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Ship It

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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.

384 pages, Hardcover

First published May 1, 2018

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About the author

Britta Lundin

4 books219 followers
Britta Lundin is a TV writer and author.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,039 reviews
Profile Image for Madison.
650 reviews361 followers
March 10, 2018
* I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

It’s truly astounding to me that dozens of people read this book before it got to this final form--agents, editors, trusted friends and loved ones--and presumably not one person thought to compassionately but firmly say, “yeah, no, this probably shouldn’t be published.”

(Naturally, this review is full of spoilers, and no, I won’t tag them. I will, however, tell you that in this review I do mention homophobia and physical abuse.)

Before I get too fully into it, I feel like I have to state this for the record that I was very much enmeshed in fandom throughout much of my life, so yes, I “get it,” and yes, Britta Lundin “gets it.” Shipping (a term I’ve come to revile thanks to this book) is usually a perfectly harmless, common, and creative way to engage with content, and I don’t take issue with the practice.

Cool! Let’s get started!

Claire, our protagonist, is a junior in high school and a superfan of Demon Heart, a TV show with essentially the same exact plot as my favorite One Direction/Supernatural fanfiction. We know that she's a superfan because we first meet her writing smutty fanfiction about the two main characters, a demon hunter named Smokey and his sworn enemy, a demon named Heart, in the school library. During this scene we also know that she’s misunderstood by her peers, because a Mean Jock and his Airheaded Lady Friend come over to mock her. She #owns them with fandom knowledge, and they leave chastened. We are further convinced of her social isolation when we learn that her sole friend is the Weird Bible Kid on the Bus, the long-suffering comrade of every socially inept teen in every piece of media since the advent of Christianity.

All of this is bad, but it isn’t Bad; I am willing to overlook the idea that in 2018, the year of our lord Steve Rogers, there is just one girl in this high school interested in fandom, and that everyone else loves Carhartt and tight ponytails (yes, this is the specific information we’re given). I’ll take Lundin at her word when she says that Claire is the only Tumblr user within town lines, even though YA books about fandom are currently one of the best-selling and fastest-growing subgenres in popular literature. I will even overlook the fact that when I was in high school a decade ago, Supernatural merchandise was the best-selling thing in Hot Topic, and the Sherlock fans were the loudest table in the school cafeteria. We must leave all of this anecdotal evidence and common sense behind us in order to forge ahead.


Some historical context for those of you who haven’t lost precious years of your life to the tar pits of the Internet: in 2013, Supernatural was one of the most powerful and vocal fan communities online and at conventions, and this was driven in part by folks who saw the chemistry between demon hunter Dean Winchester and an angel named Castiel. At New Jerseycon that year, a teenage girl asked Jensen Ackles, the actor who plays Dean, a question about the homoerotic subtext in Supernatural, which he brushed off, admonishing her not to “ruin it for everyone” and asking to move on. The girl left crying, and it sparked a great deal of conversation about Jensen’s personal feelings about gay people, the place of ships at Q&As, and the validity of accusations about queerbaiting. You can read more about this, from a perspective that’s clearly sympathetic to the fandom, here.

If you read the article, you’ll probably notice that Lundin lifted this situation almost word-for-word. After Claire asks a question about her ship, the lead actor brushes her off, and she leaves crying. The difference between the real-life interaction and the fictional one is that the Demon Heart publicity team inexplicably decides to invite Claire to travel with them as a form of damage control. It comes to light at this point that Claire is famous in her own right, someone that the show’s social media manager, Caty, hilariously describes as a “digital influencer” and a “tastemaker in the fandom.” That means that she writes a lot of popular fanfiction.

If I were to describe every logistical concern I have about this premise, we’d be here all day. I don’t have a moral issue with Lundin writing this book as a way to exorcise her frustration about intra-fandom drama. It reads very much like an attempt to have some belated control over a 5-year-old crisis: here, a teen stands up to a Jensen clone on a panel for a show that is barely even different from Supernatural, and actually makes a difference. I can understand the impulse to write this story. Is it embarrassing? Oh, totally. But that’s to me personally. It wouldn’t necessarily warrant a one-star review.

There’s a great deal of lead-up to the point when Claire becomes a member of the Demon Heart entourage, but none of it is that important. I honestly don’t have the brainpower or patience to break down the idea that a publicity team would invite a belligerent and immature superfan to travel with the showrunners and actors to three separate conventions. That is, indeed, what happens. Claire is determined to use this opportunity to convince Jamie, creator and, apparently, the show’s single decision-maker, that Smokey and Heart should fall in love so that her ship can become canon.

Another thing that happens around this time is that Claire meets Tess, a fellow Demon Heart superfan. Tess, we learn, is traveling by car to the same conventions Claire will be attending, and she is doing so alone because none of her friends know about her interest in Demon Heart, and she would surely be shunned if they found out. I just need you to know that this is one of the VERY first things Claire learns about Tess, because it becomes important later.

Claire is attracted to Tess, but she reminds herself that her only goal on this tour is to convince Jamie to make her ship canon. From the outset, Tess is positioned as an obstacle to this goal--she thinks that having fanfiction about Smokey and Heart is enough, but Claire wants more. Their second-ever conversation is a bitter argument about this difference in opinion, and then they’re all off to Convention #2. Yes, this is the romance everyone mentions in the other reviews. Cute, right?

As she travels with the cast, Claire becomes closer with Forest Reed, the actor she antagonized at the Q&A. He asks for information about fandom, and wants to see her fics. It’s clear he’s working through some stuff of his own, and he admits to Claire that his father was a virulent homophobe. This is another piece of information to hold onto for later.

Claire is constantly bothered by Jamie and the rest of the Demon Heart team assuming that she’s not straight, because she thinks the assumption cheapens her logical argument for why SmokeHeart should be canon. Claire draws a distinction between merely wishing for a gay relationship on a show and knowing that the actors are, to use Lundin’s phrasing, “playing it gay.” She distances herself from other shippers because she sees her mission to be one of truth, not of wish fulfillment. This is a perspective I have never once witnessed myself in fandom, but it seems important to Claire, so we’ll let it be for now.

During the first night of the second convention, Claire goes on a date with Tess, and they end up making out in her hotel room afterward. The next morning, Forest and Tess get into a conversation about Tess’s identity (homoromantic pansexual) and, look, a lot of this book is very silly, but this is where it takes a gross turn: because Claire is embarrassed by Forest knowing that she and Tess are seeing each other, Claire sneers at Tess and tells her to stop trying to impress Forest. Tess is described as being humiliated by this, but somehow, when they discuss it later, Tess ends up being the one who apologizes to Claire.

This is also the point at which Claire begins writing fanfic about Forest and his co-star, Rico. She reasons that it’s because she wants to create an environment within her mind where Forest is “vulnerable” and “real.” This is, coincidentally, the point at which I realized I might be reading a truly bad book.

Things come to a head at the final convention stop. Claire conspires with Caty, who I now understand to be a truly unhinged social media manager, to hijack Jamie’s Twitter and...tweet nice things about SmokeHeart fans until he agrees to make it canon. At this point the book feels so off the rails that I’m expecting it to turn suddenly into a Kill the Boy Band -style cautionary tale about the dangers of overzealous fans. But Jamie just storms out, and Claire idly wonders if she might have been a little off base.

Another thing that happens now is that Tess and Claire go out for sushi and, of course, they run into Tess’s friends. As they all chat awkwardly, Claire decides it’s time for Tess to come clean about her interest in Demon Heart. So she tells all her friends, right there at dinner/

At this point, I was ready for a hamfisted moral lesson about how Claire is the real Mean Girl of the story. That never comes. After Claire tells all of Tess’s friends that she’s secretly into this TV show, she leaves. Later, in retaliation, Tess tells Claire’s mom that she’s gay. Cool relationship! After that, they don’t talk for two months. They get back together in the end for reasons I cannot possibly begin to fathom. The fact that every other review of this book describes this as a “cute romance” is so far beyond me I might never recover.

Finally, the worst part.

I mentioned earlier that Claire has been writing fanfiction about Forest and Rico. Forest overhears some girls talking about a fic of Claire’s they read that involves Forest, so he goes hunting for it. He finds a fic that describes a sexual encounter between himself and Rico in vivid detail. That’s horrifying enough, but he discovers that Claire took the information he’d shared with her about his homophobic father and extrapolated. In her (published, public) fic, Forest shows Rico a bunch of scars on his back from his father’s abuse. Later, when Forest confronts Claire about how he feels violated, her response is, and I swear to God this is written on the page: “they’re just dicks, you dick!”

If you’re wondering if Claire ever faces a single consequence for her disgusting and willful cruelty, the answer is no. You will read this book waiting for Claire to become a better person, or for someone, anyone, to realize that she’s an abusive bully. None of that ever happens. Lundin clearly attempts to paint Claire as a person worthy of our sympathy.

At this point, Claire leaves the tour early, but they all meet up a few months later at San Diego Comic Con and have a neat little resolution. Claire defensively apologizes, and Forest realizes how much he’s missed her. Cool. He even steals what she wrote in her pornographic fanfiction to confess his affection for Rico, though for some reason at this point he’s dating that social media manager who gave Claire Jamie’s Twitter password and yet somehow still has a job. Claire is allowed to moderate a Demon Heart panel, and, when asked by a ten-year-old for some advice about writing fanfiction, Claire goes on a long rant about something completely unrelated before coming out as queer to the audience, and let me just say that if I were that ten-year-old I would be totally pissed.

Listen, I can clearly go on forever about how angry I am, but I’m going to stop here. I need this to be over. I’ve spent the last few days constantly thinking and talking about this book, and while I know saying that makes it sound buzzy and interesting, it’s actually just kind of gross and sad. Someone should’ve sat down with Britta Lundin and explained that her book is not good, and it’s not going to be able to stand on its own among the many other very similar books coming out right now. If they were really feeling it, they might have also told her that being a fan of a television show in 2018 is not really grounds for persecution. If someone had taken on that uncomfortable role, we all might have avoided this. It would have been a real mercy.
May 10, 2018
I shade my eyes and look out and see…girls. Women. Moms, daughters, friends. All screaming.

“Fangirls,” I whisper to Rico

Lawd. This book is like Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl but worse (if that's even possible). Y'all know how much I love that book. Holy shit this was bad.

This book is dumb. I know I use that ever-so-eloquent word for many book reviews, but what can I say? It's simple. It's concise. It is (in my ever-so-humble-opinion) accurate. Again, warning, much cursing ahead.

This book gives fangirls a bad name.

Don't get me wrong. Fanfiction is fine and great as a tool for escapism and when you just want more of your ships. Some ships sink before they ever had a chance to sail *sniff* and fanfiction allows some sense of release. I used to read them in my teens. I was really, really dumb and immature as a teenager. I didn't think I was, but holy shit was I stupid. But even I had the good sense to realize that fanfiction is just that, yanno? Shit ain't true. Don't take it so seriously.

Fuck, I accidentally read a story about Harry dying and Hermione like magically making his penis erect so she could conceive a child. I clicked the page shut in horror, and thought no more about it.

The point is. IT'S NOT REAL, PEOPLE. Fanfiction isn't real. And you shouldn't get fucking angry when you realize it's not real.

