Title: Ship It
Author: Britta Lundin
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, LGBTQA+
Page Count: 384
Release Date: May 1, 2018
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?
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way effects my overall rating of this book.
Before I start this review I would like to thank NetGalley, the publishers, the author, whoever made it possible for me to read this book because my wish was granted and I never thought that would happen to me. I felt honored to get the chance to read this ARC.
From the moment I saw the title of this book, I knew that this book would resonate with me. I am a fangirl through and through. I fangirl over many things including books, movies, TV shows, etc. I ship and I feel the feels. I have written fan-fiction (don’t even ask) and I have read my fair share of fan-fiction.
That being said, I was really excited going into this book. Our protagonist Claire is a fangirl of the TV show, Demon Heart. Demon Heart is a low budget show on a low budget network suffering from a low view number, but with a powerful fandom.
I found a lot of similarities between Demon Heart and Supernatural. Both shows revolve around demon hunting and the main ship the fans ship is between a demon hunter and his on-again-off-again demon pal. Dean/Castiel vibes were strong here.
This ship that Claire ships is called SmokeHeart and it’s her entire life. It’s taken over everything. She has a Tumblr blog dedicated to not just the show, but the ship itself, she has written multiple fanfictions about them, and has bought every poster the show has ever released to be sold.
Claire decides to go to a convention held in the city near the small town she lives in after hearing that the cast of the show is going to be there. When she asks a question about the ship becoming ‘canon’ the lead actor of the show laughs and calls her crazy. Suddenly, her entire world is turned upside down and she starts to question the show, it’s writers, the actors, and even the characters themselves.
I want to take this time to talk about Claire. I didn’t like her. There, I said it. She was relatable, of course, since we’re both fangirls but she was also 1) very entitled and privileged and 2) blinded by her own opinions to listen to everyone else’s. She grew by the end of the book and learned from her mistakes, which is an important part of the book, but I still can’t stand behind the way she dealt with conflicts when they were thrown her way.
Throughout the book, Claire is constantly trying to convince the creators of the TV show to make her ship canon and this is what I found to be the most annoying part of her as a character. I get why she was doing it, so that there could be gay/bi rep in a TV show where the main leads are the embodiment of masculinity. Making them gay or bisexual is something that I personally would want as well (why I myself shipped Dean and Cas in Supernatural for the longest time) and I think is an important thing to have in the media in order to break stereotypes that plague the gay/bi community.
Claire was so convinced that her ship was real and in the stage of denial the entire novel. She wanted what happened in fanfictions to be part of the show, something that I think should not happen, for the most part. Everyone was telling her that it wouldn’t ever happen in the show, yet she was hell-bent on her ship going canon (become real).
I did appreciate the f/f relationship that bloomed between Claire and a fellow Demon Heart fan she met at the convention. I think their relationship was done well, even though it did feel a bit rushed and Claire was in complete denial over being gay. It was annoying, and I understand that she was confused on her identity but she lashed out on the girl she obviously liked because the girl she liked was confident in her identity but she still wasn’t sure about her’s.
I also didn’t like Forest, the actor that played Smokey, the lead in Demon Heart. I liked having a perspective from his viewpoint because I felt like it added some extra depth to his character and the story overall, but he sounded like a teenager. The author shouldn’t have tried to tackle two POVs because their voices didn’t sound much different when I read them.
Throughout the book Claire teaches Forest about fandoms and slash shipping (m/m, f/f if you weren’t aware). She educates him on why LGBTQA+, racial, and gender representation in TV shows like Demon Heart matters. I liked how Forest seemed genuinely interested in being educated on the topic when he was so closed off about the idea of his character being gay at the beginning.
The only three characters I genuinely liked in this book was Rico (the actor that plays Heart in Demon Heart), Claire’s mom, and the social media marketer for the show (forgot her name). Tess was unnecessarily annoying like Claire, and Forest kept on making me hate him after I kept thinking he was getting better as a character until the very end.
The plot was interesting enough, although unrealistic and the stakes never felt too high because it felt like everything was going to end up fine at the end. I was pulled into the book from the beginning and it kept my attention until the end, so that’s a big plus because my eyes were glued to the book.
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
Wow I had a lot to say on this. Overall, I thought that the premise of this book was really cool and I liked how the author was able to incorporate the issues of queerbaiting and fandom shipping into a book that is ultimately a story about a girl coming to terms with her sexuality. I had my issues with the characters, but aside from that this was a quick fun read I would recommend to all of the fangirls (and boys) out there.
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Are you a fangirl? What do you fangirl over the most? Who is your OTP? Have you read this book or are you planning on reading it? Let me know!