Informative, affectionate, funny, and never, ever fan-shaming, Larger Than Life is the first and only text of its kind: the ultimate celebration of boy bands and proof that this once maligned music can never go unappreciated.
"Maria Sherman has written the brilliant, definitive, hilarious, and long-overdue appreciation of boy-band culture-the realest, truest of pop passions. She chronicles the artists and fans with the respect they deserve. Larger Than Life is a revelation and a joy to read in prose that sparkles like a One Direction hook."
"Maria Sherman's unrivaled knowledge of and passion for those teen dream machines known as boy bands gains depth from her conviction that they really matter, both musically and as cultural catalysts. This shows how a much-dismissed subgenre can be taken seriously while still generating the parkle its subject deserves."
"In Maria Sherman's remarkable Larger Than Life, devoted music fans finally have a critic that honors and reveres fandom for what it really is -- expertise. Larger Than Life is feminist, gleeful, intersectional, funny, nuanced and nerdy -- Sherman is the great understander of boy bands and their fans."
"Maria Sherman’s book debut accomplishes something that was long overdue: a deep dive into the history of the modern boy band. This impressive, illustrated work (that’s laid out like issues of Tiger Beat and J–14) gives proper lessons on boy bands from the Beatles and the Jackson 5 to ‘NSync and BTS. Along with fascinating details on the groups, boys, and archetypes themselves, Larger Than Life also serves as a crucial text on the very nature of fandom itself, giving glory and resonance to the screaming girls who have filled stadiums for decades and made every group in Sherman’s book a phenomenon in their respective times." —Brittany Spanos
"It’s quite likely that Maria Sherman is the first writer who’s ever compared the Backstreet Boys’ Brian Littrell and Nick Carter to Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx, respectively. But as a cultural critic possessing both sharp wit and a true fan’s reverence, Sherman just may be the preeminent scholar of boy bands. With a clever layout that pays tribute to the teen magazines of yesterday, Larger Than Life offers a historical account of the format across history and genre – from Lisztomania to New Edition to One Direction – with humor and heart."
"A definitive guide to the pop phenomenon [of boy bands] through capsule histories of the swooniest groups, in-depth investigations into one-hit wonders, conspiracy theories, dating, in-fighting, haters, fan fiction, fashion and more."
"An overdue analysis of boy bands and the devoted fans who elevate them."
"Here, Maria Sherman pays proper, weighty attention to their complicated history, examining everything from accidental homoeroticism and the internet’s love of ‘shipping’ various band members (imagining their in lurve) to the very first boy bands in the early ’90s."
"Ignore the subtitle. Music critic and self-avowed boy band superfan Maria Sherman doesn’t dare neglect New Edition (and others who came before) in this smart, pithy tome, a candy-bright tour of the world of boy bands. In 200 illustrated pages of snappy prose, Sherman covers a history of the oft-dismissed genre, interpolating loving send-ups of stars’ wackiest outfits (Justin Timberlake’s all-denim getup at the 2001 American Music Awards!) with blurbs on one-hit wonders and glossaries of boy band lingo from the English- and Korean-speaking fanverses.
Sherman’s love for dancing, harmonizing moptops doesn’t lead her to skate over the flaws in a system that turns high schoolers into idols. Many pages are dedicated to the surreal story of blimp mogul turned boy band impresario (and fraudster) Lou Pearlman, and she pinpoints the conservative cultural trends that rocketed the chastity-pledging Jonas Brothers to stardom. But at no point does she bear anything but profound respect for the teens who discover themselves and find community in the fandoms — as it should be."