Having said that, the main character in this book is fucking stupid.

It's about this girl named Claire who writes gay fanfic for this rip-off of Supernatural (WINCEST! WHOO! Just kidding). In this book, that rip-off is a show called Demon Heart and its version of Sam and Dean is Heart and Smokey.

Heart and Smokey? Really? Come on.

So anyway, there's a Demon Heart convention and Claire gets a chance to ask Forest (the actor who plays Smokey) whether he's gay for his co-star.
“Are they in love with each other?”

Dead silence.

I continue, “I think they are. So I guess my question is, are they going to realize they’re in love with each other by the end of this season…and kiss?”
And when the Forest shoots that down...
I don’t stop running until I make it to my hotel room. The tears start welling as soon as I close the door. Mom isn’t there, so I drop my bag on her bed and crawl into mine and let myself sob in private.

Facepalming so hard right now. Forest describes Claire at one point as "unhinged, and I have to say I agree.

Claire is annoying. She is a fucking bitch. She is painfully determined, selfish, with a martyred holier-than-thou attitude and a hypocritical asshole. She is so irritatingly teenager. The other characters in the book are clichéd characters in every teen 80s movie you've ever watched. The fan convention is a caricature who portrays fangirls to be a bunch of losers (ok, granted, I've been to my fair share of conventions and those people exist, but not all of us are like that). Claire is painfully irritating and I spent much of the book wanting to slap the living daylight out of her.
Profile Image for Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen).
425 reviews1,638 followers
October 29, 2019
1 Star

Fetishization ≠ Representation

There are some reads so poorly constructed I don’t hesitate to slap a one-star on them and move on. But this book has lingered in my thoughts for weeks... because it’s a completely different kind of awful. Because this really, really tried. It really wants to open a discussion about how some girls—especially queer girls find a place in fandom. But this discussion devolves into an incredibly misguided, tone-deaf monologue.

Our main character, Claire, is obsessed with the TV show Demon Heart. It’s pretty obvious from the start this is a thinly-veiled parody of Supernatural, but when Claire asks a question during a Q&A panel that’s basically a recreation of real events… it’s even more obvious. So how does something based on a real-word occurrence lose all sense of realism? It makes no sense that the producers would spend so much money bringing Claire to every stop on this tour. It makes no sense that her mother just lets her 16-year-old daughter run around all these different cities without asking any questions. The way Claire and Forrest (the actor who slighted her) speak to each other is extreme, stilted and comes across like some sort of parody. None of this feels genuine or possible.

At one point, Claire literally blackmails the showrunner and holds him hostage while she ‘convinces him’ to make her ship canon. This is!not!normal! In the real world we’d see a story about this ‘deranged fan’ on the nightly news. But making matters even worse is Claire’s insistence she’s not taken seriously simply because she’s a teenage girl. The fact that we are supposed to sympathize makes it feel like the narrative believes this irrational behavior IS completely normal for a teenage girl. This is insulting. Claire screams, cries and threatens only to then play the victim and devalue the voices of those actually facing discrimination.

While most of this book is singularly focused on one girl’s experience, there is some diversity added with Tess, Claire’s love-interest. Tess identifies as homoromantic pansexual and is vocal about the lack of POC characters on Demon Heart. At first, I absolutely loved this and was hopeful Tess would aid Claire down the path of some development… instead their relationship turns into a toxic push-n-pull. They both show very little respect for the other, cumulating with Tess outing Claire to her mother. The fact that Claire’s mother is accepting and kind then paints this whole event as inconsequential and neither girl really apologizes.

But perhaps the singular point that pushed this book to dumpster-fire levels is the absurd amount of M/M fetishization that occurs. Despite Claire insisting she doesn’t only ship SmokeHeart because of the sex… she makes every discussion about it revolve around sex?? The first chapter literally starts with Claire googling porn so she can ‘properly’ finish her fanfic. Claire insists that she is focused on the importance of representation… but she’s literally incapable of discussing anything but the physicality of the relationship. To the point that she insists she won’t be ‘satisfied’ until she sees it manifest on the show.

Claire writes real-world fic about the actors of the two characters having sex, and then is flabbergasted when Forrest is upset by this. (Side note: Forrest also has some development regarding his own internal homophobia, but saying that’s the only reason he’d be upset by such fic… feels real gross) Both girls also joke about writing/reading incestuous, smutty Jonas Brother’s fic. They defend this by saying that “slash fic is just more fun!”


*camera pans to me, still screaming into the void*

I received an ARC of this in exchange for an honest review, thanks to Freeform for the opportunity! No quotes were included in this review, as I’m currently unable to compare them to the final printed book.
Profile Image for kav (xreadingsolacex).
177 reviews344 followers
May 19, 2018
Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way impacted my review.


**Note: This is a somewhat ramble-y review that may contain minor spoilers, so read it at your own risk.**

Ship It is young-adult contemporary novel about fandom and queerness, where our main character Claire is a fan-fiction writer who attends a Con and asks one of her heroes if the m/m ship she believes should be canon will be canon, and he laughs her off. In order to save their image, the cast and crew of the show invite Claire to come along with them on the rest of their tour. In the meantime, Claire is also discovering her own sexuality and falling for a girl.

I really wanted to like this book far more than I did, but I just didn't.

Going into this book, my primary concern was that it come off fetishy and I really hoped that it wasn't. And in all honesty, that was probably the smallest problem in the book because everything else was a giant trash-fire.

This novel was told in two point of views - Claire and Forest's. Claire is the previously main character, while Forest is the "hero" who laughs Claire off.

Both of these characters came off as unlikable main characters, I have no idea if they were intended to be written that way, but that was the first thing that made this book difficult for me to read. I love morally grey characters, especially when those characters know that they're morally grey. Neither Claire nor Forest know that they are not exactly decent people and right off the bat, this rubbed me the wrong way.

For most of the book, Forest comes off as a giant asshole. He eventually gets a minor redemption arc, but Claire just does not realize that she's a giant mess.

I love books that delve into fandom because fandom is a real part of many teen lives today and books that reflect that can make teens feel seen. And I definitely think the author knew about fandom, that wasn't even a question for me. Lundin understood fandom and her representation of fandom in this novel is probably the main positive I got out of it.

But Claire's character as a fandom influencer was just...sad. The amount of morally questionable actions she takes in this novel all to make her ship canon that she never has to face consequences for is wild. I understand wanting queer representation in media, I want queer representation in media. But risking people's jobs, blackmailing people, and more to get that representation is downright wrong and Claire participates in all those and never takes accountability for those actions.

Not to mention Claire tries to defend her actions by claiming that a lot of the backlash comes from the fact that she's a teenage girl. Are teenage girls likes seen as lesser because they're teenage girls? Yes. But that doesn't justify Claire's actions throughout this novel.

Then there's Forest, who's a mess in his own ways. Like I said, he comes off as an asshole for the majority of this novel and then gets a minor redemption arc at the end of the novel. Throughout the novel he has lots of internalized homophobia to work through (as does Claire), and he just doesn't treat Claire well for a lot of this novel.

And then there's Tess, Claire's love interest, a queer homoromantic pansexual black character. I know what you're thinking - WOW REPRESENTATION?? Well, her and Claire's relationship is just as much of a trash-fire. I don't think it's fair of us to ship this relationship because it's f/f when this relationships oozes toxicity.

At first, I found their dynamics adorable. Two fangirls bonding over their love for a show and falling for each other? Adorable. But that goes downhill fast. There's this one specific scene that is a MAJOR TRASH-FIRE that ruined the entire ship and, honestly, the entire book for me.

To set this up, Claire doesn't have any friends and is open about her life as a fan-fiction writer. Tess, on the other hand, is not open about her fandom life. When Claire meets Tess' friends, she basically "outs" Tess' fandom life to her friends which is so messed up and I was absolutely furious. Claire's justification is that Tess shouldn't have to be ashamed of herself to her friends, which is true, but that's not Claire's place to decide. And to make matters worse, literally a page later, Tess outs Claire to her mom. Tess already pushes Claire to come out for most of this novel which is so cringey, but outing her to her mom was the final straw for me.

After this, Claire never truly apologizes to Tess for what she did, and though Tess does apologize, I can't be on board with a relationship where the two aren't truly supportive and understanding of each other.

Then, there's the unbearably cringey parts where Tess and Claire discuss reading brother!Jonas Brothers fan-fic and LAUGH about incest fic. I was actually gagging during that part. And then, to make matters EVEN worse, Claire writes real person fan-fic about Forest and Rico (the other actor) where she includes details about Forest's life that he told her as a friend. First of all, real person fan-fic is already weird, and writing it with details someone told you...that's just messed up.

Throughout all of this, Claire never actually takes responsibility for her actions. She continues to victimize herself for the entirety of this novel and never acknowledges that she is actually perpetrating half the issues in this novel.

Furthermore, I also heard that there's been discussion on twitter where people have talked about a white writer writing a book with a white main character and a black love interest where the love interest teaches them about racism. This novel could be the poster child for that trope.

Essentially, this novel is one giant trash-fire and I am so disappointed by it. That's all folks.
Profile Image for Beej.
30 reviews5 followers
May 10, 2018
I should start out with something at least trying to be witty here like “I don’t ship it” or this book could be called “shit it” instead of what it is but my brain is melted from reading this garbage so here we are.

I’ll get right in to it, this book is riddled with problems. It starts with Claire writing fic and being judgemental to another girl who just asks her about a homework question. But she’s not Claire and doesn’t know fandom so clearly she doesn’t matter here. The bitch.

Anyway, Claire watches the girl kiss her boyfriend and gets all huffy that it’s obscene where her fanfic is beautiful and true love and I’m already ready to set this book on fire in flames of hell where it belongs. I probably should take some self reflection here as once upon a time I probably was like Claire. Except I didn’t write RPF about an actor for petty revenge and shove fandom things in their face so I’d like to give my high school self a pass there. She still sucked though. Moving on!

So Claire’s whole thing is she has this ship, this otp, and loves it a lot and yeah, we’ve all been there as fans pretty much. Of course I can’t speak for all fans since fandom isn’t a monolith like many think it is. The representation of how fandom looks like always ends up with girls like Claire, slashers who are single minded for their otp never mind that fandom is as varied as it gets. Yet Claire’s got her head stuck in the sand so much that when people at a panel point out that they kill an Asian girl on the show or how little poc there are she just nods but the second someone asks about the ship and the actor dismisses it she’s up in arms and yelling at him.

Forrest is our other protag, the book goes back and forth between him and Claire and I kinda felt for him at first being an actor overwhelmed by all this. But he’s also an ass like Claire in a different more homophobic way. Anyway, he yells back at Claire that his character isn’t gay, she leaves in tears, and I’m supposed to suspend my disbelief that the PR department cares enough about LGBT fans that they fake a contest for her to win to follow the actors on a convention tour. My buddy, my gal who is definitely not my pal because I want you to stay the hell away from my bisexual ass, I got news for you: this would never fucking happen. But we move on again.

Claire’s whole goal now is to convince the showrunner to make the characters gay, because it’s important to her. Now the whole time this is going on she’s met a fanartist named Tess, who’s black and describes herself as homoromantic pansexual or just queer to make it easier for herself. Claire is stunned that Tess is queer, she wears dresses and the only lesbians Claire has met are into basketball. As we all know, these things can’t mix. All queer people are alike and never wear dresses.

