The Mud and Stars Book Blog

thoughts from a girl who spends her days in other worlds…

Book review: ‘Kill the Boy Band’ by Goldy Moldavsky

on July 22, 2016

killtheboyband

Kill the Boy Band. Goldy Moldavksy. Macmillan. May 2016.

Just know from the start that it wasn’t supposed to go like this. All we wanted was to get near them. That’s why we got a room in the hotel where they were staying.

We were not planning to kidnap one of them. Especially not the most useless one. But we had him—his room key, his cell phone, and his secrets.

We were not planning on what happened next.

We swear.


My boyfriend picked this book up whilst we were wandering around Waterstones together, because he saw the word boyband on the cover, and he knows me very well. I am a massive (adult-sized) boyband fangirl, and this book was written about… well, not exactly people like me – people much more extreme than me – but about fangirls nevertheless.

I would describe this story as a black comedy… what happens is pretty twisted, but it’s also very funny… it’s full of awkward things happening at inappropriate moments, slapstick humour, sharp, witty dialogue, and incredibly apt satire.

The story follows four girls who are obsessed with a boyband called The Ruperts. The band is made up of four guys, each called Rupert, who were put together on a British reality TV talent show (much like a certain boyband whose poster I have on my wall, despite the fact that I am 25 and not 13… and now that I’ve told you that, please forget I ever shared it with you!)

For me, Rupert isn’t a very sexy name (soz to anyone named Rupert) because it just reminds me of this guy:

rupert03.jpg.jpeg

So I was basically picturing a group of bears in yellow trousers. This only heightened the comic value of the book!

For me, the funniest aspect of the novel by far was the satirical treatment of the boyband members themselves. From the ugly one, to the painfully stupid one, to the arrogant sexy douche, to the genuine decent guy, all of the boyband stereotypes were mercilessly mocked, and although I love a boyband, I found this hilarious. If The Ruperts had their own reality show, I would totally watch it.

The premise of the novel is that the girls manage to get a room in the hotel where The Ruperts are spending the night… and then, as if that weren’t stalky enough, they manage to kidnap a Rupert and tie him up in their hotel room. Sadly, the Rupert they kidnap is the least sexy member, and the one who can’t even sing. His talent is juggling.

giphy (51)

Source: Giphy

The story unfolds over a single night, and basically follows the girls as they decide what to do next. They don’t all agree on the best course of action…

The main character was the most developed in this novel, and I call her ‘the main character’ here because we don’t ever find out her real name. She continuously gives pseudonyms when somebody asks her name, often taken from 80s movies (her secondary, non-Rupert-related obsession). I found this really interesting, because her lack of name means we never really get a firm sense of her identity – her whole identity is focused around her love for The Ruperts.

Whilst this is satire, I didn’t find it far from the truth. I remember the all-consuming obsessions I had as a teenager. Sometimes fandom really does take over. When you are emotionally vulnerable, and when you find something which gives you a purpose or a reason to be here, it does become *you* for a while. Personally, even now that I have a better understanding of who I am, I still centre a lot of my identity around the things I love (namely books!). I can completely relate to this.

giphy (53)

Source: Giphy

The other characters are less well developed, but I felt they were mainly there as objects of satire. I wasn’t entirely happy with how Apple, the ‘overweight’ one was treated in this novel… I felt that her ‘fatness’ was used a device to make her seem the most crazy of the fangirls; she certainly demonstrated the most crazy behaviour. However, I might be being overly sensitive here. The other two girls, Isabel and Erin were less blatant and more secretive… they both exhibited some shady behaviour, and I was constantly questioning their motivations. Both of these girls seemed to have ulterior motives in every situation.

I found the dynamic between the girls fascinating. Erin is the main character’s best friend from school, then Apple and Isabel are girls they met via the fandom. I felt that the only thing this quartet really had in common was their obsession with The Ruperts, but I found that so interesting because it really demonstrates the power fandom has to connect people. It was interesting to see the cracks in the group start to show once they find themselves in this ridiculous situation, especially as the main character wants to let Rupert go, and feels that her friends have gone too far this time.

I felt that the book in general was an interesting exploration of fandom, and fangirl culture. I noticed some reviews on Goodreads saying this book is offensive to fangirls, but I wasn’t personally offended. There are ‘fangirls’ and then there are ‘extreme next level fangirls’ and I don’t feel that the extreme behaviour in this book is all that far from the truth for some people.

