The offensive humor and poor satire in Goldy Moldavsky’s Kill the Boy Band killed this book’s rating.
Kill the Boy Band follows four fan girls of the British boy band, The Ruperts, as they try to score tickets to the band’s Thanksgiving concert. In the process, they “accidentally” kidnap one of the band’s members. Soon, the girls realized the people they bonded with online are not the same people standing in front of them. One girls harbors a deep secret that threatens to kill their friendship… and the boy band.
After researching more about this book, I discovered that the author actually wrote this book after watching a documentary about boy bands where girls cried, screamed, and fainted over their favorite celebrities. I think this negatively impacted the book which acts like these are the only fans who existed. Although the book uses dark humor and satire to deliver its message, therefore may use stereotypes to prove a point, the book fell flat in both areas.
For me, most of the “humor” crossed the line to plain offensive, especially in the first half of the book. The main character repeatedly refers to Rupert P., the boy band member they captured, as “the ugly one” and “the jerk” of the group. It was almost used to justify the harassment and torture that followed. During Rupert P.’s kidnapping, the girls threaten to use his sexuality against him. Though the author describes how this is wrong in a paragraph on the next page, it is continually used against Rupert P. afterward. In addition, one girl sexually harasses Rupert P. by sitting on his lap without her shirt and takes sexually suggestive selfies despite Rupert’s voiced discomfort.
The characters also constantly put down one of the other girls, Apple, for her weight. Every time Apple’s character appeared, they put down her weight. It was even stated that boy bands always include an “ugly” member like Rupert P. so “unattractive” girls like Apple felt like they stood a chance. The book further perpetuated a poor self-image when it mentioned Apple went on a diet so she could be pretty enough for one of the boy band’s members. Even with dark humor, I think there are lines that should not be crossed and this book crossed too many lines for me.
I think the prevailing message of the book was also lost. The author tried to show that boy bands caused talented girls to waste their potential following boys who never cared about them. However, this message was delivered by Erin, the most unreliable character in the book who wanted to (metaphorically) kill the boy band. Her reasons (which I’ll cover later) make sense based on her feelings and experiences, but I think it causes the meaning to be lost. As a result, I think this book encourages extreme fan girls and isolates fan girls who know the difference between loving something and idolizing it. I would have been more on board with that story if the author adopted that stance rather than completely condemning fan girls who are the people most likely to purchase this book.
Since the overarching message within this book is blurred, I think it will encourage an unhealthy aspects present in fandoms among young readers of this book who cannot differentiate between healthy and unhealthy ways to express their love for their favorite book, movie, band, or internet celebrity. Although intended as satire, this book suggests that “true fans” send death threats, act possessively, and shames any girl who stands next to their favorite celebrity. Spoiler: In the end, the characters face no consequences for their actions. The validates all of the actions throughout the novel, especially for the fans the author described.
The only aspect I really liked within this book was Erin’s “secret.” Another spoiler: During a prior concert, Erin went backstage to sleep with a member of the band. She expected him to fall in love with her, but he just used her. I think many fan girls share Erin’s expectations and there are definitely celebrities who take advantage of that. I am glad the author raised this issue within the book.
Overall, Kill the Boy Band greatly disappointed on many levels. Maybe huge fans of dark humor and satire will enjoy this book more than me. I found this book so problematic that I couldn’t enjoy it. I rate Kill the Boy Band with one of five stars.