Thems the facts.

Tess asks Claire out but assures her ‘its not a date’ and then takes her to a gay centric restaurant and that sits badly with me because it feels like Tess is trying to force it to be a date anyway. They kiss back at the hotel, it’s actually kinda cute and the gay panic Claire goes through could be relatable in some ways but Claire ruins it by continually focusing on her gay otp instead.

Oh god, I don’t want to remember more of this book, I want to purge it from my memory but Claire and Forrest fight and Claire writes RPF about him and his co-star using facts that Forrest told her in confidence as revenge and makes up the story that his dad used to beat him. Our protag.

She also gets into a fight with Tess and tells Tess’ friends she’s really into fandom, this sucks but then Tess tells Claire’s mother Claire is gay as revenge so hey, that’s worse. Nothing really comes of it though, there’s no talk with her mom at all. Tess does apologize over a text thankfully and Claire readily forgives her. Tess also points out that being a black fan isn’t easy and this is about thirty or so chapters in, Claire’s response is that she can’t make the showrunner turn the characters black but she can try to make them gay. Charming really.

The showrunner is an ass I’ll grant you that but Claire’s final card is to break into his twitter account and send out a bunch of tweets. That’s illegal. I wanted her to get sued by the end of it. I was actively hoping our main character got sued. Fans like her give all of us a bad name, they’re the ones on twitter who relentlessly tag the actors in fanart or fanfic and try to force it on them. If an actor wants to actively look for it, that’s one thing, if you have genuine criticism they should hear, that’s another. Forcing this personal stuff on them is just uncomfortable.

But of course Claire gets away with it all. Nevermind that the showrunner decides to kill Forrest’s character and keep him dead, that fans were whispering about facts of him they got from reading Claire’s RPF, and now he doesn’t have a job. But don’t worry, in the end he gets the shipping thing and representation is important and acts out a love scene with his costar on stage. At San Diego comic con. Again my suspension of disbelief doesn’t go this far. Also Claire gets to moderate the talk at San Diego comic con. Sure Claire.

She makes a heartfelt speech about rep which honestly, I agreed with but at this point she and Tess have talked about how much better slash incest shipping is than boring old het shipping and I’m rolling my eyes so much I can look inwards and see my brain melting from this mess.

This book was a nightmare when it came to the idea of fandom. In the words of an anon: it represents us the same way 50 shades represents the bdsm community. Fandom is a lot of things and certainly there are people who are like Claire in this book, who see their ship as the be all end all and care nothing else, who are fine with shipping real people and incest and anything else under the fucking sun but holy fuck do I not want that to represent me. I just wanted a fun wlw story about two girls falling in love at a convention while loving a show because I get that. Hell I’ve always wanted to maybe meet someone at a con. But this story was like the worst parts of fandom shoved into a blender and turned on to puree and promising it’s good for you.

I’ve never been as angry at a story as I have with this one and when I found out the author writes for tv shows I genuinely worried about the state of the writers room. Then I found out it was Riverdale and it explained so much honestly, that show is trash like this book and I want to purge it from my head with an ice pick.
Profile Image for aer.
147 reviews9 followers
May 7, 2018
I knew I had to read this book after my favorite gossip site tore it to shreds... and good god, they were spot on. To start, let me just say that it glorifies everything that is wrong with fan culture. It's one of the most infuriating novels I've ever read. …And I wrote 2000 words on this -so buckle up!

This review is full of spoilers. Actually, it's a complete synopsis (with my biased opinion).

There are some batshit crazy fandoms out there (Supernatural & Teen Wolf (for starters)) and this book really zeroes in on that culture. The author, in my opinion, most definitely self-inserted herself into her novel as Claire, our "hero". There is no way that Britta Lundin could salvage this character and still have her end up a champion at the end of the novel if she didn't share the same ideals.

Claire, of small town, Pine Bluffs, is a rabid fan of a 'Supernatural'-esque show, Demon Heart, about demons and their hunters (much like SPN). Not only is she a fan of the show, but she ships the two male leads (Forrest and Rico) together (SmokeHeart) and is BLINDED by it. She cannot separate fiction from reality. This is a constant theme throughout the book, where she is told over and over again by the actors and show runner that her ship is not real. She cannot accept it. It consumes her life and she doesn't make friends because she has the show. Fine, I respect that. By chance her beloved show is having a panel at a con in her state, Claire and her odd duck of a mother, Trudi, travel to Boise to attend it.

Emboldened by her mother's words, Claire ends up asking the panel about her beloved ship, SmokeHeart. She is shut down by half of the ship, Forrest Reed (Smokey), but it gets the crowd riled up. The social media and PR women track her down and through a 'twist of fate' Claire ends up "winning" a role as superfan extraordinaire on their convention circuit. This functioning television series allows this rabid and delusional fan 24/7 access into their lives and business - and oh boy, does Claire push their boundaries. She's determined to get show runner, Jamie Davis (*cough* Jeff Davis of Teen Wolf), to make her SmokeHeart canon!

SmokeHeart is everything to Claire and she goes after Forrest because he is obviously a homophobe and deserves hell rained down upon him for not bleeding for this ship. Forrest tries to play nice at the behest of his handlers and Claire repeatedly rejects his peace treaty offers. Finally, after finding a commonality, Claire's developed feelings for Tess, do they strike up a working friendship.

There's a small subplot of Forrest being bicurious and or not confronting his sexuality. This is touched upon several times and quite frankly feels out of place because both author and main character needed to feel vindicated in their fetishizing of gay men and the validity of their character shipping.

Claire meets Tess, this super cute, confident woc and talented fan artist who is also a diehard SmokeHeart shipper. There is an immediate attraction although Claire hasn't even begun to grapple with her sexuality. Tess is honestly, a lovely character, who hides her love for 'Demon Heart' because being a queer woc is hard enough in a small town, let alone a nerdy queer woc in a small town. I honestly wish more of the novel was spent on Tess. In fact, before I read the 'Oh No They Didn't' takedown of this novel, I assumed that this book was more of a 'Fangirl' by Rachel Rowell situation and that it would focus on the girls' relationship and their ship would be in the background. The ship consumed the entire story and while I normally relish in reading queer coming of age novels, Claire's sexuality felt like a chore. I was unimpressed by her unstoppable desire to will her SmokeHeart ship into existence and felt like her being queer was just a diversion to make her more likable/relatable.

ANYWAY, she fends off her feelings by remembering past experiences with boys and writes it off. SHE'S GOTTA FOCUS ON SMOKEHEART, SHE CAN'T GET DISTRACTED, DAMMIT!!! Our main character refocuses on her mission and staves off her feelings because they're understandably scary.

With her passion refocused, Claire spends the entire novel trying to make her beloved ship canon: she commandeers panels, sabotages the events, and berates/corners the actors and show runner. Somehow, people in the industry are still on her side and think she's doing a great job!!! SOMEHOW, one delusional 17-year-old girl is saving her favorite television show from being canceled - because that's a totally realistic situation.

She gets quite an online following too! Her tumblr is blowing up, people start recognizing her at cons, by her tumblr handle no less. She's a little shipper hero!

Things start to get messy and Claire gets praise for causing a scene at the next panel. Jamie is infuriated by the stunts she pulls and avoids her like the plague. She continues to push boundaries by meddling in Forrest's life, even going as far as writing 'Real People Fiction' about him banging his costar and adding in really personal and confidential information about him. Forrest is horrified and cannot believe she would violate his trust. REALLY, BUD? YOU REALLY THOUGHT THIS LITTLE NUTJOB WOULDN'T SEXUALIZE YOU??? Well, she did. Forrest, while reading this 'RPF' starts questioning his own sexuality, because shit, when you start thinking about a creepy fangirl writing about 'slotting dicks together' (real quote), YOU JUST GET REAL TURNED ON AND CONFUSED, RIGHT? Forrest's mind is blown. (Don't worry though, he completely forgives her and actually apologizes for getting upset and she accepts his apology (even though he literally did nothing wrong)).

But she hasn't gotten her way yet, despite being on this con circuit, show runner, Jamie, hasn't made his lead characters fuck. And that is just not okay with Claire, so she devises a plan to really trip him up. With the help of the social media girl, Claire gets a hold of Jamie's twitter and hijacks it. When Jamie comes roaring after her, she attempts to blackmail him into not only admitting that he queerbaited his batshit fans, but to get SmokeHeart to be real. Jamie, a grown adult, loses his mind and starts to physically come after her. Claire is terrified. Jamie decides to leave it alone and storms out, leaving SmokeHeart's most dedicated fan at a loss.

There's only one thing Jamie can do to end this chaos, he fires Forrest to put everything gay to rest and get his show back on track. Forrest, not only feeling betrayed by Claire for publishing her wacko fantasies about him banging Rico, has now discovered that SHE is the SOLE reason he's been fired and tweets out to his fans it was all her fault and mentions her by name.

Now, Claire knows she has fucked up. When all the fans camp out to watch the season finale of Demon Heart and Smokey (Forrest) dies, they know he's dead for real. Forrest is no longer on the show and the fans also know that it is Claire's fault. She deletes her social media and is sickened by the end result (even though she completely brought it on herself). Claire hides away, goes off the grid and resumes her boring life in Pine Bluffs. Oh, and her romance with Tess blew up but honestly, there's just too much going on in this story for me to get into that.

Three weeks pass and the social media lead for the show reaches out to her, they want her to come back for the San Diego Comic Con and moderate their last panel. The cast loves her!!! Everything is great!!!!!! The fans are back on her side!!!! As moderator, she gives a touching speech about her sexuality because now she's had a total change of heart and implores the show to cast poc, more female representation, and to stop queerbaiting. When truly she shipped these two characters because thinking about them having sex turned her the hell on. It was unrealistic even by the book's standards to have her come out and say that, because it just wasn't true. Queer representation was never on her mind, not because she hadn't come to terms with her own sexuality, but because she was just all consumed by the turn-on of her ship.

Everyone is inspired by her speech. Forrest (remember that Claire, by simply being in his stratosphere and reading her 'RPF', has stirred up old and repressed queer feelings) is particularly inspired and DAMMIT, HE'S GONNA GIVE THE BATSHIT AND BOUNDARY PUSHIN' SHIPPERS WHAT THEY W A N T. He shares a meaningful look with his way too chill, and accepting of this batshittery, costar, Rico, and announces that 'someone will want to film this!' AND THEY MAKE OUT. YEP. FULL ON TONGUE TANGLIN' MAKEOUT. Claire, as you can imagine, is creaming her jeans.

The novel ends with a happy resolve. Claire and Tess end up together and loosely plan a future together, perhaps UCLA, and snuggle on the couch. Plucky Rico continues on with Demon Heart as our embattled Forrest lands a character arc on a new hit show. Yeehaw!


There are a lot of questions that go unanswered. CLAIRE IS A PSYCHOPATH. Why are all these ADULTS giving a child free range, paying for all her travel and letting her act like a little animal? Why does Forrest allow her to torment him, why does Rico take a shine to her? HOW DOES HER MOTHER CONTINUOUSLY CONDONE ALL OF HER BEHAVIOR? HOW IS SHE PROUD OF HER? Well, Claire really can't do anything wrong in this novel and remains a hero.

