A love letter to fandom and the fans that make it up, Ship It by Britta Lundin is a timely and charming take on pop culture and self discovery.
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?
Okay, first things first. This book is just so darn cute. The characters and romance are so sweet and endearing, and I loved the unexpected dual narratives of Claire and Forest. With both perspective, the book becomes more than just a single fan’s passion — it’s about the relationship between fans and the fandom they are a part of; the content creators and the fans that support their work.
And while the book is about fandom — it’s also about self-discovery, with both Claire and Forest finding themselves learning more about themselves and they type of people they want to be.
But back to the fandom. Because at it’s heart, Ship It IS a book about fandom; what it means to be a fan and the different ways you can be a fan. That there’s no right or wrong way to love something. It also touches on what it means to be a woman — and a girl — in fandom; the way teenage girls, in particular, are treated with disdain equally by the male fans who think they are the Only Fans That Matter, and the content creators who still foolishly believe that catering to white dudes is the only way to make something successful.
Ship It really is a book that is chock-full of goodies to devour: a meet-cute F/F romance; a celebration of fandom; an exploration of sexuality, pop culture, fandom, and identity. It’s also sweet and charming and funny as hell, while still giving meaningful time to its heavier topics.
Ship It is in stores now.