As I think I've mentioned before, fan fiction and the whole fan community thing is not something I'm really familiar with. Although I think, if it had existed when I was growing up, I would have been right in there. There's something about it that feels like it would have suited my slightly obsessive nature...
So I can't claim to be an expert on how these things work and how much of this book is real to that world and how much is fantasy or made up to make a more compelling story. But I did enjoy reading this book, despite the main character, Claire, being kind of a pain in the ass. She's an uber-fan of a TV show called Demon Heart and writes homo-erotic fan fiction about the two male leads. Her fic is very popular within the Demon Heart fan community where there seem to be a lot of people willing to believe these two guys are only a wet-eyed glance away from falling into each other's arms (or beds).
Forest is the young actor who plays one half of the male duo Claire 'ships'. Not a social media user, he's completely unaware there are people out there who are reading his character as anything other than 100% straight. So when Claire brings up the question at a convention, he's flummoxed and reacts badly, lashing out at her for even bringing it up as a possibility.
With a PR nightmare on their hands, the show's publicists leap into action to placate their small, but very important fan base. And because Claire is an outspoken and popular member of the online fan community, she's selected to join the convention tour to try and win back the fan base that may have been lost by Forest's homophobic comments. Claire agrees, mainly because she's desperate to get to the show's creator, the only one who can make the fantasy she's spun about these characters a reality.
I liked that Claire was uncertain about her own sexuality throughout the book. She meets a cute fan artist at the first convention and they keep meeting up. Their attraction is mutual, but Tess is wholly comfortable with her sexuality and Claire still isn't sure where she sits on the spectrum. This causes friction between them and more than a few misunderstandings.
Forest was an interesting character too as he learned about what it's like to be an actor on a popular show and have people making assumptions about you as a person based on a character you portray. His ineptitude with social media felt refreshing because it meant he was completely innocent of how the fans perceived him and his character. Which lead to him making some big changes in himself, his plans for the future and the way he sees the world.
The lengths Claire is willing to go to to get what she wants are hilarious, and somewhat frightening. Fandom can go too far, methinks...
I'd cautiously recommend this one. I think if you're part of this community, you might find a lot wrong with the book and the way fandom is portrayed. But not being part of the community, I didn't pick up on the inaccuracies (although bringing the cause of your PR nightmare on tour with you seems far-fetched to this marketing professional) and could just enjoy the ride.
But don't just listen to me. Here's the blurb:
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.