I was aggravated by several points in the novel where Britta Lundin incorrectly used feminism to make her shipper points. Claire would bring up feminism in attempts to deflect from her insanity and it was instantly accepted. There could've been great opportunities for actual feminism in this book but all of them were wasted.

I'm also not over how disappointed I am that Claire's sexuality wasn't the main focus of the novel. It was really anticlimactic. As a queer person myself, I really wanted to connect more with her inner struggle but she was so damn awful I kept thinking to myself 'some of her feelings are, in fact relatable, but I'm so taken out of this story I can't do this'. Figuring out who you are can be so scary and real, but it didn't feel so impactful in this novel. I think that Britta does have the ability to write queer stories, I just can't believe she wasted this opportunity.

I found Claire to be one of the most unlikable characters I've ever read. She wasn't a villain and we weren't meant to hate her BUT I LOATHED HER. The secondhand embarrassment I felt had me SQUIRMING. I can't believe that there are a bunch of people who are reading this, have read it, or will read it, that probably deeply relate to Claire and find this book touching. It's downright disturbing that fandoms find it acceptable to bulldoze the 4th wall and demand that shows kowtow to their ships and desires. Once I read more about the author, everything started clicking into place.

I don't believe there's any harm in shipping characters together and y'all are perfectly entitled to your OTP but please keep it to yourself or within the fandom. We've seen what happens to shows when they start to give into fan demands and no one ends up happy.

To each their own! I do not recommend this book because it was clearly written by an unhinged person (who I can't believe is also getting paid to write for a hit TV show). It was entertaining in the sense that it was so over the top and unbelievable that I was scoffing throughout. Read it if you want to waste the $11!
Profile Image for Brenda.
1,516 reviews67 followers
May 9, 2018

Claire is a bitch.

There, I said it. She is an incredibly selfish person who can’t see past her own nose long enough to see how her actions influence others. She successfully hurts Tess, Jamie (whose portrayal as the “villain” is its own issue), and Forest and then REFUSES TO APOLOGIZE TO ANY OF THEM except Tess.

And just because the author chose to have things all work out all nice and pretty in the end, I’m supposed to accept that what she did was right?


She butted in where she wasn’t wanted, was self-righteous and managed to make a mess of everything. She made such a big deal about this show not having gay characters and then the end of the novel has her watching a show with lesbians.....so basically her fucking up Forest’s career and Jamie’s show THAT HE CREATED amounted to nothing except her being a smug asshole. I don’t care if you’re straight or queer or male or female, Claire was a jerk whose actions were only dictated by her own feelings.
Profile Image for Jaye Berry.
1,392 reviews129 followers
June 5, 2018
I have never hated a book as much as I hate this one.

It's cringey, all the characters are actually awful, and almost every single thing that happens is ridiculous to the point where it doesn't even try to be realistic. Of course while lecturing on and on about things that, you know, the audience of this book knows already.

It shows the awful side of fandom, and the awful side of those teenagers who think they are entitled to whatever they want in a show that they didn't create, and have actually no part of. The MC constantly fights the idea and demands the showrunner of this fictional show to give her what she thinks she deserves while explaining how she isn't doing it for herself- oh no, it's for everyone else. Sure jan. At one point she even hacks the showrunner's twitter to force him to make her ship happen while thinking that was somehow okay. She even tells the guy who plays the character that he is wrong, ABOUT THE CHARACTER HE PLAYS. Because she somehow knows better than the guy himself? All while she has such an asshole attitude and calling him homophobic because his character isn't gay. But no, this book is ALL about celebrating fandom and how it brings us all together, all nice and happy. Again, sure jan.

I know this kind of fan. I've dealt with them so many times and they will never change. They are entitled and they are slightly delusional. I'm sorry kids but you have no right to come up to someone and demand they give you whatever you want. That isn't how the real world works and the idea of it even half working in this book makes me want to barf. Blah blah, the show/movie/book belongs to the fans? No. It belongs to the creators and writers who worked their asses of to create something, not the young adults at home on tumblr thinking it's theirs. Trust me, I've been on the side of wanting a ship to happen but you have to accept that sometimes, things don't work out the way you want, despite all the subtext you think you found. It really sucks, and more shows need to have diverse relationships but literally trying to force someone to make your ship canon is never going to work. (Seriously, Claire had some damn issues. Just so you are aware, Claire basically pulled the "not like the other girls" card.)

Maybe if this book actually put that in a negative light about the problems of fandoms but no. This was Claire, one of the MCs and it was celebrated. When a girl challenges her on her shit mindset, she gets mad and they fight. Until later making up even though ALL they did was fight and disagree on everything. Such romance. And I'm sorry but outing someone (and forcing them to decide on what they identify as) before they are ready or even sure? There is no forgiveness, or at least not that easily.

Queerbaiting is awful, I know. You know what else is awful? Fetishizing real people and shipping real people, hounding them multiple times about what their sexual identity is. Writing fanfiction about real people, while you have been spending time with those very real people was actually gross as hell. And of course, instead of feeling bad when Claire is called out by the very guy she was writing about, she goes off and says there is nothing wrong with it and how HE is the asshole.

This is an obsessive and awful tumblr girl's fantasy about how she gets the dream of a lifetime to harass members of her favorite tv while acting like she's even half a good person. Don't worry guys, she's doing it for the gay children, not for her fantasy of two hot guys making out. Also I'm pretty sure the fictional show could have at least tried not to copy Supernatural 100% but here we are.

This book is not just bad, it's insulting and gross. I saw red for half the book and I can't believe I put myself through the actual torture that reading this was. I just can't believe this book is real to be honest. I can't believe a team of adults read this book and went: "Ah yes. This is an amazing book, we should put this out in the world." I'm never like this but skip this book; I beg you to skip it. And I beg to one day move on from how actually fucking shitty this pile of work was. Nice cover though.
Profile Image for chan ☆.
1,072 reviews51.3k followers
November 10, 2019
reading the lowest rated books on my goodreads tbr:

was a herculean effort getting myself to finish this... not because it was a hard book to read but because my EMOTIONS were a ROLLER COASTER

this book... has a public outing. has blackmail. has interpersonal boundaries that should not be crossed. it also has important and valid discussions on fan culture and diversity in media.

i really enjoyed the ending of this book but unfortunately it could not make up for the incredibly problematic elements. also the overall plot was kind of a mess idk. wouldn't recommend, only read this for a video lol
Profile Image for Lexi.
512 reviews225 followers
March 2, 2022
In 2013, Jensen Ackles, who plays Dean Winchester on Supernatural was asked a question. The question was about Dean being bisexual, and possibly being in love with Castiel- who is the friend of this character. Jensen Ackles, who had spent years being harassed sexually and emotionally by slash fangirls, responded very negatively to this question.

Whether Jensen should have been more diplomatic to this fan or not is still arguably up for debate, but this convention question, unfortunately, did have one major consequence- and that is that it ultimately resulted in "Ship It" by Britta Lundin being written. Yes, this is inspired by true events.

Ship It is about an obsessive fangirl named Claire who asks her favorite actor, Forest, at a panel about the gay subtext of his character. He responds negatively to her, and the publicists of the show, desperate to do damage control, bring Claire along on a publicity run with the cast and crew. Claire will now do anything to make her ship canon and will use her newfound platform to make it happen.

This is a villain protagonist story that is completely not self-aware. Claire, the main character, regularly violates people's boundaries in every way possible.

-She steals their Twitter accounts, writes, and shares highly sexualized RPF including personal details she learned about these people while spending time with them.

- She publicly shares her new girlfriend's secrets with her friends as a way to get revenge on her.

- She stalks and hounds people, constantly insulting those who don't bend to her will.

- She attempts to sabotage the career of an actor, including writing slanderous blog posts about him and organizing drama at his panels to embarrass and shame him.

- She dehumanizes the actors of the show- treating them like props helping/ or hurting her means to an end.

- She makes racist assumptions about her Black girlfriend.

- She blackmails the creator of the show by violating his online privacy and stealing his social media.

The author, however, treats all of this like it's innocent and foolish at worst, and heroic at best. The narrative completely favor's Claire's ego and is written to completely glorify her behavior as championing gay rights- despite a large portion of Claire's interest in her ship being the fetishization of gay men.

Claire is rarely held accountable, and when she is, it's her "mutually apologizing" to someone, as though them being dismissive of her psychotic behavior is the same thing as say- actively attempting to destroy the career of a young actor in an act of revenge. The regular false equivalency of Claire's horrifying actions with people's response to her actions almost turns this book into somewhat of a horror VS a cute, queer contemporary.

The book also radically adjusts the story to favor Claire's evil behavior. Britta Lundin, despite being a writer on the TV show Riverdale, seems to completely bastardize parts of the entertainment industry to benefit Claire's hero narrative. For example, the reason Claire is on a publicity tour is that the marketing team of her favorite show is terrified of the "negative press" they will get due to Forest being dismissive of her. All of this despite the fact that there's a minimal visible backlash, the fans are still obsessed with the show, and by all means, nothing appears to be wrong.

Ship It is high octane wish fulfillment for any abusive fan that fancies themself a hero in their own right. Every moment of abuse is vindicated. Any questionable belief system is vindicated. The narrative and entertainment industry aspect is all written to bolster up the validity of fans and devalue artists and creators as simply people who owe fans. It presents the idea that shipping straight white guys together is activism. This activism boner starts to get real soft when you also have scenes like Claire dismissing the "wokeness" of her Black girlfriend and telling her that while "We can't make characters black after the fact, we CAN make them queer". And this is meant to be empowering.

It also presents the idea- and I am not making this up, that if you "open up someone's eyes", they too will become queer. Yes, there is a character who is straight that is more or less manipulated by Claire into being attracted to men. That character does not have a deep introspective look at their own feelings, but rather, is shown gifs on Tumblr and reads fanfiction and then decides they are attracted to people of the same gender.

On top of justifying abusive fans, knowing that this is written so tightly to be a Supernatural story makes all of this extra gross. The show is called DemonHeart, the characters are obvious Dean/Castiel and it's about demon hunting, and the two actors are meant to represent Misha Collins and Jensen Ackles. The book is both a massive love letter to most unhinged parts of this fandom, but is also a real person fanfic, shoving in a weird love story between the two actors as well. Unsurprisingly, a book about not respecting the privacy and personal autonomy of actors actively serves the same agenda as Claire in the book.

On top of being insanely problematic- racist, homophobic, and a wild breach of privacy, it's written much like fanfiction. I am actually flabbergasted that several editors looked at this and thought "yeah, lets publish this. Like jaw to the floor.

This is the objective worst book I have ever read, bar none. I was completely horrified and uncomfortable every step through this book.I don't recommend it to anyone unless you are looking to hate-read it- but even then, as someone who is queer, I found the content so wildly offensive that hate reading it was hard for me.
Profile Image for Brooke.
284 reviews142 followers
May 22, 2018
1.5* for this toxic & questionable read.

I'll start by saying I admire Lundin's decision to write about a topic that isn't talked about much in fandoms, the downsides. This is NOT a cutesy feel-good read like FANGIRL; I kind of wish the cover depicted that, because this was so much heavier than I expected.

