A REVIEW by ALEXA DUNCAN
Boy bands. We all love them. Or at least, I do. I was an avid fan of the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC when I was younger, One Direction when I was a little older, and now the Korean super-group, BTS. Boy bands are fun. They make escapist music and feature some of the most commercially handsome twenty-somethings alive. I’d even venture to say that you probably still belt out “I Want It That Way” or “Tearin’ Up My Heart” whenever you hear them on the radio. Where am I going with this, you might wonder?
Kill the Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky. That’s where I’m going. On a surface level, it’s about a group of rabid fangirls who accidentally kidnap a member of their favorite boy band and hold him hostage in their hotel room. On a deeper level, it’s a biting satire of fan culture, how the media treats female fans, and the ethics of loving these commercially handsome twenty-somethings.
Kill the Boy Band is not for everyone. Its humor is dark and dry and may only resonate with readers who have ever had a poster of New Kids on the Block in their bedroom. Seeing as I am one of those boy band obsessed folks, I understood where this book was coming from and absolutely loved it. Kill the Boy Band follows our unnamed narrator—a teenage girl who goes by the name of “Sloane” (that isn’t her real name)—and her friends: Apple, Isabel, and Erin. Collectively, these girls are huge fans of a boy band called The Ruperts. Fictional One Direction, if they were all named Rupert. Each of the girls has a favorite member and each are obsessed with The Ruperts in their own way. Apple, for example, loves “The Ugly One,” Rupert P. Rupert P also happens to be the Rupert the girls accidentally kidnap.
Without going into too much detail (you should read the book if you want to know what “accidentally” means in this case), the girls kidnap Rupert P. and tie him up in their hotel room. What follows is an entire book centered around Rupert and the girls. Rupert is obviously none too pleased about being kidnapped, but the kicker is that these girls don’t care. Isabel, for example, runs a Ruperts fansite and will do anything to get a scoop on them. Erin is sneaky and beautiful and weirdly adamant about keeping Rupert P. in their grasp. Apple is sweet, yet wildly insecure, and just wants Rupert P. to love her. Our unnamed narrator thinks the whole thing is crazy.
And yet she goes along with it anyway.
Kill the Boy Band features some razor-sharp writing and a certain wittiness unique to millennials. The characters all say and do these unhinged things, but you can’t help but read onward to see what they’re going to do next. In addition to its humor, Kill the Boy Band offers critiques of what the media likes to refer to as “crazy fangirls.” You know the ones. Or at least you think you do. They’re frivolous and delusional for loving these boys so much, because those boys will never love them back. Kill the Boy Band takes a scalpel to that stereotype and dissects it with both darkness and humor. The joy of being a teenager and the euphoria that comes with loving something so intensely—that’s what you find in this book. Not the shrieking fangirl stereotype designed to denigrate teenage girls. However, there are some questionable things in this book that I’d like to take a moment to mention: Sexual assault is brought up, as well as some questionable LQBTQIA rep, and questionable plus-size rep. Keep that in mind.
If this book sounds interesting to you, you can check out a copy of Kill the Boy Band at the Argenta Library today! Maybe listen to some Backstreet Boys on the way there.