Hey friends! Today I’m coming at you with a review of “Lord of the Fly Fest” by Goldy Moldavsky, which is out today (8/30/22)!
A digital ARC of “Lord of the Fly Fest” was provided to me by Fierce Reads via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Read on to check out the official synopsis of the book, my review, and a bit about the author!
One of Us Is Lying meets Lord of the Flies meets Fyre Fest in this wickedly addictive and funny YA thriller.
Rafi Francisco needs something really special to put her true crime podcast on the map. She sets her sights on River Stone, the hearthrob musician who rose to stardom after the mysterious disappearance of his girlfriend. Rafi lands herself a ticket to the exclusive Fly Fest, where River will be the headliner.
But when Rafi arrives on the Caribbean island location of Fly Fest with hundreds of other influencers and (very minor) celebrities, they quickly discover that the dream trip is more of a nightmare. And it’s not just confronting beauty gurus-gone-wild and spotty WiFi. Soon, Rafi goes from fighting for an interview to fighting for her life. And, as she gets closer to River, she discovers that he might be hiding even darker secrets than she suspected . . .
My feelings towards “Lord of the Fly Fest” are very lukewarm, let’s get that established right off the bat. Didn’t love it, didn’t hate it. There were parts that I enjoyed, and parts that just kind of made me shrug my shoulders in indifference. I wasn’t necessarily disappointed in this book, but I’m not really singing its praises.
I already know that something a lot of people will struggle with and point out in their reviews having disliked will be the use of modern slang, language, and pop culture references. This was not at all an issue for me because I knew going into the book that it was a satire. Once I read the synopsis and realized Fly Fest was one big metaphor for Fyre Festival, I expected over the top characters and a commentary about influencer culture and nonstop jokes about this really bizarre moment from history. I thought it was actually pretty funny of Goldy to mix that with the classic “Lord of the Flies.”
I do feel there has to be more than some base familiarity with Fyre Festival in order to pick up all the little jokes and references to it. After I finished the book, I did some Googling about Fyre as a refresher and definitely found some more enjoyment from “Lord of the Fly Fest” in retrospect. For example, I didn’t realize the food given at the real life Fyre Fest was literally cheese sandwiches, just like in our fictional Fly Fest (though in the book they aren’t simply cheese sandwiches).
I’m very familiar with Goldy Moldavsky and the humor that she infuses in her horror/thriller/mystery books (I loved “Kill The Boy Band” and “The Mary Shelley Club”), and I really do enjoy how she does that . I think that was something that worked really well within “Lord of the Fly Fest.”
My biggest gripe with this book was it changed directions a few too many times. Someone was a killer one moment, then the next they weren’t, then they were again, then they weren’t, and so on. While I understand that’s just what Rafi was going through as an investigative podcaster, it got to be a bit much from a reader’s point of view.
The attention to looks and who is and isn’t pretty/attractive was also something that was a bit overkill. Yes, the story is about influencers whose focus is their image from the point of view of someone who has the complete opposite experience, but I feel like every chapter, our narrator Rafi was comparing her attractiveness to everyone else, or going on and on about how pretty the influencers were. There’s a fine line between repetitiveness for the sake of satire and repetitiveness that turns off a reader. It happened enough that I’m here mentioning it in my review as something I wasn’t a fan of. It could have definitely been dialed back.
Overall though, I did like “Lord of the Fly Fest.” The premise is brilliant, a lot of the references are funny, I didn’t get too much of the horror/thriller aspect that I love in Goldy’s books, but I definitely got the shock and humor.
★★★☆☆ (3/5 stars)
About The Author
Goldy Moldavsky was born in Lima, Peru, and grew up in Brooklyn, where she still lives. Her novels include the New York Times bestseller, KILL THE BOY BAND, NO GOOD DEED, and the upcoming THE MARY SHELLEY CLUB (Henry Holt Books, 2021); her love of 80s movies, 90s boy bands, and horror flicks hugely influences her work. She can be found on Twitter and Instagram @goldywrites.
She is represented by Jenny Bent at the Bent Agency.