We have Claire, whose obsession with the TV show Demon Heart leads her to a panel where she'll get to see the lead actors, Forest & Rico. Claire is obsessed with the concept that their characters are actually in love with each other, so much so that she writes her own fanfics about it. Which would be fine, until the shitstorm happens. She asks Forest what he thinks & he shuts her hopes down real quick with a homophobic response. Thus, the PR nightmare ensues. Since the show is up in the air about whether it will continue with a second season, there is no other choice than to have Claire go with the cast to the rest of the panels.

Along the way, she meets Tess, a black homoromantic pansexual (YES!). I was really holding out with the hope that their relationship would make the book worth it, but each girl commits harmful actions towards each other. Tess discusses private details from their date to Forest; Claire decides to get back at her by outing her to her friends (they don't know she's a nerd); Tess gets revenge by outing Claire's sexuality to her mother. Just...wow. Then we have Claire who so desperately wants her favorite show to have gay characters that she goes to extreme lengths including hacking into a writer's Twitter account. And of course, she is held accountable for 0.00% of her actions. Are you kidding me?

Forest's homophobia doesn't exactly go away- he tries to make up for it at the end with a kiss with Rico at one of the panels, but it's too late. Then we have Claire's parents who just let her go with these people (well technically, her mother was in the same city, but still) without asking any questions or just accepting her sexuality with a big smile on their faces? A nice thought, but not realistic. OH & who can forget the casual laughs Tess & Claire had as they remembered a Jonas Brother incest fic? (Not sure why this was added to the book; there are literally tons of other choices Lundin could have chosen. What kind of reaction were you expecting?)

Giving this a generous .5* addition because I believe Lundin has it in her to tell a tale (make it less problematic!) & she got some things right, e.g. stating using "crazy" trivializes people's mental health struggles & having Tess call Claire out when she was only concerned about the queerbaiting, not the glaring fact that there were no POC characters. <--- Though this brings up the issue of having a white author writing a romance where the black character has to be the racism teacher. Um, why? There were so many chances for things to be right from the beginning, even chances for things to be redeemed, yet nothing is corrected here.

Not recommended unless you're ready to get pissed.
Profile Image for catherine ♡.
1,211 reviews160 followers
March 31, 2018
Damn. This was amazing.

I read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and honestly it was the most boring and disappointing book ever - and I've read some that are similar and I never found a book that accurately described what it was like to be a fangirl. This book gets pretty darn close.

I'm not going to sit back and pretend that the main characters were without fault - in fact, everyone was downright annoying and horrible at times. But I don't know, I kind of liked that at the end, everyone made up for it - and that even though they may have done some bad things, the most important part was that they all learned from it.

Another problem I had while reading Fangirl was that I didn't care about the fandom in the story at all. I didn't care about the ship. But I did when I read this book. The author really brought SmokeHeart to life, and I could see myself shipping them, writing fanfiction about them, crying over clips of them as well.

I'd definitely recommend this book for any YA reader, and it's got a delightful dash of LGBTQIA+ and diversity that I was super glad to see.
Profile Image for Gray Cox.
Author 4 books165 followers
January 17, 2019
“…there’s a healthy debate roiling about whether I’m the hero fandom needs or the loudmouth millennial activist that represents the worst of entitled internet culture.”(pg. 267)

Yeahhh, Claire, I’m going to have to agree with the latter. ^

Let’s let the fact that a tree died for this book sink in…

This is the worst book I’ve read in 2019 so far, and that isn’t a stretch at all.

So, I went to my local library a few days ago and this book was on the new YA bookshelf, I took one look at it, and knew it wasn’t my kind of book. I read the blurb and was 99.9% certain that I wouldn’t enjoy it.

But still, I was curious, I haven’t read a more “hip” and liberal YA book in a while, so I decided to see what was up.

I am disgusted at this dumpster fire of a mess.

Firstly, I am not and have never been a fangirl, honestly, I find obsessing over things like that to be very unhealthy for me and a waste of time in general. I have been a fan of stuff but I don’t freak out or write fanfiction or anything of that sort.

I have friends who write fanfiction, and although I don’t really get it, I respect it.

HOWEVER, the main protagonist in this book is the reason that I’ll will never go on Tumblr or get into fandoms.

Meet Claire, a normal teenage girl who is the definition of a narcissist, openly fetishizes gay men (GUYSSSSS, FETISHIZATION DOES NOT EQUAL REPRESENTATION !!), blackmails and hacks into accounts (that’s illegal and not okay), judges anyone who doesn’t see eye to eye with her, writes slash fiction with tons of secrets told to her in confidence about friends in order to get revenge, and is a fangirl.

Overall, a nice lovely person.


I don't like the cancel culture, but for once I do want to cancel something... and that something is this book.

Meet Tess, honestly, Tess is the only somewhat okayish character in this. I'll leave her alone, except for the fact that she was the only POC character and was only in the book to correct Claire on racism, and has no character development except for that fact that she's black, so.... how original.

Thoughts on the book as a whole?

Was it great? Let's let Claire (who honestly is my least favorite girl character ever) answer that in her own words:

"If by great you mean trainwreck," (pg. 162)
Profile Image for Sleepless Dreamer.
862 reviews242 followers
November 11, 2020
This book isn't as bad as everyone makes it out to be but it's not great either. 

So Ship It is a split narrative book. On one hand, we have Claire. Claire is obsessed with shipping two characters from a tv show that is essentially Supernatural. On the other hand, we have Forest, who plays one of those characters. Forest is terrified of his acting career ending, almost irrationally so. 

One thing leads to another and Claire joins the tv show's team on a tour of conventions. Claire's main mission is to convince the team to make her ship canon. Along the way, she falls in love with a girl she meets in the conventions. 

Now, if you're thinking this sounds embarrassing, you are right. And truly, lots of cringey things happen along the way (a highlight being the moment Claire tries to blackmail the showrunner into turning it canon). The entire plot is unlikely and just plain uncomfortable to read, you want to shout at Claire that she'll regret all of this one day, that it really is just fictional characters. 

In many ways, a book about fan culture isn't new. Alice Oseman does it all the time, and of course, Fangirl and Kill the Boy Band exist. Ship It has similar themes to them, what with the queerness and the Tumblr energy yet this book is somehow worse than them. 

The problem is that Claire is simply a nasty person. Claire starts off with this assumption that she's the only person in her entire town with a Tumblr and interest in fanfiction. She's convinced her lack of popularity comes from this when in reality, Claire just treats people badly. We see Claire use information Forest gave her in order to write fanfiction about him, not just his character. We watch as Claire's new friend, Tess tells her not to tell anyone about her fanart and yet, Claire does it, convinced she knows what's best. And sure, there are apologies but it's not enough.

My problem with this book is even deeper. I imagine Lundin wanted to explore the way representation matters. I suppose she thought this book is a good way to show how fandoms are communities of people that care, that their opinions should matter to creators. The problem is that once you look at this a little deeper, it becomes kind of problematic. 

Claire isn't sure about her sexuality and it's constantly implied that her obsession about her ship comes from her own confusion. Now, this turns out to be true. I disliked this because that's not why we need representation. Representation isn't for confused kids- representation is important because that's just the world we live in. It weakens Claire's point when it became clear she was motivated by her own confusion, rather than a sincere desire to represent the world as it is. I don't need to be queer in order to understand why queer representation matters.
And the problem is that Claire says it's not about sex but at the end of the day, it is. That's not a bad thing. I think it's great that teens have a safe space to think about how sexual relations look, to explore this part of themselves. But let's not pretend it's about happy romantic relationships. Claire's focus is constantly sexual, she sees gay men as something inherently sexual. 

Admittedly, there's something strange about teen girls getting excited about two grown gay men having sex. Throughout the book, it becomes clear that Claire wasn't chasing acknowledgement of a romantic relationship- she wanted them to get physical. It feels infantilizing and fetishizing, as if that's all representation means. It's okay that she is exploring the world of sexual relations but why do it at the expense of actual queer representation?   

I am not nearly done writing what went wrong with this book but I also am giving a presentation in like 3 hours and am definitely not ready (I like to think I'm best at arguing philosophically when I improvise. This is not true but it's a solid excuse for not preparing too much, we all know that when I'll be on the spot I'll just say whatever feels right at the moment and bullshit my way through making sense, no matter how much I prepare). So this will conclude this review!

Ultimately, I've gathered some distance from this fanfic world. I think most people have. Ship It is easy to read. It's like over 400 epub pages and it took me an afternoon to read. It was mostly predictable but it was also an emotional rollercoaster. Or maybe, more like a car crash where you just can't look away. I do think this is going to be an interesting book to read in like 40 years though. 

What I'm Taking With Me
- Forest is kind of a manipulative dick but Claire is so much worse so it evens out.
- If we're on the topic of shipping, Caty and Claire are perfect for each other. I will not take any criticism on this. 
- Idk, I think I'm going to forget this book in like a week. 

I read an average of 150 books a year. Optimistically, I'd say it's reasonable to assume that I'm going to live for 60 more years. That's only 9,000 more books that I will read. I just spent time today making this book one of them. What am I doing with my life?

Review to come! I'm off to feel guilty for thinking badly of rural Pennsylvania last summer.
Profile Image for M.K. England.
Author 9 books581 followers
April 10, 2018
Folks, this is the book I've been waiting for. Fandom is so close to my heart, especially the kind of fandom depicted in this book, and I've so wanted someone to give us a voice in a way that is honest, powerful, and authentic. THIS IS THAT BOOK. I always worry with fandom books that they'll have a sort of outside-looking-in perspective that doesn't quite get or fully respect fandom, but SHIP IT is definitely not like that. Every word of it reads so authentically that I kinda wonder if Britta Lundin and I are secretly following each other on our fandom tumblrs. It engages with gender, race, and sexuality in a way that feels so true to modern sensibility and directly calls out a lot of the problematic shit in the TV world and in fandom itself. Add in a super sweet f/f romance and it's like YOU'VE ALREADY SOLD ME OKAY JUST SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY. This was 100% a wish fulfillment book for me and Britta nailed it. Thanks. <3

(This review is based on an uncorrected proof... but it was AWESOME SO WHO CARES.)
Profile Image for TJL.
608 reviews37 followers
Want to read
May 9, 2018
NOTE: 5/9/2018: I have not read the book yet. Below is my expectation of the book based on the summary.

So basically it's a book validating the whiny, entitled shippers who throw a bitch-fit whenever their slash pairing isn't made canon and the actors and crew-members refuse to validate their fictional pairings.

I know something like this happened in real life, and Demon Heart makes me think it may have been the Supernatural fandom (which, incidentally, has a huge host of female fans who harass actors and crew-members about their head-canons and ships). I have the sneakiest suspicion that this is basically going to be RPF of that incident.

If it is- and I may have to check this out of the library when it comes out so I can see- then this book is going to be super embarrassing. Fremdscham at its finest.
December 28, 2018

I hated Claire. I honestly wanted to smack her with my trusty Clue Bat.

Claire is the fictional example of EVERYTHING wrong with fandom these days. She reminded me of the whiny fanchildren who are getting their shit-stained Darth Vader underoos in a bunch over the recent Star Wars films.

