Title: Kill The Boy Band
Author: Goldy Moldavsky
Published: February 23rd, 2016 (Scholastic)
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Comedy, Mystery
Themes: Music, Fandom
Rating: Four Stars
Okay, so just know from the start that it wasn’t supposed to go like this. All we wanted was to get near The Ruperts, our favorite boy band.
We didn’t mean to kidnap one of the guys. It kind of, sort of happened that way. But now he’s tied up in our hotel room. And the worst part of all, it’s Rupert P. All four members of The Ruperts might have the same first name, but they couldn’t be more different. And Rupert P. is the biggest flop out of the whole group.
We didn’t mean to hold hostage a member of The Ruperts, I swear. At least, I didn’t. We are fans. Okay, superfans who spend all of our free time tweeting about the boys and updating our fan tumblrs. But so what, that’s what you do when you love a group so much it hurts.
How did it get this far? Who knows. I mean midterms are coming up. I really do not have time to go to hell.
Cover Thoughts: I love the contrast between the girlyness and darkness of this book. The pink represents the girls and their love for the band and the black symbolizes that things are darker than first believed.
~Why I Wanted To Read~
I wanted to read Kill The Boy Band because it revolved around a group of girls, a band and was a dark comedy.
~Impact On Me~
Now I am a fangirl. I am a fangirl about musicals. I am a fangirl about TV shows. I am a fangirl about BANDS. You may have been able to tell this by my nonstop Hamilton and Carly Rae Jepsen tweets, my blog posts about Steroline and Veronica Mars, as well as what is basically a love letter to Hilary Duff. I am just an all around, slightly insane, completely obsessed fangirl. This book was practically a love letter to me.
As a fangirl, I read Kill The Boy Band and laughed and nodded my head at the portrayals. Some of the extreme fangirls were quite off the rails with their behavior, from wearing diapers to concerts (Hey, it was done in Grey’s Anatomy during surgery, so why not?) to taking the blame for very serious events. They are 100% dedicated to their fandom and for that, the characters get all of my applause. They know each other’s Ruperts stats, from how many times they’ve seen them in concert to how many times they’ve seen them from a far. They keep posters, memorize songs, practically stalk them, etc. They love these guys.
First Line: People have called me crazy.
What to say about Kill The Boy Band? I loved it and hated it. It made me laugh and roll my eyes. I wanted to hug it as well as throw it out my window. Did I have mixed thoughts about it? You bet. I related an unbelievable amount to it, from being a fangirl to loving music to living in the digital age. When I was in high school, I wasn’t directly involved in fandom, but I loved Panic! At The Disco and Fall Out Boy. I would read so much band fiction by them all day and night. I would read them over and over. Their music was constantly played in my ears. What is band fiction, you may ask? It is fanfiction written about the band members. Yes, the living, breathing real life band members. I ate it up.
This was a fast paced book filled with fangirls, comedy, crazy antics, mystery and a quite a bit of darkness. It was addictive and difficult to put down. It is ridiculous, addictive, completely improbable, senseless and hysterical. Kill The Boy Band is supposed to be a fun book that doesn’t take itself very seriously. That doesn’t mean I can’t or won’t at times but let me continue.
Kill The Boy Band is a satirical take on fandom and mystery. It revolves around four girls who aren’t quite friends. They’re more like people who use each other for what they can get out of it.
Sloane, the main character, our narrator, supplies…nothing particular to the group, but she is friends with Erin.
Erin is the leader of the group you could say. She’s the one that everyone listens to and no one really goes against, except for Sloane.
Apple is rich, so she helps with money costs. Generally without anyone helping.
Isabel is a blogger-esque type person who runs a successful Ruperts news website, so she helps them stalk the guys. Of the four girls, Apple and Sloane are the most serious about the boys. Isabel mostly uses the band to get hits on her website and Erin, well, you’ll have to see. She’s a mysterious character with secrets for sure.
Really, the girls aren’t anything to each other, but they share one common interest, The Ruperts.
