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Ship It

Review

Ship It

SHIP IT is the story of two people who are both involved in fandom but in different ways. Forest Reed is the actor of Smokey on the show “Demon Heart,” and Claire Strupke is the fanfiction writer of slash SmokeHeart (Smokey and Heart). The two of them might never have met if Claire had not asked a damming question at a Boise comic convention: "Are Smokey and Heart in love with each other?" And Forest explodes.

To save “Demon Heart” from failing due to angry fangirls, the PR team gets Claire to join the cast on the remaining two convention tour stops to help assuage the tension. Claire has her own plans, though. She wants SmokeHeart to be real. But her plans go awry when she meets the quirky fan artist Tess who is very cute. And Forest, he is now questioning everything he thought was right in the world. And wondering why is co-star Rico is looking hotter than usual.

"I have read a surprising amount of books about nerds and comic cons. To be honest, SHIP IT might be my favorite. It is a genuinely fun book."

I have read a surprising amount of books about nerds and comic cons. To be honest, SHIP IT might be my favorite. It is a genuinely fun book. It takes an interesting premise (one any fan would die to have) and makes it a part of the story. It is quite a romp. Some of the scenes are unbelievable (say Claire confronting Jamie the showrunner in the conference room). But there is a lot of believability in this book.

The book shows a darker side to TV. It is something I have seen before in shows such as “UnREAL” but never truly questioned until I read SHIP IT. Jamie's rant in the conference room is dark and, admittedly, depressing. It made me think about what I see on the screen and how the product is not always the idea.

Both Claire and Forest's character developments are great. The two of them question what it means to be queer in a heteronormative world and how representation can be seen, or not seen in this case, in TV. The two have great banter (both between themselves and with other characters). They learn more about themselves and how their feelings work. The ending gives them both emotional payoff in various forms.

The book often mentions Rico and Forest's easy rapport, but I would like to counter with Claire and Forest's relationship. Things might not always be swell between the two of them, but they do grow and develop together.

Even the side characters such as Caty are great. They are so full of personality that they leap off the page. They are quirky but also real. They have human conversations and their own vices (be it fics or something else).

SHIP IT demonstrates the human side of fandom. It is not always about shipping wars or anger or hatred. It is also about fun and respect and the mutual love of shows or books or movies or anything under the sun.

As much as I like this book, I felt like Claire and Forest's thoughts were kind of annoying at times. I felt frustrated with how their stories developed. I wanted more about Forest learning about fandom and how it affects him. I wanted more about Claire learning about what it means to be queer.

I downright hated Jamie, as I am supposed to. The man is slimy, to say the least. He constantly avoids the problem, running away from reality. If this book had a sequel, I would hope for his show to be crushed in a way that spared Rico. He represents an old idea of what it means to be human.

What I hated worse is that he knew what he was doing, but he did it anyway. He pretended something existed to lure in fans. It is sickening, and I hope not many showrunners are like him.

This book is for all nerdy book lovers who want a fun read that creates wonderful characters and amazing relationships.

Reviewed by Wren L., Teen Board Member on May 29, 2018

Ship It
by Britta Lundin