Book Review: Kill the Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky
Number of Pages: 320
Date Published: February 23, 2016
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
From debut author Goldy Moldavsky, the story of four superfan friends whose devotion to their favorite boy band has darkly comical and murderous results.
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.
At this point you may be asking just how much harm a fifteen-year-old fangirl could really do. That is the wrong question to ask. People can do a lot of harm if pushed to the breaking point, and us fangirls lived at the breaking point.
Remember that time when you and your girl friends hovered over the latest photos and videos of your favorite band? Those instances when you silently squealed among yourselves as you watched the latest BTS shoots, making a dying face as your favorite person comes to focus. Your locker shows your utter devotion to this group and you would probably spend your nights scavenging websites for a summary of their most recent interview. Okay, that last one might have been too traditional, but you get what I mean.
Well, this book talks about that and more. It centers on a group of teenage girls whose lives are made complicated by their earnestness to meet their favorite group – the Ruperts, a band composed of members who were luckily (or unluckily as you may realize later on) born with the same name.
Yes, the humor tag does not disappoint. I have never laughed so much as I had when I read Where’d You Go, Bernadette, and the level of humor of Where’d You Go, Bernadette does not even compare. This is dark comedy at its finest. I know I should probably not laugh when a guy gets kidnapped and further disastrous events ensue, but I couldn’t help it. It’s just plain fun in most of its parts. You don’t even have to worry about not finding it funny because the dialogue is nothing but superficial and hilarious. Take this conversation for example:
A reporter interviewed her in front of her tent, asking, “Why are you so devoted to this band?”
“Because,” she’d said, “I’m a Strepur for life!”
“Excuse me?” the clueless newsperson said.
“Strepur. It’s what Ruperts fans called themselves. It’s ‘Ruperts’ spelled backward.”
The newsperson stared, blinked, smiled, and concluded the interview by asking a passerby how he felt about the growing population of Strepurs.
“I’m all for strippers,” the main said.
The clip was a mini viral sensation.
Now, a lot of people would probably wonder whether this one is only worth picking for a good laugh or two, and I’m pleased to say that it isn’t. On the contrary, once you get to the “unfortunate circumstance” you’d sense the intermittent changes in mood that leaves quite an unsettling feeling. This book, aside from being undoubtedly feminist, is also weirdly psychological.
There was no point being a fan these days if you weren’t willing to go the extra mile for your idols. It wasn’t enough anymore to send them fan mail and kiss the posters above our beds. These days you weren’t a true fan until you engaged in Twitter death threats and endless stan wars […] Because the truth is, it isn’t worth loving something if you aren’t going to love it all the way.
(Really? Now that I think about it, my life as a fangirl must have been pretty tame compared to these girls, but I do shamelessly admit that I was able to relate to most of their tendencies.)
The mood continues to become heavier and darker especially when the main character (I forgot her name if it was even mentioned) contemplated on the reality of the events that run through her head. It made me think about my life as a fangirl, how I loved reading fanfiction and even considered writing one, how I imagined exchanges between me and my favorite person, and boy, was I as proud and as outspoken back then?
I didn’t give this book a higher rating on account of personal preference. I’m just not much of a ‘humor’ person, but I really wanted to give the genre a try, and in all honesty, I did enjoy this book a lot, although there are some things that weren’t as satisfying.
The characters were diverse, that’s one thing that I appreciated very much, but I just didn’t find myself interested in the main character’s POV. Nevertheless, out of the bunch, she was the only one who had developed in one way or another. The ending was fitting. It had this fanfiction feel to it, but this isn’t a bad thing. I’m just not sure whether it was the author’s way of making the events look like they were written by this character who writes a lot of fanfiction about her favorite band, but well, it works.
Well, all in all, that was a fun read. The mystery was not the novel’s strong suit, so don’t focus on that if you do decide to read it. The story wasn’t made to indulge anyone in the process of finding out who committed what. It focuses more on the girls – their identities, their lives as teenagers, and how they would resolve the crisis at hand.
Go ahead and read this book if you want a good laugh, in addition to some reflections on the complexities of being in a fandom of any kind. If you have not gone through this “phase” as most people call it, then you’re probably in for a surprise.
Favorite Quotes from Kill the Boy Band
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.
Because the truth is, it isn’t worth loving something if you aren’t going to love it all the way.
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.
Maybe girls apologized too much.
Isabel’s infamous tweets ranged from the cartoonish and impossible:
Im going to pull ur tongue out of ur mouth wrap it around ur neck n strangle u w it so hard ur eyes will pop out. i will pee in the sockets.
To the quaint:
Get ur fcking hands off him bitch i will cut u. #RupertLIsMine
To the cryptically disturbing:
I watch u in your sleep.
I would never condone Isabel’s scary tweets, but you had to give the girl credit for managing to stay under 140 characters every time.