*I was sent an arc of The Boyband Murder Mystery in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Penguin Random House Children’s UK and Ava Eldred.*
“’I have long believed that loving a boyband brings with it a wealth of transferable skills, but I’d never imagined solving a murder would be one of them…’
Harri and her best friends worship Half Light – an internationally famous boyband.
When frontman Frankie is arrested on suspicion of murdering his oldest friend Evan, Harri feels like her world’s about to fall apart.
But quickly she realises that she – and all the other Half Light superfans out there – know and understand much more about these boys than any detective ever could.
Now she’s rallying a fangirl army to prove Frankie’s innocence – and to show the world that you should never underestimate a teenage girl with a passion…”
This was super fun and a pretty quick read. You jump into the mystery very early on and it manages to keep you interested throughout the entire book.
One element that I didn’t enjoy so much was the ‘how we met’ which took me longer than I would like to admit was little snippets of a fanfiction/one-shot. I feel like these did take away from the intensity as they broke up sections of the chapters. However, the inclusion of them did play massively to the fan culture side of this story.
As someone who used to be a part of a fandom just like this one, I found this book quite nostalgic, well other than the whole murder mystery part. It really shows fan culture in a good light and I’m glad that it didn’t at any point cross the line into ‘crazed fan-girl territory.
Although some moments can be seen a little like this, for example sneaking into a press conference and having other fans wait outside the band’s house. I do think it still shows a very mature side of fandom.
I absolutely love that part of this book is set in Brighton, as I live there myself, however, the only time spent there is in uni halls so that was disappointing. Including well-known parts of Brighton such as The Lanes and The Pavillion would have been incredible. Obviously, this did not take away from the story and would not have added anything to it, but it would have been a nice element if it was included.
The characters were really strong and portrayed different types of fans very well. I loved the dynamic between Harri and Jas and it really made me nostalgic for old fandom friendships.
Showing the international friendship side of fandom was a joy to read. Having Jas’ parents meet Harri for the first time and Jas telling them she’s a friend from uni because they don’t understand that people online are real friends was extremely relatable. I’m sure a lot of people reading this will agree with this.
Having this huge army of girls from all over the world working together to solve a murder case honestly didn’t seem completely over the top even though it probably should. A huge part of being in a fandom is having friends from all over the world and let’s be honest I wouldn’t put it past boyband fandoms to try and go as far as solving a murder case.
There is a romance sub-plot throughout this book and even though I really appreciated that Stefan was not scared by the whole “We’re going to prove the innocence of a world-famous pop star”, I do think his character was mostly pointless. Although he did in a way show Harri that she doesn’t really ‘love’ the boys in Half Light and this helped her to come to the conclusion that she won’t end up with one of them and that’s ok.
I do think he could have maybe played a bigger role in helping them solve the case and then I wouldn’t have minded him being there so much. But romance was not the main element of this book so honestly, it doesn’t really matter.
Overall I really do think this is a great realistic look at fan culture in the modern-day. I loved seeing how a band can connect so many people from all over the world and being able to relate this to my teenaged years obsessing over a band.
The Boyband Murder Mystery is a love letter to those who may be in a fandom now or those who are looking back on their fandom days. Everyone will find a character they can relate to and the mystery side of the story keeps the book entertaining throughout.
The Boyband Murder Mystery is available on May 27th in physical and e-book formats.
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