest Cline Evan J. Corbin Eve Morton Everina Maxwell Evie Dunmore Felice Stevens Grace Williams Gwen Martin Hanya Yanagihara Hayden Stone Heather Truett H.E. Edgmon Hettie Bell Holly Black Hope Irving Hudson Lin Ingrid Sterling Jacqueline Lee Jacqueline Woodson Jamie Deacon Jandy Nelson Jax Calder Jay Hogan Jeanette Winterson Jeff Zentner Jenna Evans Welch Jenn Burke Jennifer E. Smith Jennifer G. Edelson Jennifer Gilmore Jennifer Iacopelli Jennifer Kropf Jennifer Niven Jenny Downham Jenny Han Jeremy Ray John Green Jonny Garza Villa Julianne Donaldson Julian Winters Kacen Callender Kami Garcia Kara Leigh Miller Kasie West Kate Larkindale Katharine McGee Kathleen Mareé KD Casey Kendall Grey Kevin Van Whye Kiley Reid Kim Fielding Kim Holden Kim Liggett Kitty Bardot Kris Ripper K.S. Marsden Laura Hall Laura Pavlov Laura Silverman Lauren James Laurie Frankel Leah Johnson Lee Matthew Goldberg Leigh Bardugo Leylah Attar Lisa Henry Lisa Williamson Lisa Wingate Liv Rancourt Liz Plum Lola Noire Lynn Michaels Mackenzi Lee Madeline Miller Maggie Doolin Maggie Stiefvater Malin Persson Giolito Malorie Blackman Margaret Stohl Marie Lu Mary E. Pearson Mason Deaver Matthew R. Corr Melina Marchetta Meredith Russo Miel Moreland Mila Gray Miranda Kenneally Moa Backe Astot M. Tasia Nancy Garden Natalie Haynes Nicholas Sparks Nicola Yoon Nic Starr Nic Stone Nina Kenwood Nita Tyndall Nora Sakavic N.R. Walker Penny Aimes Phil Stamper Quinn Anderson Rachael Brownell Rachael Lippincott Rachel Hawkins Rainbow Rowell Ray Stoeve Rhiannon Wilde Riley Hart River Braun Roan Parrish Roseanne A. Brown Rowan MacKemsley Ruby Moone Ruta Sepetys Ryan La Sala Sally Green Sally Rooney Sarah J. Maas Sarah Waters Sarina Bowen Saundra Mitchell Sidney Bell Simone Elkeles Siryn Sueng Sophia DeRise Sophie Gonzales S.R. Lane Stephen Chbosky Stephenie Meyer Steven Salvatore Susan Mac Nicol Suzanne Collins Tahereh Mafi Tamara Girardi Teagan Hunter Tiffany D. Jackson Timothy Janovsky T.J. Klune T.L. Bradford Tomasz Jedrowski Tomi Adeyemi Val Wise Veronica Rossi Veronica Roth V.E. Schwab Wesley Chu Victor Dixen Victoria Aveyard Xan Van Rooyen Yamile Saied Méndez