I know what it's like to be in a beloved fandom and write fanfiction. I've written Robotech fic (Claudia/Roy), Jane Austen (Darcy and Elizabeth), Lord of the Rings (both Aragorn/Faramir/Boromir and RP slash Viggo/Sean), and even some J-rock fic. Contrary to popular opinion, there are some incredibly talented authors in the fanfic world - don't let the craptastic E.L. James ruin that. The difference between me and Claire is that my life was never wrapped up in a ship to the point that if it didn't show up in real life, I'd be perfectly okay with that. Fantasy is ALWAYS better.

This turned into a rage-fest far too quickly and I went from hoping Claire would lighten up a little, to wanting to slap the shit out of her. There are characters I may not like who do have some redeeming qualities. NOTHING, save a total rewrite of her character, could make me like or sympathize with her.

From what I understand, the fictional series Claire loves - Demon Heart - is supposedly based on Supernatural (a series I've never watched and frankly have zilch interest in doing so). Mainly, she loves the show's leads - Smokey, the demon hunter and his perhaps nemesis Heart, who happens to be a demon with a heart and who often teams up with Smokey. Claire writes SmokeHeart fic and has a fairly sizeable following. Most normal fans who write fic would be content with this, but not the entitled asshat named Claire. Oh no, the subtext is there and dammit, it's up her to make her ship happen. For real.

Never mind that there are real actors involved, and as "liberal" as Hollywood claims to be, they're also looking at the bottom line - money. And given the penchant for either falling into stereotype or killing gay characters because "reasons", bringing something like two gay action heroes to life (especially played by actual GAY actors) would be a hard sell. But Claire isn't thinking about that. She wants her damn ship and fuck anyone else's feelings. Because she's *special*.

What saved this dumpster-fire homage to fandom were three awesome characters: Tess, the Black and pansexual SmokeHeart fan who has valid reasons for keeping her love of the series secret; Rico, the Latino actor who plays Heart; and Forest, the younger star who plays Smokey. These characters had depth and were likeable. Especially Forest, who wants so badly to succeed in Hollywood due to the fact that his father believes he'll fail. At first he publicly shoots the entire notion of SmokeHeart down (causing Claire to run out of the room, crying a huge river of entitled tears). Of course, she assumes Forest's reaction automatically means he's a homophobe on the level of Westboro Baptist Church, because there's no possible way that there's a lot more to him, as well as an understanding of how Hollywood works. Once typecast, always typecast.

In his desperation to prove his unsupportive (and homophobic) father wrong, Forest doesn't understand what the series means to so many viewers until he begins meeting his fans at comic conventions. Over time, he sees that his character isn't just "a job". The only fly in the ointment is entitled Claire (still insisting that the SmokeHeart ship is THE ONLY WAY). Forest even makes the effort to understand the whole idea of "shipping":

"Claire, I keep pissing people off doing what I'm doing and I don't even know why." This started out as an act, but this part is true. She makes me feel like an idiot all the time. "I've never felt as helpless as when I'm talking to you. And here you are sitting on a throne of answers and you won't show them to me. You're like this small girl Yoda and I'm big, dumb Luke Skywalker and I'm asking you to train me. Help me be better."

She does give a little, but still isn't willing to cut him some slack. Enabled by a questionable" social media maven" named Caty, Claire is still full-on damn the torpedoes, if she can't have SmokeHeart, then no one can.

Meanwhile, she throws in some insincere social justice speak, just so I know she's not that much of a self-serving cow (which she is), but while she's so about her thing, she's utterly clueless about other forms of representation (of course she is, having failed basic intersectionality - white woman feminism personified). Thankfully, Tess sets her straight (no pun intended):

"Mainly because I'm used to it," she cuts back. "Maybe it's because I grew up only seeing white people on my television, and it's not like a showrunner can decide that a character's not white anymore, so I just got used to the world being unfair, okay? I stopped caring what the showrunner thinks because a character can be anything in fic. They can be black or queer or fat or whatever the fuck I want and I don't need anyone's permission. So just ship what you want to ship and stop caring so much about what Jamie and Forest think!"

Fist bump with Tess. Claire at least has her choice of representation. Visible minorities in the media aren't so lucky. It's not about playing the oppression Olympics, but in geek series (and the media overall), it's still pretty white. Hence the overwhelming popularity of #BlackPanther, #Luke Cage, and Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel).

Of course, performative ally Claire doesn't get it. Remember, it's all about HER.

"But you're not pushing for more black characters, are you? You only care about one thing."

These are the "fans" who lost their little minds over Rue from The Hunger Games being black (even though if they'd actually READ the book, they'd have already known that). Martha Jones received major fangirl hate in the Doctor Who fandom because she was a Black companion. Claire is one of those girls who'd swear she's "not racist", yet the idea of Martha being written in fic as having a romantic relationship with the Doctor would bring out her inner Klan robe. In the Merlin fandom, some admitted they preferred to ship Merlin and Arthur not because they liked the leads as a couple, but because Guinevere was played by a Black woman.

That's right, I'm spilling the tea on some of fandom's nasty little secrets. And enjoying crumpets while doing so.

Let's talk about Tess because so many people got her character wrong. Being a lifelong Black nerd, I know personally there are instances where she had to hide that aspect of her life. I was bullied in junior high for preferring to read and getting good grades rather than falling into accepted stereotypes. Despite the growing visibility of Black nerds, there are still places where being "alternative" really isn't safe for us. Black cosplayers get shit for "not looking like" the characters they portray. In some instances, it's equated with "acting white" (and this is a complex issue which would turn this review into a socio-historical essay). In Tess' case, she hangs out with a more popular crowd of girls, but the attitude about nerd/geek things is still the same. Claire doesn't care to understand this because she's a selfish waste of mitochondrial DNA, so when she outs Tess in front of her friends (though Tess tried to explain why she didn't want her friends to know, to the point of practically using body language to plead), Claire gets on her All Lives Matter soapbox and decides for Tess that it's more important that SHE betrays her for some higher purpose.

In turn, Tess, having been hurt by someone she really liked, lashes out and outs Claire to her mom. No, that wasn't cool but frankly I'm still more pissed at Claire for not respecting Tess' autonomy. This is why being a real ally means knowing when to let marginalized people speak their own truth when they're comfortable doing so.

Entitled Claire is determined to get her SmokeHeart ship and she's willing to sabotage friendships and ruin another's career. She actually hacks into the Twitter account of Jamie, the showrunner. This is supposedly "empowering", but it was no better than the shit Gamergaters pulled. Claire doesn't get a free pass just because she's female. This kind of internet trolling/harassment is real, especially for PoC and other marginalized groups. Granted, Jamie is a bit of a jerk, but he didn't deserve that.

After all her fuckwittery, not only is the series up in the air for a second season, but Jamie decides to kill off Forest's character.

Nice going, Claire.

Meanwhile Claire is a bitch towards Tess because she can't figure out her own sexuality, though she has a problem because Tess is perfectly comfortable with hers. She freaks out because Tess tells Forest they had a date. It wasn't done to be mean, it was just what they did.

While Forest grew as a character, Claire remained a whiny, entitled asshat. The only "consequence" she dealt with for her actions was zilch. Other fans suffered because of her behavior though.

I need to end this damn review because I just want to wash my brain out with bleach and pretend this epic clusterfuck NEVER happened.

Fandom, at its best, is a supportive community that gives every outsider a place to belong. The few years I spent immersed in the LoTR fandom were some of the best, and I've maintained some close friendships to this day. Thankfully, our corner of fandom was comprised of mostly older women who knew how to BEHAVE with respect. Unfortunately fandom has become pretty damn toxic, and as an old school geek chick, I don't have the patience to deal with it.

Too bad this book centered on the toxic aspects rather than the beautiful and creative side of fandom. Those of us who still love geeky things and show that love through writing, art, attending cons - it still is a beautiful experience. Unfortunately, the entitled Claires/Clays of the world exist and seem hell-bent on ruining it.
Profile Image for Bethany (Beautifully Bookish Bethany).
2,198 reviews3,672 followers
April 8, 2018
Oh my goodness, I love everything about this book! I really needed something fun and this was just perfect, and surprisingly nuanced as well. Ship It is in many ways a love letter to fangirls and to awkward teenagers who are trying to figure out who they are. Claire is a 16-year-old girl who is kind of a loner but writes slash fan-fiction based on her current favorite TV show Demon Heart. But when she attends a convention panel and asks about her "ship" of the two male leads (wanting to know if the characters will come out as gay), she is laughed at by one of the actors. This quickly becomes a PR nightmare that the show tries to fix by taking her on a convention tour, and hijinks ensue!

Claire is such a great character and I loved watching her grow, discover who she is, and find her voice. She is so passionate and outspoken, which I completely relate to. Especially as a teen girl, that can make it hard to make friends, but we really see how valuable it is regardless.

We also get the perspective of one of the actors in the show and I loved the nuance that brought to the story. The creator side is what really turns this into a dialogue about art, fandom, and the role that fans play in television, especially today with social media and digital technology. I expected this to just be a light YA book, but the author actually weaves in some significant and relevant discussions that are taking place today about the shifting industry and whether fans should have any influence at all on the direction things take in the object of their fandom. There aren't clear conclusions, but I appreciated the discussion and loved how both characters in the book came to empathize with the other side.

This is also a very queer book on multiple levels, and even includes some discussion of intersectionality in fandom and in queerness in terms of race and gender. I thought that was fantastic and really well done. And the fact that sexuality is complicated and it's okay if it takes awhile to figure it out and don't want to label it!

Oh, and did I mention that it's really funny and super adorable too? This book just made my heart happy and made my convention-going, cosplay-wearing inner fangirl feel very seen and appreciated. So if any of those things apply to you, I highly recommend this book! I received an e-arc of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Carolyne.
232 reviews11 followers
May 26, 2018
I can't say I expected something else when I finished Ship It by Britta Lundin. I got exactly what I expected when I first read the synopsis for a book about a '16 year old fan girl who is obsessed with the show called Demon Heart', who meets an actor from the show at a panel and asks him about her favorite slash pairing from that show. Everything after that is handled poorly, from how Forest handles himself, to how Claire handles herself, to the the far fetched plot that just wouldn't quit.

Ship It is marketed at being a relatable read about what it's like to be a fan girl. Ship It draws heavily from Supernatural and the Supernatural fandom. It's expressed by Tess and a few other fans that Demon Heart has many of the same issues that Supernatural has; every female character is killed off in a season or two, there's not a lot of representation for people of color, and sexuality is very under represented as well expect for a lot of queer baiting. Claire's fan fiction can be found throughout the story, both for her ship of Heart and Smokey and 'real people fic' for Rico and Forest. Those can mostly be skimmed over or skipped entirely as they don't have much to do with the plot.

