Double ARC Review | If This Gets Out by Sophie Gonzales, Cale Dietrich and Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune

Hey fellow ramblers (phew, yes I finally changed my salutation. It was getting very boring calling you all ‘guys’)! Today I’m reviewing two of my ARCs, both of which are marvelous stories! I loved them both so much and can’t wait for you to pick them up (at least, I hope you will)! A huge thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an early copy for both these books in exchange for an honest review! This did not affect my opinions in any way. Quotations may vary upon release date.

So without further ado, here is If This Gets Out by Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich!

Genre: Contemporary, LGBT, Romance, Young Adult

Release Date: December 7th, 2021

Published by: Wednesday Books

click to view content warnings

homophobia, parental abuse, consumption of drugs and alcohol

(from Goodreads)

If This Gets Out is an absolute showstopper! Equal parts edgy and adorable, this bright, joyful book has everything I look for in a queer YA romance.” —Phil Stamper, bestselling author of The Gravity of Us

Eighteen-year-olds Ruben Montez and Zach Knight are two members of the boy-band Saturday, one of the biggest acts in America. Along with their bandmates, Angel Phan and Jon Braxton, the four are teen heartbreakers in front of the cameras and best friends backstage. But privately, cracks are starting to form: their once-easy rapport is straining under the pressures of fame, and Ruben confides in Zach that he’s feeling smothered by management’s pressure to stay in the closet.

On a whirlwind tour through Europe, with both an unrelenting schedule and minimal supervision, Ruben and Zach come to rely on each other more and more, and their already close friendship evolves into a romance. But when they decide they’re ready to tell their fans and live freely, Zach and Ruben start to truly realize that they will never have the support of their management. How can they hold tight to each other when the whole world seems to want to come between them?

Almost plummeting to my death before a stadium full of screaming people is a warning sign, in an endless parade of warning signs lately, that I need more sleep.

I don’t even know how to start this review. This book was just so damn good. Of course, it had it qualms, mostly to do with the pacing, but everything else was just *chefs kiss*

This book is this close to becoming a One Direction fan fiction. I wouldn’t be surprised if everyone thought this was about them. I literally could not stop comparing them.

If This Gets Out revolves around Saturday, a boyband who are literally owning the music industry. Ruben and Zach are part of this band, along with their two other band members, Angel and Jon. THEIR FRIENDSHIP IS EVERYTHING. I loved their interactions and how comfortable they always were around each other. They genuinely cared and would go to some pretty big lengths to help each other. Of course, they had their ups and downs but they always managed to stick it out.

The thing about your dreams coming true is that, for a gold-spun moment, you catch a glimpse of what life could be like for you. Then when you lose it, and you crash back to reality, it’s from such a great height all you can do is lie there, winded and bruised, while you come to terms with the idea that a happiness like that isn’t meant for you.

Their managing company (or an agency? I don’t really know) doesn’t really allow them to be themselves. Ruben is gay, and desperately wants to share that with the world but Chorus won’t let him. They create different personalities for each of them and put them in a box, not caring about what it’s doing to the members of the band. All they care about is the outcome. And if it’s advantageous.

As Ruben and Zach starting catching feelings for each other, Zach also starts coming to terms with the fact that he’s bisexual, which is something he’s not exactly swelled upon before. He goes through a lot of new experiences, like coming out to his mom and falling for a boy.

It broke my heart to see them not being able to be themselves in front of their fans, and having to hide their true selves from almost everyone. They had to keep doing what was right for the company and avoid any scandals that might make it to the tabloids. But what broke my heart the most was that Chorus wouldn’t let them come out. They made empty promises, and when Ruben and Zach finally realised that, they decided to take matters into their own hands.

The ending did feel a bit abrupt and I would have liked to get a little more closure to where everyone’s lives were heading.

All four boys had the cutest relationship ever and I can’t help but root for them all through the story. Told through dual POVs, If This Gets Out is a swooning read, with amazing romance and a breathtaking story about self discovery. Sophie Gonzales has done it again.

Genre: Fantasy, LGBT, Romance

Release Date: September 21st, 2021

Published by: Tor Books

click to view content warnings

suicide, mild violence, panic attacks

(from Goodreads)

Under the Whispering Door is a contemporary fantasy with TJ Klune’s signature “quirk and charm” (PW) about a ghost who refuses to cross over and the ferryman he falls in love with.

