by Britta Lundin
Published on May 1, 2018 by Freeform
Genres: Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Young Adult
CLAIRE is a sixteen-year-old fangirl obsessed with the show Demon Heart. FOREST is an actor on Demon Heart who dreams of bigger roles. When the two meet at a local Comic-Con panel, it's a dream come true for Claire. Until the Q&A, that is, when Forest laughs off Claire's assertion that his character is gay. Claire is devastated. After all, every last word of her super-popular fanfic revolves around the romance between Forest's character and his male frenemy. She can't believe her hero turned out to be a closed-minded jerk. Forest is mostly confused that anyone would think his character is gay. Because he's not. Definitely not.
Unfortunately for Demon Heart, when the video of the disastrous Q&A goes viral, the producers have a PR nightmare on their hands. In order to help bolster their image within the LGBTQ+ community-as well as with their fans-they hire Claire to join the cast for the rest of their publicity tour. What ensues is a series of colorful Comic-Con clashes between the fans and the show that lead Forest to question his assumptions about sexuality and help Claire come out of her shell. But how far will Claire go to make her ship canon? To what lengths will Forest go to stop her and protect his career? And will Claire ever get the guts to make a move on Tess, the very cute, extremely cool fanartist she keeps running into? Ship It is a funny, tender, and honest look at all the feels that come with being a fan.
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I was so excited about Ship It. Fandoms in the modern day hold such a big part of my life now, and did even as a teen. But this book just. . . honestly it pissed me off a bit.
When I was younger, I didn’t have a word for what I did while reading but “shipping” came around and suddenly everything made sense. So I jumped at the chance to read a book all about fandoms and fangirling and everything I could possibly want. Yet, instead, I found myself reading a very twisted side of that world.
Claire, one of the two protagonists, writes fanfiction for her favorite show Demon Heart (which gave me way too many Supernatural vibes. . . ) to see her m/m ship brought to life. Cool. I can get behind fanfiction and all that jazz. And to further the fangirling, she even has the chance to be a part of the show.
But I just flat-out didn’t like Claire.
No, not every character needs to be likable, but I need to be interested in their story, I needed that buy-in. Claire was a mess, though. The things she did in the name of shipping and fangirling was, well, way off base and wrong. I wouldn’t want to show this to a reader and say “here’s a great book about fandoms” (for that I’ll recommend Geekerella by Ashley Poston).
So Claire’s down for the count in my books but there’s Forest, the other PoV character. Who’s a jerk. And pretty obnoxious. But don’t worry, he realizes everything he does eventually (i.e. when you finish the book). Much like Claire, he wasn’t likable for me to the point that I didn’t want to read his scenes any more than hers.
All of this sucks to say because this book had the potential to be amazing, challenge the homophobia that jumps off the page from the start, offer a f/f ship for readers, and give fangirling a good name.
But I wouldn’t recommend this f/f ship (between Claire and her love interest, Tess). There’s some pretty toxic scenes between these two which turned the whole relationship from LOVE THIS to WTF for me.
Everything about Ship It was a trash fire and I didn’t feel like it really represented fandoms or the sexuality diversity it tried to bring to the forefront but failed at. There’s also the part of me where contemporaries are hit-or-miss and this one was so far over the line that I don’t see any redemption in the future.
In short, I wouldn’t recommend this book for the shipping, for the diversity rep, for the story, the characters, or anything in between. The only thing I enjoyed was that it certainly captured the extreme side of certain fandoms, and I could connect to Claire about being in fandoms and doing well in school in a small farming community. Fun times. But it’s not enough to make me recommend this book.