Kill the Boy Band – Goldy Moldavsky
Fiction – YA
Published February 23rd 2016 by Point
This book man. I read the first few pages and immediately thought I would hate it. Everything about the description of the band and the obvious relation to One Direction seemed like it wouldn’t relate to me in any way. If anyone else had that very immediate reaction, I promise you it exceeds all expectations after the first chapter and you will be hooked immediately, and also probably embarrassed thinking about that time in elementary school when you cried because Justin Timberlake cut his hair (or maybe that is just me).
So What’s it About
This book centers around four friends who are all obsessed with a British boy band, The Ruperts. Shockingly, the band consists of four boys all named Rupert who all met on a reality show showcasing their talents, one of the boys doesn’t even really sing, his talent is juggling. Readers are taken through the story by our unreliable narrator who we only ever get to know as Sloane Peterson. Her real name is never said and when people ask for he name she gives a different name from different 80s movies every time. Also, she is to be understood as the sane fangirl. Among her friends is Apple, Isabel, and Erin.
The four of them get a room at the hotel in New York where the Ruperts are rumored to be staying after their concert. Things begin to go terribly wrong when the group gain possession of the worst Rupert (the one who juggles). And by gain possession, I mean they have him tied to a chair in their room. Once the novelty of having access to their favorite band begins to wear off, the girls must come to grips with the madness that begins to fall around them as their friendship crumples and they quickly turn on one another.
It would have been so easy for Moldavsky to make fun of teenage girls and their obsessions, especially in the new age of social media. Instead, she validates their obsessions with humor and self-awareness and reminds everyone that these girls are much more relatable than you think. Despite the completely ridiculous plot there are so many underlying truths in this book that I found myself laughing at even though I know they could all be true of me. At the end of the day, I related to this book so much more than I thought I would.
Embarrassing anecdote time. I loved Zac Efron (and mostly still do).
My friends and I used to watch his interviews on Youtube, follow his twitter religiously to the point it felt like we knew him (newsflash, we didn’t in case you were wondering). I think the older generations have a hard time understanding that celebrities, especially younger ones, have their life plastered across so much social media it feel like the fans have a real access to them outside of concerts and signings. If you comment enough maybe they’ll comment back. Thankfully, unlike in the book we were too shy to ever do anything about our undying love for Zefron. Except for the one time he was shooting a movie in the town my friend went to school in so we stalked his hotel for a good 2 hours.
That experience of being a part of a fandom is what this book is about. The girls go too far partly because they feel like they really know “their boys,” and partly because by going along with everything they get to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Moldavsky successfully pokes fun at teen girl crushes while still defending their right to have them unapologetically. I think the reason it is successful is because of the dark humor and self-awareness. The narrator makes comments throughout that make you believe she knows how they come off to the world, but she doesn’t care. She has a group of friends who all love the same thing and that’s good enough for her. The self-awareness was the thing that made the book great for me, that and the dark humor. As the plot gets darker our narrator grows more and more unreliable and comedy ensues. When the book is on the verge of getting too dark there is some very good physical or teenage girls version sexual comedy to lighten things back up.
“He was just another adult who forgot what it was like to love something so completely. In fact, he probably only liked things ironically, which means he didn’t really like things at all. And I may have only been a teenager, but I knew a truth that he had obviously never grasped: The joy you find as a teen, however frivolous and dumb, is pure, and meaningful. It doesn’t matter that it might ferment and taste different when you’re older. That’s the whole point of being a teenager – not worrying about the future.”
Definitely, it was a fun read. Perfect for a day at the beach. It has it’s funny moments as well as it’s very real moments that will make you extremely happy you were not a 13 year old girl in the age of social media.