When a reaper comes to collect Wallace Price from his own funeral, Wallace suspects he really might be dead.

Instead of leading him directly to the afterlife, the reaper takes him to a small village. On the outskirts, off the path through the woods, tucked between mountains, is a particular tea shop, run by a man named Hugo. Hugo is the tea shop’s owner to locals and the ferryman to souls who need to cross over.

But Wallace isn’t ready to abandon the life he barely lived. With Hugo’s help he finally starts to learn about all the things he missed in life.

When the Manager, a curious and powerful being, arrives at the tea shop and gives Wallace one week to cross over, Wallace sets about living a lifetime in seven days.

By turns heartwarming and heartbreaking, this absorbing tale of grief and hope is told with TJ Klune’s signature warmth, humor, and extraordinary empathy.

”The first time you share tea, you are a stranger. The second time you share tea, you are an honored guest. The third time you share tea, you become family.”

TJ Klune really brought it in this one. This is so much like The House in the Cerulean Sea, yet worlds apart. But it made me sob all the same. IT’S SO FREAKING CUTE.

In this novel we follow Wallace Pierce, a mundane divorced businessman running a firm with his three friends. He’s a no-nonsense kind of guy, career-driven with no sense of humour whatsoever and takes everything seriously. And I mean everything. He doesn’t exactly believe in anything. All he wants is to keep working in his firm and get the satisfaction of firing employees.

So I guess you can believe me when I say that Wallace is quite dumbfounded to find himself standing in front of his casket looking at his lifeless body on the day of his funeral. He’s then whisked away by a Reaper, Mei, to a tea shop, where he meets his ferryman, Hugo, Nelson, who is Hugo’s grandfather, and Apollo, a wholesome little dog.

From the moment he sets foot in the tea shop, Wallace simply refuses to believe he’s dead. He witnesses the weirdest of things, from not being able to touch anyone or anything, to a hook with a cable protruding out of his chest. He eventually begins to grasp the idea, and realises that he never really lived his best life.

I simply adored the found family trope in this book. At first, everyone except Hugo is not very keen about him. But it’s what they’re meant to do (help lost souls cross over, that is), so they do it. But as they learn stuff about each other, and themselves, they draw closer, and are soon an inseparable band of best friends.

I wasn’t very fond of Wallace in the beginning, but his character development is just so well done that I couldn’t bring myself to hate him. He learns so much about his life and how he could have done so many things differently. If he had, maybe he wouldn’t have been so miserable.

”If this is a way station, if this is just one stop on a journey, you’re the better part of it.”

Hugo and Wallace are my new favourite otp. They’re literally so cute together and have stolen my heart. I liked that it wasn’t a very insta-lovey situation and eventually grew into something they both never expected.

Hugo is a very optimistic, calm person (yes he’s alive), and helps Wallace understand the true meaning of life and death and how we need to live life to the fullest because we might never have enough time.

Nelson is the sweetest grandfather ever, and Apollo and him make a great pair. They’re the kind of people you could never get bored of and would always want to be around. Mei too. I love that we have Asian representation in this book through her. She’s such a feisty, sassy young woman, and I can’t help but love her! She’s such a mood!

”Why are you lying on the floor?” Mei asked.

“Why do we do anything that we do?” Wallace said dully. “There’s no point.”

“Oh man,” Mei said. “It’s far too early for your existential angst. At least let me wake up more before having to deal with such a bummer.”

There’s so much conflict in the story, which I definitely wasn’t expecting, but it only made the book more enjoyable and worthwhile.

Oooh the ending. You think you know what’s going to happen. Trust me, whatever you’re thinking, it’s not going to happen. My jaw was left hanging. It’s a not a plot twist, per se, but it’s so unexpected that I wouldn’t have seen it coming from miles away.

Overall, Under the Whispering Door is my newest addition to my favourites shelf, and I CANNOT WAIT FOR EVERYONE TO CRY OVER THIS WITH ME.

”It’s never enough, is it? Time. We always think we have so much of it, but when it really counts, we don’t have enough at all.

And that’s all for today! What do you think? Are these books on your TBR yet? Which one are you anticipating the most? Let me know in the comments!

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27 thoughts on “Double ARC Review | If This Gets Out by Sophie Gonzales, Cale Dietrich and Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune

  1. I am beyond jealous that you have been able to read the new TJ Klune book! I requested it on Netgalley ages ago but it still has yet to be approved. I hope every single day!

    Liked by 1 person

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