Ship It (book)
|Country of Origin:||United States|
|External Links:||Ship It on Goodreads|
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Ship It is a YA fandom novel with a canon LGBT couple. It is heavily based on the Supernatural fandom 2013 convention incident in which a fangirl left the room crying after Jensen Ackles reportedly shushed her when she asked about Dean Winchester possibly being bisexual.  The author, Britta Lundin, was a writer on Riverdale.
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.
Claire's story revolves around her campaign to make her OTP canon and her struggles with her own sexuality upon meeting Tess. Forest's story revolves around trying to keep his career afloat amidst the PR nightmare and Claire's mission to prove to the world his character is gay and in love with his frenemy.
There are next to no actual fan works for this book, but it has attracted a significant amount of reviews and commentary from fandom. It has been compared to Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell due to its protagonist being a fangirl, but Ship It has had a much more divided and generally negative perception. Ship It has a 3.3 star rating on Goodreads.
Negative opinion often holds that Claire is unlikeable protagonist due to her entitlement and selfishness, believing she didn't suffer nearly enough consequences for her behavior: many of her attempts to make her ship canon involve harassing the production staff, hacking into the show's Twitter account, and bashing Forest and the producer on Tumblr, all culminating in her actions getting Forest fired. Her writing real-person slash about Forest based on information he shared in confidence was also highly criticized, with many feeling it was an inaccurate and extremely negative representation of RPF fandom and RPF boundaries.
The Tess/Claire relationship is criticized as mutually toxic. Claire deliberately puts her growing relationship with Tess second to pushing her SmokeHeart agenda and outs her to her school friends as a fandom nerd. In revenge, Tess angrily outs Claire as gay to her mother. The fact that Claire and Tess come back together in the end left a lot of fans unsatisfied, due to them barely dealing with the problems they caused each other.
Forest has also gotten hatred for being a "typical white straight male asshole." Other readers felt sorry for him, believing he was just a guy trying to make it in Hollywood and didn't deserve to be treated like garbage by some entitled teenager.
One review felt the book had fetishization of M/M relationships confused with actual representation. This is due to Claire's insistence that two men who shared a close bond in the show were "playing it gay" (implying that two men couldn't possibly share an intimate bond without it turning sexual and romantic) while insisting her love of Smokeheart was "not about the sex" even though most of her fanfic was pornographic.
The book does have its fans, though, who felt it truly resonated with the fangirl experience. To them, Claire's complaints about people who dismissed fanfic as "crazy" reminded them of their own experiences and the irritation that came with them. It has also been well-loved for showcasing an F/F relationship at its forefront that ultimately had a happy ending.
A few reviewers even came away hoping SmokeHeart would actually be canon, as the book showed snippets not only of the show's dialogue, but Claire's fanfiction, which she put a great deal of love and care into.
Fans who enjoyed the book have defended it on the grounds that it's not meant to be a spotless paragon of morality  and that it is possible to enjoy something with less than perfectly likeable characters.
Commentary on fandom
This book shows a darker side of fandom, even if unintentionally. Claire is seen by many as representing everything bad about fans having access to creators on social media, shipper entitlement, and appropriating actual causes and problems to further their own agenda. One big argument of Claire's was against the double standard of female fanfic writers versus male nerds, which is still a real problem in modern fandom; however, she wasn't seeking to stop the shallow double standard overall but using it as an argument for why her ship should be canon. She also argues for LGBT representation despite her heated claims that she herself is straight, while dismissing Tess's complaints about the constant fridging of POC characters (Tess is African-American).
The book tackles the issue of Queerbaiting in media, which Supernatural has been accused of doing multiple times, as well as the blurred line between "playing it gay" and the male leads simply sharing a close bond while the fans watch with their Slash goggles in place. It also discusses Fandom Is A Way Of Life versus Fandom Is Just A Goddamn Hobby, with Tess firmly being in the latter camp. She questions Claire's mission to make their OTP canon and believes writing fanfiction is enough to satisfy the craving, while Claire is a member of the former camp who sees Tess's attitude as something of a betrayal.
- Claire and Tess by siminiblocker on Tumblr
- Chiara's Review
- “Ship It” Sounds Cute but May Actually Do Shippers a Disservice by Jamie Sugah
- Funfandom blog's review