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 colourful Comic-Con clashes between the fans and the show that lead Forest to question his assumptions about sexuality and help Claire come out of her shell. But how far will Claire go to make her ship canon? To what lengths will Forest go to stop her and protect his career? And will Claire ever get the guts to make a move on Tess, the very cute, extremely cool fanartist she keeps running into?
I remembered ‘wishing’ for this book on netgalley and I was a bit surprised that my wish had been granted. The reason why I wanted to read this book was because I can relate to Claire, my namesake. Like fictional Claire, I also had many ships while I was in high school. From “Supernatural” to “Harry Potter” then “Doctor Who,” I read some fan fiction and talked to other people online about various ships (mostly ships that aren’t canon).
Fictional Claire’s object of attention seems to be like a “CW Supernatural” inspired show called “Demon Heart.” You know it’s like “CW’s Supernatural” because there was a demon and demon hunter involved. And of course, fictional Claire ships a non-canon ship. She writes slash ship fan fiction (or same-sex fictional couples). I find myself skimming her fan fiction for some reason. There had been a visual excerpt of Claire’s slash ship fan fiction and I felt that it was slightly unnecessary. The author could have just written about Claire’s writing process, or few short sentences featuring Claire’s drafts as if Claire was writing and/or editing her fan fiction. This is just my opinion because I find myself disengaged every time there’s a huge portion of Demon Heart content (i.e. Claire’s fan fiction excerpt) because I’m not invested in reading her Demon Heart fan fiction. I’m invested in reading about fictional Claire’s life and her obsession with Demon Heart and fandoms in general.
However, I do like the relationship between Tess and Claire even if there were moments of immaturity. I liked the idea of people bonding over their favorite things, such as fandom related content. I think the development of Tess and Claire’s relationship is something to look forward to when reading Ship It. If you do decide to read this book, remember to have patience with fictional Claire because she’s just a teenager that often makes mistakes.
The other POV is Forest, the actor from the show. It seemed that the actor was struggling with his identity as a fan pointed out that his character (in the show) was gay. He had a pretty strong reaction to it and eventually, he was coaxed by his manager to do something about it, whilst the people involved with the creation of the show reminded him often that they own him, etc. etc.
The book explored queer-baiting and the normalization of heterosexual ships in the media (recognizing that it’s not a good thing but it’s also very real). The relationships in this book and how the characters handled their issues were also interesting. However, I neither like nor dislike this book. In fact, I just couldn’t get into it. While I do relate to fictional Claire at some level, I was never a die-hard shipper. It’s an interest (for me), but it’s more like a lifestyle for fictional Claire. Additionally, I honestly could care less about Forest’s POV. I wanted to read more books about teens who are fond of fandoms in general. I have very little to no interest in reading about how actors view ‘shipping’ and ‘fandoms.’ In general, Forest’s POV could be used for a different book (not this one). I felt that his POV was not relevant to the story.
**E-galley provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.