The Ruperts are your basic parody boy band, ala One Direction, Jonas Brothers and Five Seconds of Summer. The Ruperts are a group of four guys who are all named Rupert. As you can tell, they’re a combination of the Jonas name in Jonas Brothers (without being related, mind you) and the reality show based, insane worldwide popularity of European boy band, One Direction.
This book absolutely played out like a movie for me, it reminded me of the 2004 movies, Sleepover and Stuck In The Suburbs along with some of the improbable and problematic elements found in 80s movies like Sixteen Candles and Heathers. Not only did it remind me of those teenage films, but Kill The Boy Band also seemed to take a spin on the popular ensemble teenage girl mysteries like Pretty Little Liars and Get Even. Now when it comes to ’04 movies and the 80s movies, I would say Kill The Boy Band is more like the former. It was entertaining, but didn’t push certain buttons, I’d say.
When I started Kill The Boy Band, I adored it. It seemed like such a letter to the fandom. I loved it even more because it wasn’t a book fandom (like in Fangirl) or a show fandom (like in Gena/Finn), but a music fandom. I’m such a music fanatic that I know how a simple band can just be life changing for a person. I think a lot of society likes to make fun of girls for loving these big boy bands, but that’s something that’s gone on since the 90s with Backstreet Boys, N’Sync and 98 Degrees. It’s nothing new and yet it seems like if teenage girls love these bands and the boys in the bands, that they’re just being silly. Of course, it would be hard to find someone criticize a girl for liking Imagine Dragons, one of the biggest Alternative acts to come out in recent years. I loved how this book stood up for girls who love boy bands and justified their feelings while also questioning them. This book is so unapologetically for the girls.
I thought the characters were a bit cliche, but I liked the main character a lot. I found Erin interesting, but she irked me a bit.
An interesting thing about the main character is that we’re never told her real name. I would like to believe this was done so readers could insert themselves into the story. Not unlike the self-insertion fanfiction that was popular when I was growing up. The main character is the voice of reason throughout Kill The Boy Band. She wants to do the good thing, the right thing. She wants to do what no other girls ever do in Pretty Little Liars and Get Even and admit she can’t handle a situation and go to the police. It was refreshing to see a girl go against the group mentality.
While we’re not ever given the main character’s name, she does claim a few names when she’s talking to various people. Some of these names are Francis ‘Baby’ Houseman, Samantha Baker and Sloane Peterson. That last name is where the “Sloane” reference comes from in my review. Now, do any of these names ring any bells? Well, they’re the names of the female main characters in Dirty Dancing,
and Ferris Buller’s Day Off.
Yes, our main character is a bit into 80s movies as well. I LOVED this about her. I think this is excellent because even without the names, this book felt so much like a movie of John Hughes, something fun but improbable and a definite daydream scenario. The main character is also a fanfiction writer! This was something I really loved about her, though I never really wrote fanfiction, I definitely toyed with the idea and read a ton.
I loved the initial plot with the girls accidentally kidnapping a guy from The Ruperts. It was even more amusing that it was the one that none of them liked except for Apple. Of course, this was also an annoying pain. Things definitely go from a little crazy to all out insane and the main characters find out some things they did not know before. This book did take me on an interesting ride.
~*~TL;DR (Too Long, Didn’t Read)~*~
- Fandom – I loved all of the fandom discussion: The fangirls, fanfiction, the talk of fans and their dedication, the detail of fangirling that went on, etc. It was was so realistic and well done. There was an unbelievable amount of pop culture in this novel from Instagram to Tumblr to Twitter, it was all mentioned and utilized.
- Music – Music has always been a huge part of my life, especially in high school. I believed every ounce of these girls love for the band, even if I was never as extreme as they were. It was great to read a book revolving around music and how a band you’ve never met (or typically don’t ever meet) can impact you and make you feel. Their thoughts were realistic,
- Main Character – While I found some of the main character’s comments annoying (I’ll go into slight detail below), I liked her a lot. I loved her love for 80s movies, the fact that she wrote fanfiction and how she was the sensible one in the group, that was nice.
