Lord of the Fly Fest by Goldy Moldavsky

I was so excited to have received another box from one of my favorite bookish subscription services, Once Upon a Book Club! This time I received the Young Adult box for the month of September, with the clue “True Crime in Paradise!”

Take a look below for information on the book and gifts that I received in this box, my review of the book, and more – but keep in mind that there will be spoilers on the gifts!

Thanks so much to the folks over at Once Upon a Book Club for gifting me with this box! Check them out for yourself, and use my code TACKLINGTBR at check out for a discount!

About the Box

The True Crime in Paradise box was Once Upon a Book Club’s young adult box for September 2022! Each box contained a copy of the book and four wrapped gifts to tie into the book – bringing the book and reading experience to life!

Page 53

“As Rafi pulled back the muslin sarong that made up the doorway of her makeshift tent, she looked out at the sea view and breathed in the delicious saltwater air.”

A tropical sarong made of chiffon.

Page 140

“His eyes, both dark pools sparkling with the reflection of the campfire, locked onto Rafi, and she couldn’t help but drown in them.”

A small, stone tabletop fire pit.

Page 220

“Rafi turned around to see him but was instantly blinded by his flashlight beam.”

A small, gold flashlight with “One More Chapter” on the side with a USB charger.

Page 268

“Jack’s hand, poking high out of the center of the gang, gripped a nail file like a butcher knife, and it came down in a forceful, terrifying swish.”

A glass nail file with “There is beauty in everything” written on the top.

About the Book

Published by: Henry Holt and Co.

Publication Date: August 30, 2022

Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Thriller, Mystery, Retelling

Page Count: 320 pages

Description from Goodreads:

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 . . .

Review (3 stars):

Thanks so much to the author and the folks at Once Upon a Book Club for the gifted copy of this book, as a part of their September 2022 YA box that I received in exchange for my honest thoughts and sharing on my social media. { partner } All opinions are entirely my own. All of my reviews can also be found on Instagram @Tackling_TBR and on my blog at tacklingtbr.home.blog

TW: discussion/suspicion of murder

I absolutely LOVED The Mary Shelley Club, so when I saw that the author’s newest book was a young adult satire of the hot mess that was Fyre Fest, I was pretty excited to jump into it! I watched those Fyre Fest documentaries and found them a bit amusing just like everyone else, so I figured this book would be right up my alley.

I will say, though, I think that this book just narrowly missed the mark for me. I enjoyed it well enough, but I definitely didn’t love it like I was expecting to, or devour it in one or two sittings because I just couldn’t put it down. I think that after finishing and putting it down, I just felt a bit..mehh? Like I just didn’t have any strong feelings towards it one way or another.

And while this is very obviously satirical, I will warn folks going in that some moments are a bit more on the nose than I may have liked, and might make you roll your eyes a bit.

For example, the rock star’s girlfriend, the hottest super model working right now, is named Hella Badid. No really. Hella. Badid. I rolled my eyes a bit when they first said it, but I chuckled thinking that it was just going to be a one-off joke. After all, she’s not stuck on this island with everyone else, so I figured it was a one and done. And then a few chapters later she became a really major plot point and everyone on the entire island was talking about her. So I had to read the name HELLA BADID so. many. times. So, you know, keep that in mind going in.

Also I think that the plot was a really interesting idea, but could have come together a bit more in execution. It ended up being a whole lot about “they’re pretty and I’m not and that is the conflict on the island” rather than the trapped on an island murder mystery that the cover and synopsis would suggest. It just felt a bit messy, and like I got a different book and story than I think I went into it expecting.

Overall, while I would recommend this book, I would maybe recommend The Mary Shelley Club over it. If the cover and description for this one sucked you in like it did to me, you’ll get the YA murder mystery vibe you may be looking for more from the other. But all of that being said, it was still an enjoyable enough read, and I wouldn’t discourage folks from reading it either. Just know what it is you’re jumping head first into, and maybe make yourself a tropical cocktail to go along with it.

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.

For more information, visit https://goldymoldavsky.com/

Link to Purchase the Book:

Learn more about Once Upon a Book Club, or order your next read, here!


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