There's fans and then there's Fans. Goldy Moldavsky's novel Kill The Boy Band draws that distinction immediately. Regular fans will download some songs (or maybe an album) by their favorite band or try to catch the new Star Wars (or whatever) movie the first weekend it's in theaters. Maybe the first week. If they can. Fans will preorder tickets (or the next book) weeks or months in advance. Fans will wait for hours, enduring freezing cold or blistering heat, for a glimpse of their favorite celeb. Fans will devote hours to scouring the internet for even a mention of their obsession.
Fans may even resort to kidnapping a member of their favorite band. On the spur of the moment, of course.
This is what happens when Apple, Isobel, Erin, and an unnamed narrator get a room in the same hotel as their idols, The Ruperts, a British boy band whose name is derived from the coincidence that the first name of all the members is (you guessed it) Rupert.
So lets meet the players, shall we?
Apple: Adopted, overweight (a point that is drilled home to the point of overkill), rich, and obsessed with kidnapee Rupert P ("The Ugly One").
Isobel: obsessed with Rupert L. Infamous on Twitter and other social media.
Erin: Goes to school with our Narrator and is obsessed with Rupert X.
Our Narrator: Loves 80s movies and Rupert K...but not necessarily in that order.
Our fangirls, or Strepurs (Ruperts spelled backwards), as they call themselves, are all set to attend the band's Thanksgiving Day show in New York City. They even get a room at the same hotel as the band in hopes of getting a glimpse.
They get more than that.
While en route to get ice, Apple spies Rupert P. in the hall. So she does what any psycho fan would do: She tackles him...and knocks him unconscious. Minutes later, the poor guy is tied up and blindfolded in the girls' hotel room. He may not be the Rupet of choice (except for Apple), but he is a Rupert. Beggars can't be choosers, as they say. Suddenly finding themselves in possession of a member of their favorite band, the girls do what any crazed, psycho fans would do in that situation: They take photos, contemplate cutting pieces of his hair, and invade his pockets and cell phone (and the dirt they dig up!).
Then the unexpected happens: Suddenly Rupert P. is dead. And it's apparent that one of the four girls did it. After all, they're all crazy enough to do something insane...and they all seemingly have their motives.
But who really did it?
I've been hearing mixed things about Kill the Boy Band. Apart from the curious title, I've heard this book is a hilarious work of genius. On the flip side, I've heard the book accused of "fat-shaming" and "slut-shaming" and stereotyping those of alternate lifestyles. Among other things. So, curious about the hype, I read it.
While I can sort of see where fans and critics alike are coming from, I can't say much for either side of the spectrum. I didn't love the book. I didn't hate it. Sure, it had its moments. Mainly, though, I just found the story confusing, convoluted, and taking waaaaay to long to get to the point. I couldn't connect with any of the characters. And the ending was just kind of...meh? Reading Kill the Boy Band was like drinking a diet soda. Sure, it might quench the thirst for a moment, but it's full of empty calories and soon leaves one craving something more nutritious and substantial.
Can't say I'd recommend this one. --AJB