Title: Kill the Boy Band
Author: Goldy Moldavsky
Published: February 23rd, 2016
I’m honestly surprised it has taken me this long to post a review for this book, because I had so many conflicting thoughts on it! However, I’m finally sitting down and typing one up for this extremely unique book. Let’s dive right in!
Synopsis: Just know from the start that it wasn’t supposed to go like this. All we wanted was to get near them. That’s why we got a room in the hotel where they were staying.
We were not planning to kidnap one of them. Especially not the most useless one. But we had him—his room key, his cell phone, and his secrets.
We were not planning on what happened next.
From thrilling new talent Goldy Moldavsky comes a pitch-black, hilarious take on fandom and the badass girls who have the power to make—or break—the people we call “celebrities.”
Okay, so this book had me when I learned that it was a comedy about fangirls. Who doesn’t love a good book about fangirls? I was even more intrigued when I learned that it was a parody on boy bands and their fans. After finishing it, I have a lot of mixed feelings.
On the one hand, this book was HILARIOUS! I laughed out loud many times throughout, which takes a lot for me. I will say that this is a dark comedy so a lot of the humor came from satire and some really messed up moments. Moldavsky did not hold back and I appreciated it, because it helped the comedy greatly. This was honestly one of the funniest novels I have ever read.
Another thing Moldavsky did extremely well was give us a plot with a lot of twists and turns. There were so many moments in this book that I did not see coming at all! Like my mouth dropped multiple times, which I think is pretty amazing considering this is like a 300 page book. Moldavsky kept heightening things to an extreme level, and you weren’t sure exactly where you were headed. It made you want to keep reading and see what happened next.
I also loved that this book was a parody and completely took advantage of that. A ton of ridiculous and crazy things happen in this book. I really enjoy reading unrealistic realistic fiction, and there is not enough of it. I really liked that this book just went for things and did not worry about whether some of the events would actually happen in real life. Moldavsky created her own world, so the things that happen are justified and make sense in the crazy world that she made.
Where this book loses me a little is how it deals with fangirls itself. I consider myself a fangirl of many things. When I was 16, I was obsessed with the Jonas Brothers. I randomly stanned 5SOS, and then there’s KPop…So with my many loves, I’d like to think I have a pretty good idea of what it means to be a fangirl and all of that jazz. This book is talking about my crazy fangirl side after all. For the most part it does a pretty good job at portraying fangirls and poking fun at the things they do (because fangirls do crazy shit). Where it loses me, is that I can’t tell what the book is trying to say about fangirls. It seems like it was a mix of “they are awesome,” but “this is a phase you will regret.” Maybe this idea could have worked, but I was so confused on it’s stance thanks to the poor execution. As this is a book about fangirls, the lack of a clear stance was extremely frustrating to me. I will go into more detail below as it might contain spoilers.
However, I think why it fails to deliver on that aspect is the character development. We get great diverse characters in this book, but at times they can feel a little like caricatures. While at times it helps the humor, it’s hard to understand the motivation behind our characters actions. Some characters are more developed than others, but there is definitely room for improvement across the board. Our main character especially could have used better character development, because it was hard to figure out what she was all about. Some of the writing could have been cleaner as well.
Overall, I had a ton of fun reading this book. While the very ending (literally the last two pages) frustrated the hell out of me, it managed to make me laugh and surprise me. I don’t think that this book is for everyone though. If you’re looking for a dark comedy and the premise interests you, definitely give it a read. However, if you’re more of a stickler for realistic novels you might not enjoy it. Also I should mention that some people find parts of the humor to be offensive. It did not bother me personally, but something to be wary of if you are easily offended by harsh comedy.
In the section below, I will be ranting about my frustrations with the fangirl aspect. It revolves heavily about what was said in the last two pages of the book. While I do not go into details of the plot, it will spoil where the main character sort of ends up emotionally. I do not think it will ruin anything, but if you’re a reader who enjoys going in cold this section is not for you. I wanted you to have a choice in case you were planning on reading this book and wanted to form your own opinions.