Claire is the worst example of a fan girl. She's like Cath from Rainbow Rowell's FanGirl, only Claire manages to make Cath look like saint with her self entitled, holier-than-thou attitude.There were a few instances where I did find her character relatable; questioning her own sexuality, isolation from her peers, finding someone who shares her enthusiasm for certain things. Her interaction with Tess made Claire's character so much better and it brought out the best in Claire most times Tess was around. Their relationship, while they were getting along, was the best thing in this book. Claire would ruin most of it with her obsession with 'sticking it to the man' by trying to do right by her ship. Claire goes to great lengths for SmokeHeart and she's willing to throw almost anyone under the bus even if it's the one person she's starting to have an honest connection with, just for a chance to get what she wants. She goes out of her way to make Forest, the actor for Smokey, uncomfortable with her constant declarations that Smokey is in love with Heart, despite Forest confirming over and over that the character isn't gay. She winds up writing very descriptive fan fiction, depicting Forest and Rico in a sexual relationship while delving some personal information about Forest that he didn't want people to know. Claire just calls him an asshole for not understanding though she doesn't' seem to understand her intention for doing any of this until Tess talks her through it.

Forest isn't a great character either and he does come across as very unprofessional and homophobic when it comes to dealing with Claire. He stoops to the same childish behavior Claire does; throwing tantrums on stage, calling her 'crazy' during a panel, and attempting to start a lynch mob against her when he lost his job. While it did feel good, to some extent to see Claire get her sand castle kicked over, his reaction with tweeting that Clare is to blame entirely felt a little too much. By the novels resolution, he accepts SmokeHeart for what it is (a playful romp through green pastures for some) and makes out with Rico for the fan girls. I really didn't feel much for his character. Where Claire was over dramatic and enthusiastic and confident, Forest was just sort of there and bland.

I knew Claire was 'going to learn her lesson', but it still felt like at the end of it, Claire still justified her actions, that what she did was 'right' and completely worth it. She did acknowledge that her ship would never happen, but so many people, in so many words, told her that since the beginning. She completely overlooked how uncomfortable it made certain people feel, at the lengths she'd go, at the expense of her ship, almost costing one their career and one their entire friend group. There were apologies given out, but they were just so small potatoes given what life ruining things happened or could have happened. Since this is fiction, everything turned out for the best. Within 2 months everything was cool between all of them; Forest gets a gig on another show and Tess is open to a relationship with Claire despite how horribly the two treated each other. Claire gets to moderate a panel at Comic-Con and she's confident enough to just come out in front of a large audience, moving the audience to tears with her confession even after saying a few minutes before hand she's not ready to come out yet. Everyone got their happy ending, no repercussions, no awkwardness between anyone, just happy little lessons and inspiring speeches from Claire on how you gotta be true to yourself. While everything had this cheesy, heartfelt, feel good vibes, it felt totally undeserved by everyone involved.

The ending tried to play off what Claire did was really for the Black Lives Matter and Gay Pride movements. I get that with Tess in her life now, she'd be more woke to those issues, but Claire always put her ship first before gay pride and any race issues her show had. It just never seemed to be her first priority despite how much talk she talked towards the end.

There's so many problems with this book that have already been brought up in other reviews. It does well with it's representation, but it's not nearly enough for it to hold a candle to a lot of other stuff that's being released. If you're looking for a more fluffy read with a girl questioning her sexuality try Star-Crossed by Barbra Dee, it has little drama and a happy ending. For a read that deals more with fandom stuff that feels more true to what fandom is, I can't recommend Eliza and her Monsters by Francesca Zappia enough.

Torn between a 1 and a 2. There's things I did actually like about this book, but there's too many toxic vibes coming from many of the characters that I can't give it any more.

Review to come once I've let this sink in.

Profile Image for Chiara.
875 reviews219 followers
July 1, 2018
A copy of this novel was provided by Hachette Australia for review.


1) How much Britta Lundin got fandom

I really like reading stories about characters with fandoms they’re passionate about because they hit very close to home. I have fandoms I’m passionate about, and ships I ship. And the way Lundin wrote about fandom and shipping… it was clear that it was something she understands. She wrote the feelings that come along with loving something so much, and wanting a ship to happen so bad incredibly well. I loved it.

2) The writing style

The writing style flowed very well, and I was able to devour about a hundred pages every time I sat down to read Ship It.


1) The ship

There was no way I could ever be on board with the ship in Ship It. Claire and Tess were, quite frankly, horrible to each other, and I would have preferred their romance to begin and end at the con, with both of them parting ways and realising that they weren’t good for each other. Because they weren’t. They didn’t hold each other or themselves accountable for their harmful actions, and even when they did apologise to one another it was half-assed and clear that they were doing it because they wanted an apology in return, as well.

Both girls harm each other in potentially irreparable ways, and I never felt like they actually understood that. Tess never understood that she outed Claire to her mum. Her mother could have been a raging queerphobe who kicked Claire out of the house for that. And did Tess ever really think of that? No. Did she take it for granted that Claire’s mum was actually okay with it? Hell yes.

And Claire. Claire told Tess’s friends that Tess was super into the show they both loved, even though Tess had told her that her friends wouldn’t understand. But then Claire just randomly told them because she thought that Tess shouldn’t be ashamed of the thing she loves. And sure, maybe she shouldn’t. But it wasn’t Claire’s decision to tell Tess’s friends. Did Claire think about the fact that Tess could lose her entire group of friends? No. Did she take it for granted that her friends were actually okay with it in the end? Hell yes. I really couldn’t get over these two instances of harm and lack of accountability on both ends. These girls are not good for each other, and I was in no way shipping it.

2) The shit Claire did

I totally understand wanting queer rep in the media, and I totally understand how much queerbaiting sucks to the end of time. But would I do the things Claire did in Ship It to try and make it happen? Ah, no. Claire really went over the top in the things she was willing to do to make her Destiel – sorry, SmokeHeart – ship happen. She waited outside the writer’s hotel room, she hacked the writer’s Twitter account, she wrote real life fic about the actors. She just did so many inappropriate things. And yet she thought they were the right things to do. I suppose she is only sixteen. But in this make believe story she actually had the opportunity to talk to people working on the show about queer rep. And she didn’t go about it in the right way.

3) Forest

I wish there had been more to Forest’s character. He starts off as a huge queerphobe who hates Claire. And by the end he thinks Claire is cute, and is shipping her with Tess, and is suddenly not a queerphobe anymore because Claire showed him some cute GIFs on Tumblr. Where was the character development here? Because I’m pretty sure people don’t just turn a new leaf cause of some cute GIFs. There was a hint towards the end that Forest’s queerphobia was likely internalised but then he didn’t even want to explore it. There was no exploration. In fact he was pawned off in a random relationship with a girl that he had never spoken one word to in the pages of Ship It. Yikes.


All in all, Ship It wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be. It certainly had potential to get there, but there were just too many things that I couldn’t look beyond.

© 2018, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.

trigger warning:ableism, use of ableist language, misuse of personal information (Claire writes a real person fic about Forest, using information he gave to her in a private conversation), queerphobia, homophobia, non-consensual touching (Claire's semi-boyfriend touches her without her consent), non-consensual outing (Tess outs Claire to Claire's mother without Claire's consent), reference to racism, internalised queerphobia, ageism, sexism
Profile Image for CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian.
1,154 reviews1,466 followers
May 16, 2018
So great! Super adorable girl/girl teen romance that also feels very real and flawed (with an on-the-page pansexual identified character!). I really liked how Lundin resisted the urge to make her characters 'good.' Not only does this book deal beautifully with fandom, shipping, fan fic, and geek culture (the good, bad, and ugly), it's also a thoughtful exploration of a questioning teen. You have to suspend your disbelief a bit with some plot points, but this didn't bother me at all.

Perhaps my favourite moment was when Claire, the MC, is making out with a girl for the first time and she thinks 'oh shit, I don't know what to do next. Why haven't I been reading more femslash??'
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,509 reviews29.4k followers
May 13, 2020
2.5, maybe 2.75 stars.

Sometimes a book has the best of intentions but loses its way trying to get there.

Sixteen-year-old Claire lives a fairly lonely existence in her small town in Idaho. She doesn't quite fit in with anyone; her one "friend" is the girl she sits next to on the school bus who reads her bible the whole ride and doesn't say a word to her. Claire's one source of comfort is the fantasy television show Demon Heart .

She is so obsessed with the show that she writes fan fiction, or more specifically, slash fiction (fan fiction that pairs two characters of the same sex), about the show's two main characters, Smokey and Heart. She's fairly well-known among fans of the show; in fact, her Tumblr page has a very healthy number of followers.

When Claire learns that the two actors who play Smokey and Heart will be appearing at a local Comic-Con, she can't wait to meet them, and ask the show's creator whether the sexual tension between the two characters is imagined by so many of the show's fans, or whether the chemistry is intentional, and if they plan to bring that aspect of their relationship on to the show. She gets the chance to ask such a question during a panel discussion, and Forest Reed, the actor who plays Smokey, literally laughs at her and says she's crazy, which devastates her. Forest asserts that there's no way his character could be gay, and there's certainly no way he plays it that way.

But when the clip of Claire's question and Forest's reaction goes viral, the show's producers realize they're in trouble with their fans and the LGBTQ community, so they get Claire to be their guest at the next two ComicCons on their publicity tour. Their hope is that Claire will be starstruck and eventually will forget about her issues with Forest's response. But they don't count on how seriously Claire takes the idea that Smokey and Heart should be gay, and that LGBTQ representation really matters. It's not long before Forest, Claire, and the show's creator, Jamie, are in a bit of a battle, with each one trying to foil the other.

Meanwhile, as Claire becomes more and more insistent, she is also struggling with an identity crisis of her own, when she keeps running into Tess, a pansexual artist, who clearly is interested in Claire. But does Claire know what her heart wants? Would pursuing a flirtation with Tess, who thinks she should drop the idea of Smokey and Heart's sexuality becoming canon, distract her from her focus? Will Forest's exposure to the show's fans and fanfic help him better understand why such representation might be important to the LGBTQ community?

I loved the concept of Ship It . I'll admit I've read some slash fiction over the years and I do think it's good that the fantasy/superhero world is becoming more open to characters who are queer, gender fluid, etc. But I really found Claire's character to be utterly unrealistic and just way too entitled, plus I didn't like the way she treated other people, including Tess. The actions of other characters were a little questionable, too.

Others have enjoyed this, so it might have just rubbed me the wrong way. I loved the ideas on which the book was built, but I just didn't think the execution worked. Oh well...

Check out my list of the best books I read in 2019 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2019.html.

Check out my list of the best books of the decade at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/my-favorite-books-of-decade.html.

See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.

Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.
Profile Image for Eeva.
828 reviews40 followers
October 17, 2018
This book is exactly the thing that gives fangirls a bad name.
I was so excited to read it. It started out really good and it was super promising but it turned out so so SO bad.
I rolled my eyes so much that I almost saw my brain.

Ok, a bit of background:
This book is basically based on one specific moment from a Supernatural JerseyCon Panel in 2013.
A fan asked Jensen Ackles about sexy vibes between Dean and Castiel and Jensen told her not to spoil the show for everyone.
The girl run away in tears, Jensen faced some backlash, was accused of being a homophobe etc. But tbh nothing really happened afterwards.
So that's what happened in real life.
This book starts there and goes one step further - Claire - THE FANGIRL - not only runs away crying because OMG the actor spoiled her little fantasy but actually makes a difference. She gets asked to join the crew for another comiccons (like that would happen in real life) and decides to persuade (FORCE) the show's creator to turn his characters gay, becuse SHE FEELS the chemistry between them.

