NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Thursday, March 3, 2016, 4:08 PM
Boy bands: you either love ‘em or you hate ‘em. But no matter which camp you’re in, “Kill the Boy Band” is a hysterical and genre-defying read about fangirls going too far.
In this YA black comedy with a twist of suspense, four teen girls hatch a plot to meet The Ruperts, the British boy band that they absolutely live for.
Their plan goes alarmingly awry when one of the band members ends up passed out and tied up in the girls’ hotel room. They’ve accidentally kidnapped a pop star, and he happens to be the ugly, useless one, at that. And then, as they scramble to figure out what do with him, things take a deadly turn.
Goldy Moldavsky’s debut is a brilliantly nuanced takedown of celebrity worship and fangirl culture. It’s dark, funny and relatable. Even if you were never a teen fangirl (are you telling me you never hung a celebrity poster above your bed and kissed it?), you’ve known one. She has a firm grasp on the world of modern boy band fandom: These girls live most of their lives via Twitter, Tumblr, fanfiction and gifs.
The teenspeak is smart, up to date and hysterically spot-on. Like this piece of dialogue as the girls’ drama mounts: “I am so done. I cannot. I have lost the ability to can. I am consciously f—–g uncoupling myself from this situation.”
Moldavsky also sneaks in a ton of apt pop culture jokes. Have fun spotting all the ‘80s movie references: The Ruperts, for one, are thus called because all four members are named Rupert. It’s a sly nod to the film “Heathers,” in which Winona Ryder and Christian Slater’s characters enact revenge on a group of popular girls, all named Heather.
Like a proper crime story, “Kill the Boy Band” is also full of suspense. How are the girls going to get out of this situation unscathed? And is there a murderer among them?
These girls live most of their lives via Twitter, Tumblr, fanfiction and gifs.
These mysteries keep us on the edge of our seats. At first, everything seems like a crazy accident, but each of the girls could have a motive for wanting to bring the boy band down. Our narrator, one of the four fangirls, appears to be the innocent and reasonable one of the crew. But then, it’s possible we can’t trust her either.
Moldavsky raises thought-provoking questions about celebrity culture, and she doesn’t come firmly down on either side. As our narrator frequently ponders, what’s so wrong with teen girls being passionate about something?
But when they spend every waking moment obsessing over these boys they’ve never met, literally believing they could get the chance to date them, it starts to get a little unhealthy. And it’s a strange symbiotic relationship, as the fangirls feel they’d have nothing to live for without the objects of their affection, and the boy band would be nowhere without their customers. The fans have the power to make or break them. (In this case, perhaps a bit too literally.)
“Kill the Boy Band” is a fiercely entertaining, gripping and astute debut. It may be early, but it might end up being one of the smartest YA releases of the year, and I look forward to whatever Moldavsky writes next.
“Kill the Boy Band” is out now from Scholastic Point.