Review by Booklist Review
Dietrich (The Friend Scheme, 2020) and Gonzales (Perfect on Paper, 2021) delve into the glam, high-pressure world of the music industry through the alternating viewpoints of Ruben Montez and Zach Knight, two of the four members of teen boy-band Saturday. The boys have been close ever since they met at music camp, but as Saturday grows more successful, pressure from management to maintain a certain image increases. All the boys feel it, but Ruben, who's gay, is especially frustrated by mounting demands that he stay closeted. As the band heads out on the highly anticipated European leg of their tour, even Ruben and Zach's close bond starts to fray. While they eventually discover that their newfound tension is the result of a mutual attraction, Ruben and Zach's blossoming romance is threatened by everything from the paparazzi to their managers. With the stakes getting higher every day, can a fragile love survive? Dietrich and Gonzales keep the tension high and Ruben and Zach's voices distinct in this friends-to-lovers romance that shines with passion and verve.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
For the four members of popular boy band Saturday, life is one big performance: their management company controls their actions onstage and off, and they're tired of the grind of touring. But during their first sold-out European tour, 18-year-old Ruben Montez, who's Spanish American, and Zach Knight, who's white, grow even closer. While traveling with bandmates Angel Phan, who's cued as of Asian descent, and biracial (Black/white) Jon Braxton, whose father runs the band's label, Ruben and Zach bond over their frustrations. The management company has told Ruben to hold off on coming out publicly, and aspiring songwriter Zach is told that his work doesn't jibe with the band's pop sound. When Ruben and Zach's friendship takes a turn toward romance, they contemplate what they should be expected to give up for their success. Through the alternating voices of introspective Ruben and people pleaser Zach, Gonzales (Only Mostly Devastated) and Dietrich (The Friend Scheme) craft a believable novel filled with backstage detail and flawed characters trying to figure out who they are under the spotlight's glare. Ages 13--up. Agent (for Gonzales and Dietrich): Moe Ferrara, BookEnds Literary. (Dec.)
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Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 9 Up--Chart-topping boy band Saturday is setting off on their first European tour and at 17, it's time for the four boys--Jon, Angel, Ruben, and Zach--to transition their image from "cute" to "hot." Exerting complete control over this change, their management company forces shy, Catholic Jon to play on sex appeal, while exuberant, party-boy Angel is billed as a clean-cut nice guy, and Ruben, who came out to the band years ago, is forced to remain closeted to fans. However, it isn't until Zach realizes that he is bisexual and has a crush on Ruben (which is reciprocated) that he feels the full effects of the fan-friendly personas they are all being pressured to maintain. As the tour progresses, it's only a matter of time before one of the four cracks under the strain. Despite the intensity of their situation, the characters maintain their strong, supportive friendship while encouraging one another to assert themselves and set healthy boundaries when needed. Notably, Jon and Angel--both straight--are shown to have struggles similar to the queer characters when it comes to management's portrayal of their sexuality. All four boys have involved and supportive parents, making Ruben's complicated relationship with his emotionally abusive mother especially realistic. The story is equal parts plot and character driven, with racially diverse and well-rounded characters dealing with real teen issues. VERDICT Fun, heartwarming, and a vital purchase for all collections serving teens.--Austin Ferraro, Brambleton Lib./Loudoun County P.L., Brambleton, VA
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Review by Kirkus Book Review
Saturday has everything a boy band should: sleek choreography, stylish clothes, and, of course, enough personality and intrigue to keep the world interested. Ruben Montez and Zach Knight comprise one-half of this infallible formula. Ruben, the musical-theater--obsessed son of wealthy Spanish immigrants, tones down his energy and his incredible voice on stage to fit the cookie-cutter image of ordinary boy next door. Zach, a White boy from Oregon, is a leather-clad rebel in front of the cameras and a devoted and thoughtful son to his single mother behind them. As they embark on their first international tour, these four 18-year-olds--Ruben, Zach, and band mates Angel Phan (cued as Vietnamese American) and Jon Braxton (who has a Black mom and a White dad who is Saturday's band manager)--wrestle with the expectations of their fans, their management team, their grueling touring schedule, their parents, and, most of all, their own bounding, leaping hearts. In this unexpectedly poignant love story, the glamorous facade of stardom is peeled away to reveal the human cogs of the great pop-culture machine. While often comfortably formulaic, the story subverts expectations in refreshing ways: Family conflict stems from causes other than bigotry, mental health struggles are acknowledged and destigmatized, and, pleasingly, in this story about the pitfalls of boy-band fame, teenage girls aren't the villains. A lively novel with as much appeal as the band itself. (Fiction. 14-18) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.