With that being said, let’s move onto my rant.
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Please do not continue reading if you want to go in cold.
You have been warned.
Throughout the book, our main character gets shit on a lot for being a fangirl and told that this whole thing is just a “phase.” At one point she encounters this douchey bartender who says:
“What you don’t even realize now–what you will only come to understand in time, but lucky for you, I’m here to tell you–is you’re not going to give two shits about this band in a few years. In fact, I guarantee that this group that you admire so much and that you are putting all of your love and dedication and devotion into will be nothing more than an obsession you will be immensely embarrassed of having had. One day you’ll be in college, maybe you’ll be at a party, and someone will say ‘Hey do you remember The Ruperts? How shitty was their music?’ and you will have a moment of crisis: Do you admit your former love for them, or do you concede, because you know in your heart that this person is right? And guess what you’ll say? You’ll say, ‘Yeah, their music was utter. Putrid. Garbage.'”
When this happens she tells him he’s wrong, and goes on to say that people don’t get it.
“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. Because it’s rare to get excited about anything these days. Ask your parents”
This sentiment is great, and certainly rings true for me. I totally relate to it. My problem is that her attitude is not carried through to the end. More and more people comment negatively on being a fangirl and it makes our main character question if it’s a good thing. I liked that aspect of the book, because it was interesting character development. However, at the end she goes back to what the douchey bartender says and takes it more seriously.
It almost reads as if she is embarrassed about her obsession now and ashamed of being a fangirl. After everything that goes on in this book, it makes sense why she questions the whole fangirl life, but it’s like the fact that The Ruperts meant something to her at a time in her life when she needed them is completely erased. I also hated that it’s the douchey bartender that she sort of listens to, because he has no idea what he’s talking about. There is another character in the book that has similar thoughts and has so much more credibility then this dude! It just feels so out of character for our MC, and the whole thing was poorly executed.
Then there’s the fact that the ending it tries to have the best of both worlds. We see our MC struggle with the idea of being a fangirl and think that maybe this is just a phase she will regret. Right before we get our main character questioning everything, there’s this passage:
“Fans,” I repeated, serious.
Are never taken seriously.
“…should find a nice hobby.”
But we should be taken seriously. We can be amazing. And dangerous.
I loved this passage, because hell yeah we fangirls should be taken seriously. Then we get that weird moment with our MC struggling with the idea of being a fangirl, so the passage no longer feels genuine. It seems like the ending was trying to have the best of both worlds and sort of leaving it up to the reader to form their own opinion. Thanks to the poor execution, it just fell so flat and confused me.
Part of the reason I was so frustrated by is the fact that our main character took to heart this college thing that douchebag bartender talks about. That in college she will say that she never liked The Ruperts and shit on them with everyone else. This is a situation I actually went through with the Jonas Brothers, and douchebag bartender was completely wrong! At least for me.
The boy band I was obsessed with was the Jonas Brothers, and I ended up meeting some of my best friends thanks to our shared love for the Jonas Brothers. Maybe this is just my experience, but fandom brings people together. It’s a point that our main character completely forgets at the very end. Right after a passage she says how amazing fangirls can be together. Make up your mind already!
I wanted to kick this book, because I still have no idea what it is actually trying to say about fangirls. I can’t tell if it’s saying we’re amazing, but should use our talents elsewhere (which is kind a little offensive), or if we’re just amazing in general. Having our main character question things could have been cool, given everything that happens to her, but the book just tried to do too many things. It’s so contradictory and I think that’s more in part to poorly executed character development and writing.
Anyway, thanks for reading my rant. If you’ve read this book, I would love to hear your opinions on it! Please let’s talk about it down below. Are you as frustrated as I am? Or did you get what this book was going for and can share with me? Also, if you want to talk about fandom in general, I’m here.