Is "Ship It" By Britta Lundin The Perfect Summer Reading for A Fangirl?

The first time "Ship It" caught my eye was when I was looking for new releases in 2018  and because the main theme is fandom and shipping. However, unlike your usual books, this had potential to treat these topics in a positive way and so a copy had made it into my basket within a heartbeat.

"Yeah, but what is "Ship It" even about?" I hear you ask.

Claire is a passionate fan of the show "Demon Heart" and ships the two main characters. This means that she sees a chemistry between them and likes to imagine that it would make a great romantic relationship. She expresses these views by writing and publishing fanfiction on Ao3 and tumblr.

However, her shipping is not limited to those pages on the internet. "Demon Heart" announces that they take part in a convention near her, and during a panel Claire asks about the possibility of her ship becoming a reality. The response is less than enthusiastic: the producer deflects the question and the actor playing Smokey, Forrest shoots her down by stating that "No disrespect to people who are [gay], but Smokey definitely isn't. [....] She's crazy."

This answer does not go down well in the fandom. Thus in an effort to move their publicity into a better light, the PR crew takes Claire along on their tour. They want Claire to use her large following and blog about the experience. At the same time, Claire follows her own agenda which is to make "SmokeHeart" a reality on the screen!

While on tour, Claire starts to learn a lot about the life as an actor, discovers a new side of herself and meets Tess - also a fangirl and quickly becoming a friend.

What this book really excels in is that it is one of the few reads that presents fandom and "fangirling" in a positive light. It isn't made fun of, but unashamedly portrays it as something perfectly normal and positive. It sheds a light on the positive aspects of fandom, such as the relationships - friendship and otherwise - that are built through it, that it gives people a comfort space, and the creative arts involved in it.

"Ship It" touches on important topics in the media industry that are usually overlooked or passed off as "crazy fan ramblings" by mainstream media. Claire points out that "SmokeHeart" has great potential in regards to queer representation in main stream media without the plot being influenced. Reading the part where Claire explains her arguments to Jamie - the producer of the show - and hearing the way he avoids answering I couldn't help but feel that a parallel to what happened with BBC's Sherlock years ago. The series also had great potential of offering a LGBT+ couple on screen without this being the main focus, and especially views of the LGBT+ community ate it up. As we know now, the show ended up in the ditch and it was nothing more than queer-baiting - which is a topic that is also mentioned in "Ship It." While I was a bit taken aback at the moment, I loved that it had been put in there and that sometimes it is even done on purpose.

Furthermore, it also mentions the representation of race in main stream media. There is a scene in which Jamie complains that he had to cast a non-white actor just so that "people like Claire" would be happy. Tess is of colour and explains to Claire that it was annoying to never really have anyone like her in any show that she watched.

Even though this makes it sounds like heavy reading, "Ship It" really is not. It offers a light-hearted plot that moves in a comfortable pace. It is sprinkled with funny moment but also touching moments. Naturally a little bit of heartbreak can't go amiss. If it were fanfiction, I'd tag it with #fluff  and #comfort. The book is more character than plot driven but each of them offer you a different insight as you go on tour with the "Demon Heart" crew.

Sadly, even "Ship It" has a downer. In all honesty, I found neither Claire nor Forrest really likable. Claire is in my opinion a bit too brash and loud for me and in fandom the kind of person I'd think twice about following. I do realize that without these character traits the plot would not have moved forward but it still made it a bit hard to connect to her.

Forrest started out quite similar, I felt that it was very hard for me to connect with him. I bonded a bit quicker with Rico. However, Forrest has a great character development arch over the 300 pages. He starts off as a twat, seemingly only concerned with his hyper-masculinity and what people think but learns bit by bit to be more understanding towards fandom and people who are not white, straight, and male. Meanwhile, Claire pretty much finishes were she started.

The ending of the book might be unrealistic - I really could not mind because when fandom is universally more the butt of a joke and let's not get started on shipping, it was nice to pretend that an ending like this could happen because why not?

This leaves one question: is "Ship It" a book for someone who isn't familiar with fandom?

No, I wouldn't recommend it outside of fan-ish circles. Instead I am going to state that Lundin wrote the perfect summer read for any fan out there!


Ship Itby Britta Lundin
Published2018by Freeform
Pages: 384
ISBN-13:9781368003131
Goodreads:Add to shelf



16 comments :

  1. Honestly I have never been a "shipper" even for my most favourite books and TV series. In fact I have been on the other side of the table while working on a TV channel that produced fiction shows and had fans who wrote letters and discussed every frame of every romantic scene in detail. So I have always seen someone who rolls their eyes at shippers. It would be interesting to read a perspective of the other side.

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    1. The book sheds lights on both sides, but it is obviously weighed in the favour of fandom.

      P.S.: pls note that I never sent crazy ramblings to anyone outside fandom ๐Ÿ™ˆ

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  2. I have no idea what either of these genres really are, but I enjoyed your review

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  3. haha!! I haven't read this and wasn't really interested, but not I'm reconsidering. Lovely review, and I really like the pictures!

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    1. Thank you! Let me know what you thought of it

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  4. I never heard of this one, but it doesn't look like my kinda jam. I hope your next read is more enjoyable.

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  5. As much as I like fluffy stories, I'm not big into fandoms and this one doesn't sound like it's for me. I loved reading your review! :)

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    1. Thanks, and like I said if you ain't big into fandom it's probably not meant for you ...

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  6. I've never heard of the book, or the author, before. Lovely review.

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  7. I will admit I am completely lost anytime someone says they "ship" something. I hadn't heard of this book but it sounds intriguing. Great review!

    Megan - Ginger Mom and the Kindle Quest

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    Replies
    1. Maybe the book can help you understand it a bit better. Thanks for the lovely comment. Xx

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