- Entertaining – This was a really entertaining book for me and easy to read. The writing style was great, though it did get a bit tell-ey rather than show-ey.
- Now that I’d discussed what I loved about Kill The Boy Band, it’s time to discuss the problematic elements that it contained. These problematic things boils down to three people really; Apple, Isabel and Rupert P.
- Apple –
- Apple is a Chinese girl who was adopted in an orphanage after seen eating an apple off the floor. Now you’re probably thinking “Wait, they didn’t name her after the fruit she was eating, did they?” Yes. Yes they did. Believe me, I know how it sounds. I cringed when reading it. Kudos for diversity in making her Chinese but not like ‘typical’ Chinese characters? She’s fat, so that’s one less stereotype about her…
- Now, what’s a girl with a name like Apple, whose first past experience involved eating a dirty fruit, supposed to be like? Let me tell you, she’s overweight. Really, it appears that she’s huge based on her descriptions, not of her size, but of how she’s portrayed. She’s constantly eating things, brings a SUITCASE full of popcorn to a hotel. A suitcase. Her strength is used to detain a person several times and she sexually harasses a person several times as well. It was really disturbing, but points for humor? Not really.
- Isabel –
- Isabel is a Dominican girl. So far so good, right? Well then, this is where that ends. Throughout Kill The Boy Band, Isabel is seen as a somewhat mysterious character with the main character believing she’s killed before, she’s related to the mob and/or she does other underhanded activities. Now this is all fine and good, but what ticked me off about this is that Isabel is Dominican. This seemed to play into the idea that of course Dominicans are the first to be involved in killing and in the mafia and what have you. To top it off, Isabel speaks broken spanish which doesn’t make sense, as the main character points out in her head. That’s not the best part though, Isabel’s broken spanish only occurs when she’s angry. So we have the angry, mafia related, broken spanish speaking Dominican character.
- Rupert P.–
- Oh Rupert P. You were entertaining to begin with, so much really. I felt bad for your situation because of obvious reasons, you’d been knocked out, kidnapped, taped up, and harassed by a group of fans. On the other hand, you went off on these girls who were your fans. Then you went off on fans in general. I can’t say I blame you, no, not at all. I’d be pissed too if I were you.
- Dare I say Rupert P reminded me of the author in The Fault In Our Stars? The main characters in The Fault In Our Stars and Kill The Boy Band both romanticize the idea of these people who have opened new worlds to them. They think they’re magical being practically who can do no wrong. That was definitely the case in Kill The Boy Band with Rupert P. Rupert definitely has his own secrets as well. . .
The ending was surprising and I saw quite a bit of it coming. It was still entertaining and fun to read. Though I had problems with some of the characters portrayals, I liked Kill The Boy Band. This is a somewhat problematic book given the way Apple and Isabel are written. They both fall into stereotypes that can be hurtful. I did not like that about the book at all and wish it had gone into their backgrounds more. Instead, it felt like they were made Chinese and Dominican Republic just to claim diversity. I would recommend this book if you’re looking for a light, yet darker contemporary novel. I rate it four out of five stars.
(Taken from ARC, Subject To Change)
- I was holding someone captive and all that was going through my mind was a Billboard Top 40 love song. I was going to hell.
- They were just boys. Take away the band, the lights, the fame, and the screaming girls, and they were just boys, chosen for us to obsess over.
- Did I love them because they were the only boys in my life who consistently told me that I was beautiful? Probably. I loved The Ruperts for who they were, sure, but I mostly loved them for how they made me feel. Which was happy. The Ruperts made me happy. The simplest thing to be in the world. And the hardest.
- 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.
- Maybe it was obsession, but it was also happiness; an escape from the suckiness of everyday life. And when you find something that makes you happy and giddy and excited every day, us fangirls know a truth that everyone else seems to have forgotten: you hold on to that joy tenaciously, for as long as you can.
~Do I Recommend?~
~Who Do I Recommend It To?~
- Fans of pop culture and fandom
- People who love music a lot or love books about music
- Fans of dark comedy like Heathers
~Would I Buy It?~
~Would I Re-Read It?~