I remember watching a documentary on Channel 4 about Directioners, and there were girls who would literally dedicate their entire day to Tweeting the boys constantly, follow them around, try to get into their hotel rooms… there was even a girl who got braces (despite the fact that she did not need braces) because Niall had braces. I shit you not. And of course there are the girls who send death threats to any girl one of the boys dates, or anyone who says something mean about them…

giphy (52)

Source: Giphy

So yeah, I may own a One Direction cushion (please, forget you ever read this too) but I am not offended by this book… there ARE people who act like this in real life. Yes they may be deeply troubled, but I think the book touched on the psychology of this enough, especially with the main character, to add a sensitive layer beneath the satire.

I think this book recognised how lost these girls were, and the necessity for trying to encourage them that they have things to offer outside of their fandom identity, if only they would try to see it for themselves. The book actually ended up having this awesome feminist vibe, which I wasn’t expecting at all!

If you’re looking for a fun read, which explores the darker side of fandom, and manages to somehow be twisted, poignant, and hilarious at the same time, you should definitely give this one a go!

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22 responses to “Book review: ‘Kill the Boy Band’ by Goldy Moldavsky

  1. Aura Willow says:

    It sounds like a twisted horror movie! 🙈🙈🙈🙈

    • mudandstars says:

      If you described the plot it definitely would be, but the way it’s written is kind of ironic and funny, so it’s not scary, it’s more humorous haha. Such a strange combination but it totally works!

  2. This is such an awesome review! What you say about fandoms connecting people is totally on point – even if you have literally zero in common with someone you can totally bond over a shared love of a particular aspect of pop culture like 1D or Harry Potter. This has been on my TBR for a while but I love black comedy so I’ll defo be picking it up soon! Nice job! 😊 x

  3. I laughed so hard when I saw the photo of Rupert the Bear 😂😂 I loved that so much when I was a kid.

    This book is on my TBR but I was really unsure what to expect from it because on the outside it sounds like a bad wattpad fic, but I’m glad it’s so much more than that because it definitely had potential. The fact that it’s dark and twisted and explore fandom makes me really interested!

    This was such a brilliant review!

    • mudandstars says:

      Haha thanks Lauren, I was also a massive Rupert fan as a child. I wasn’t sure what to expect from it either – it was an unusual mix of genres but it was so good! I wasn’t expecting it to be so good. I agree it definitely sounds like a Wattpad fic haha – there was on scene which I thought sounded like bad fanfiction, but the rest of the story had a lot more going for it. I kind of felt it was like a satire of fanfiction in some ways. I’m worried I’ve oversold it though, it’s not the MOST dark and twisted thing ever, but it explores dark themes and some shady stuff definitely does go down… I hope you enjoy it if you decide to give it a go! I really want to talk about it with someone but haven’t come across anyone else who’s read it yet!

  4. Sounds like it should be on my TBR!

  5. […] Immortal Readers/Lauren @ Wonderless Reviews/Casey @ AdoptaBookAUS/Emma @ TheBookishUnderdog/The Mud and Stars Book Blog/Anna @ Space Cats and Books/Martin @ A Pretty Wonderful […]

  6. Codie says:

    I’m not a fangirl, nor do I enjoy modern-day boy bands (I did like NSYNC and Boyz 2 Men – although they were adults – though) but I have to admit that the fandom I’ve seen is baffling! I’ve seen how serious hardcore fangirls can be and it’s terrifying, but this novel taking those horrorish themes and making it into a black comedy is what makes this interesting. Your review is so great and really makes me want to read it!

    • mudandstars says:

      Ahh I loved NSYNC back in the day too, and Boys 2 Men will always be great 🙂 I’m a big fan of boybands, but not in a scary way haha. I agree that it is indeed baffling and terrifying – some of the behavior I have seen displayed, even just in how people act on Twitter, is just ridiculous! This was definitely an interesting read, and I’d definitely recommend giving it a go! 🙂

  7. Kaavya says:

    I just picked this up at YALC and I can’t wait to read it now that you’ve given such a positive review. I can’t say that I’m a super fan-girl of anything but I have friends who are obsessed! I love your review 🙂

  8. I already wanted to read this book badly since you told me about it on whatsapp, but now IT’S A CASE OF LIFE AND DEATH! I need to read this!! ~says the girl with a giant Edward Cullen poster on her wall~

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