And that's where my main problem with this books starts.
I can overlook the fact that the MC is unlikable, entitled bitch, that forces her views and fantasies on everyone around her, that patronises people who don't know her precious show. I could live with that, tbh.
What I can't live with is the fact that she has this little fantasy in her head and she makes it her life's mission to fulfil it. She wants to persuade the show's writer/creator to do what she wants and trust me, she will use everything she can to achieve that.
In the end she ruins everything around her, she messes with people's lives, their jobs, their livelyhoods. She writes porn fanfic about her actor friend and gets mad that he has a problem with it being on the internet.
Does she learn from it? OF COURSE SHE DOESN'T.

This book basically shows that there are no boundries between fiction and reality. That WE THE FANS have a real influence when in fact we don't and we shouldn't. That's why there are fanfics and fanrt.
This book is the worst potrait of the worst sort of fans - entitled people who think they own the story, that they can do what they want with it JUST BECAUSE THEY'RE FANS.

I would give this book zero stars if I could.
Profile Image for Christina (Ensconced in Lit).
984 reviews287 followers
February 25, 2018
I absolutely loved this book! The characters were great, and loved books about fandoms. Claire was a great and interesting protagonist going through a clear arc about friendship, love, and discoveries about her own sexuality. Forest, the other protagonist, is the hero of the show that Claire writes fanfic about, and he has a lot of growth to do as well. I loved the side characters, Forest's cast mate, and the adorable love interest for Claire. Claire's mom was another great character. The pacing is great, I sped through the pages and read it in a night. The setup was terrific with the Q and A, and I loved the setting of the Cons. It's literally a love letter to fans and the LGBTQIA community, and I just adored it. Everyone needs to read it!
Profile Image for Ariadna.
423 reviews18 followers
May 6, 2018
Actual rating is 0.2 out of 5.

The only two things I liked about this book:

1. Love interest was a pansexual WOC

2. There was some cute banter.

For a spoiler-heavy review that outlines the rest of this garbage novel, I will now refer y'all to this BRILLIANT review

TL;DR: Don't waste your time. This book is terribs wish fulfillment with gross fannish entitlement on top
Profile Image for Hannah Woycik.
138 reviews35 followers
May 5, 2018
Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for my honest review.

Bleh. I should’ve known that a book by a Riverdale writer would be annoying and problematic. I have lots of feelings and I’m not completely settled on my 3-star rating. I’d even say if Goodreads allowed half stars, I’d give it 2.5 which is very disappointing, seeing as it’s been compared to some of my favourite books (Queens of Geek, Geekerella, Fangirl, Eliza and Her Monsters) AND the fabulous Mackenzi Lee called it “one of the good ones”.

Spoiler alert: it’s not.

I was so excited for this book. Come on: a book about queer fangirls with awesome rep? Sign me up!
If you want that, read any of the books listed above instead.

Let’s break this down bullet point style because I have too many things to say:

• Rico, my innocent cinnamon roll
• Trudi and Chuck (the main character’s parents)
• uhhhh
• Rico
• The writing style *heart eyes*
• The nerdy references
• did i mention Rico

Okay, when it’s all out there, there wasn’t much that I liked. Rico was literally the only character I actually enjoyed reading about, and who didn’t make me roll my eyes.

• Claire, the main fucking character
• Tess, the love interest
• Forest, the other main character
• Caty, the ACTUAL PYSCOPATHIC social media manager person or whatever
• Every single character could drop dead and I wouldn’t give a shit tbh
• THAT NOBODY’S ACTIONS HAD CONSEQUENCES *insert that vine* https://youtu.be/z2s56IQzsBE
• fucking dumbshit Claire

Writing this is making me really want to lower my rating. Lol.

Okay let’s get into some details. Claire Strupke is a hardcore fangirl for the (like I said above) demon-hunting-teenage-heartthrobs-Supernatural-rip-off TV show called Demon Heart. And yes, the show is about a demon named Heart who, you guessed it, is the only demon who has a heart.
Wow. So creative. Such imagination.

Claire finds out that the actors of Demon Heart, Forest Reed and Rico Quiroz, and the showrunner, Jamie Davies, are coming to the Comic-Con near her town. She somehow convinces her hippie artist (and probably stoner) parents, Chuck and Trudi, to let her go, so off Claire and Trudi go.

Long story short: Claire goes to a Demon Heart panel, is her obnoxious, annoying self, and has this whole thing with Forest Reed in front of everyone. Forest calls the fans of Demon Heart ‘crazy’ and Claire leaves the panel in tears, which made me chuckle tbh.

The publicity team for the show goes into overdrive and they form a plan to get host a contest, but Claire is the only entry, so she of course wins. Claire wins the chance to travel with the Demon Heart team to the rest of their convention stops and do social media stuff to make them look better.
Stay with me here. You’re just going to have to expand your limits of belief.

So, Claire and her mom join them on the tour bus off they go. I honestly can’t remember what cities they go to, but I think it’s Portland and then Seattle.

Oh, there’s also this girl Claire meets back in line for the panel, a chubby black girl called Tess, and they exchange Tumblr URLs. Claire realizes from Tess’s bio that Tess is pansexual. Okay, a chubby black pansexual girl. Rep for the win. Claire also realizes she thinks Tess is hot as hell (well, she doesn’t say that, but she might as well have).

The rest of the book is filled with pretty unmemorable events, so I’ll just gloss over those: Claire and Forest fight, Claire and Tess go on a date and make out, Claire and Forest fight, Claire writes sexytime fanfiction, Claire and Forest fight, Claire’s mom is funny and nice, and Claire is mean to her, etc. etc.

Now we’re at the last thirty or so percent of the book. Claire has been obsessively trying to get Jamie Davies to change HIS show to represent what SHE wants, and she even resorts to hacking his Twitter account (with the help of Caty, mentioned above), changing his banner to smutty fanart, and tweeting nice things about the Demon Heart fans. Uh, okay, this is officially insane. And sure, Jamie admits to queerbaiting with Smokey and Heart (ick) to get more viewers, but like, just stop watching the show then, Claire. You can’t force people to write their shows for you. There’s a reason fanfiction exists.

OH MY GOSH. How could I forget to mention? There’s a scene in, I think, Seattle? Claire and Tess have gone to sushi place to talk, I forget about what or when this scene happened. Whatever. Anyways, they’re talking, and Tess’s friends show up, because of course they do. Why is everything so damn convenient in this book? So Tess invites them to sit with them and she becomes a completely different person, which Claire is confused about, but then figures out is because Tess’s friends don’t know she’s a total nerd. Also, somehow this group of “tank top and heels” wearing, skinny, white girls, are friends with Tess. This doesn’t add up, tbh, because she obviously doesn’t fit in with their clique.

Claire eventually decides to tell Tess’s friends about her Demon Heart obsession, which honestly isn’t that embarrassing in the year 2018 and literally should not have been such a big deal. Tess asks Claire to talk privately so they step outside, which leads to them yelling in the street and Tess outing Claire to her mom, who shows up during the fight.

“Your daughter’s gay.”

This will sit with me for a while. Tess, a pansexual girl, who claims to have been discriminated against for multiple things, has just OUTED A QUESTIONING PERSON. This is DISGUSTING and quite frankly, I wanted to stop reading right then and there.

A lot of other stuff happens, like Forest and Rico kissing during a panel (and I honestly feel like Forest and Rico were queerbait because Forest ends up with Caty after the two dudes kissed and Forest felt SPARKS AND ALL THIS GAY SHIT. But nope. Wow, Britta Lundin, did you base Jamie Davies off yourself???). Claire moderates this panel and then after being asked by a 10-year-old fangirl how to respond to mean people about writing fanfiction, Claire launches into this ridiculous rant about who-fucking-knows-what. I don’t even remember. It was lame and ended with her coming out as queer. Which is cool, but she’s still a terrible person.

Claire and Tess both apologize (right…because telling somebody that you like an “embarrassing” tv show is the same as OUTING someone. Bullshit.) and they make out in front of everyone.
Hold on a second. *opens Goodreads* *changes rating for Ship It from 3 to 2 stars*. Okay, I’m back. That’s better.

Well, I think that about wraps it up. Overall, I adored the first 25% and I was expecting it to be a 5-star rating, but it fell quickly and boy howdy am I livid. Lol.

Would not recommend.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jenni Frencham.
1,284 reviews52 followers
November 17, 2017
A story of fandoms, fanfic, and finding yourself.

Claire is obsessed with the show DemonHeart; she has watched each episode multiple times, reads all the fanfic, and even writes some of her own. She couldn't be more excited when she finds out that the actors will be at the local ComicCon. When Claire uses the Q&A time at the panel to ask about a possible relationship between the two main characters - both male - she couldn't be more disappointed by the actor's reaction. Now Claire is determined to make her dream a reality, no matter the cost.

This book is told from two perspectives - Claire's and Forest's. Forest is one of the main actors on DemonHeart; he is a young actor without much experience and is really hoping for a starring role in an upcoming show based off of his favorite video game. He is beyond frustrated when Claire wins the "contest" to join the actors on the rest of their ComicCon tour. Meanwhile Claire met a nice girl at the Boise con and is seeing her at later events as well. She really enjoys spending time with her new friend, but does that mean she's a lesbian?

This book is cute and fun and funny. It's great to watch Forest grow as he learns about the fans that follow his show. Claire grows quite a lot, too, throughout the book, and discovers that although you can't always get what you want, you might still be able to help someone else get what they need. Claire's artist parents are hilarious and embarrassing and wonderfully supportive throughout the whole escapade.

I have teens at my library already clamoring for this book, and it isn't expected to be published until May 2018. Highly recommended

Recommended for: teens
Red Flags: some of Claire's fanfic is a bit explicit; some language issues
Overall Rating: 5/5

Bonus points for intersectionality! There is an African-American character who describes herself as "homoromantic pansexual."

Read-Alikes: Tash Hearts Tolstoy, Fangirl, Carry On

I received a complimentary copy of this novel through NetGalley for the purposes of review.
Profile Image for Kit Frick.
Author 9 books565 followers
March 3, 2018
Britta Lundin's SHIP IT is absolutely delightful, and hoooboy does it break all the YA rules in a really exciting way. First off, I learned so much about fandom, and you can tell right away you're in fantastic hands with Lundin--she knows the world of TV writing and fandom culture inside and out, and she's absolutely the right creator for this book. Things I never see done in YA (and I read *a lot* of YA) that Lundin pulls off seamlessly in SHIP IT: 1) the book is dual-POV (Demon Heart megafan and blogger, Claire, and Demon Heart star, Forest)--and we get a twenty-three-year-old as one of our protagonists. Forest is young and definitely has a lot of growing to do, but he's an *adult,* and having an out-of-high-school (and in deed out-of-college) adult as a POV character is totally rule-breaking for YA, and I love it. 2) We get Claire's fanfic as part of the narrative, which is an immersive inside look into her fandom and world, and never have I ever seen so much on-page slash in YA. It's totally boundary-pushing and awesome.

But the absolute best thing about SHIP IT is the way in which Lundin creates a textured, three-dimensional world for Demon Heart, both the show and the fandom. It's impossible not to get swept up in Claire and Forest's world. Readers will absolutely ship SmokeHeart.
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