Today’s post is part of the book tour with TBR and Beyond Tour’s. Down with This Ship was released on June 8th. For the rest of the tour schedule, make sure to check out their website.
Down with This Ship, Katie Kingman
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Length: 352 pages
Contains: light bullying, explicit language, pop culture references, product placement, side LGBT characters
Summary: Kole Miller does one thing really well: write fanfiction for the show The Space Game. Everything else is a struggle: like managing her anxiety, frequent crushes, and plans after high school. But when her blog, Spacer, wins a major fanfiction contest, her traffic soars.
With massive readership comes criticism Kole isn’t prepared for, including getting stuck in the heated ship wars surrounding the show. And then an invitation to speak at The Space Game’s official convention arrives in her inbox.
When the most competitive kids in her Creative Writing class discover Kole’s writing Spacer, her blog is taken hostage and she risks them hitting ctrl+A+del on Spacer. To win it back, Kole must face both
her inner demons and the ones at Crystal Lake High before they make the drama not just about The Space Game, but about Kole herself.
Including snippets from Kole’s fanfic, emails, and text messages, Down With This Ship is sure to bring out the inner fangirl in anyone.
Down With This Ship wasn’t quite my cup of tea–I’ll be sharing my complete thoughts in a later review–but here are a few highlights (pun-intended) of things I did enjoy:
But I’ve learned something. Writing fan fiction may get me a lot of readers, but in high school it isn’t exactly a one-way ticket to respect. I hear the talk about fan fiction. It’s smut for fangirls who can’t get a boyfriend. Nothing but a waste of time. They’re wrong. It’s a hobby. It’s escapism. It’s cathartic. So I’ve learned to be careful. To write only when I’m sure no one can see my screen. When no one is peeking over my shoulder. My classmates will never know, because my blog is my space-y, angsty secret.
🚢 Fan Fic Appreciation: As someone who is not particularly creative, I know writing is no small feat, so even writers whose work is, shall we say, less than stellar–and a lot of it is–deserve commendation for actually putting themselves out there and writing. (Isn’t there some advice about how the only way to write better is to write more?) Fan fiction tends to get a bad rap, but writing is writing. Besides, it seems like more and more published (some would say real) authors cut their teeth writing fan fiction. Everyone has to start somewhere, right?
A significant portion of it is dedicated to vendors selling more swag than my geeky little heart can fathom, and it’s not even all related to <I>The Space Game</I>. It’s <I>Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars</I>. Those are just the big ones. And the crowd–Ewoks, Star-Lords, Borgs, Captain Reynolds, Zeldas, Eren Jaegers, Ringwraiths. Those are just what I recognize. The only thing they share is the stardust of stories, imagined and brought to life in the hearts of geeks all over the planet.
🚢 Fandom Love: Behind all the pop culture references and geeking out over sci-fi, Down With This Ship is a look at the ways stories bring us together, which is something near and dear to my own heart. The book is a celebration of fandoms which, if you think about it, are just communities of geeks bonded together by a love for a specific story, character, world or ship.
‘And, you know, I’m really excited about your contest. That’s really great. Maybe someday you’ll be as good as writing as I am at basketball. And then maybe a boy will ask you out.’
‘Will! Stop!’ That’s not at all why I’m doing this. Not. At. All.’
‘Just kidding. But seriously though.’ He stops at the bottom of the stairs and yanks on my arm. ‘I’m proud of you’
🚢 The Miller Siblings: I love a good fictional sibling relationship, and Kole’s brother, Will, is the big brother I wish I had–teasing, protective and ultimately loyal to his little sis. It’s not an exaggeration to say he stole the show for me.
🚢 Grand Romantic Gestures: Without giving too much away, I’ll just way there are some really cute prom-posals (or whatever the equivalent is for a school dance that’s not prom) that I loved 😍
- “You’re trying to impress Daisy Bringas? Did you take Gatsby just a little too far, Damian?”
- BROODY BOY scoots closer to INTROVERT GIRL so the other students can’t hear. He looks from side to side before he speaks) Here’s the truth, INTROVERT GIRL. I don’t have a good reason for half the stuff I say. And I’m not that good at *words* hence the constant SAT practice. I truly, deeply, and devoutly need your help.
CUTE INTROVERT GIRL (wait an uncomfortably long time to respond) That’s the most words you’ve ever said to me without any sarcasm.
BROODY KNOW-IT-ALL DUDE (realizing he may have been a little too much; that he may be receiving a restraining order in the near future) Look, word and feelings hardly meet at the right moment for me.
- “So put this on your stories. Your Instagrams and TikToks. Your whatevers. I, KOLE MILLER, DON’T CARE WHO YOU SHIP. Just ship it well.”
- “Shipping is serious business for a ton of people, but it shouldn’t be so serious that we forget how to treat each other like humans. I’ve talked with fans about the meta-universe, about insta-love and plot armor and glaring CGI mistakes, but the ships are the one thing we can’t seem to agree on, and it splits us down the center.
Ship wars. invisible lines drawn in chalk by writers and actors somewhere in Hollywood, but we fan rewrite them in permanent marker. We refuse to switch sides. And when we make it personal, it’s too far.”
(Coincidentally this also happens to be Kingman’s favorite quote.)
- “I smile, memories of things I wrote filtering through my head, a highlight reel of my imagination. Things I wrote in the quiet of my room, in the bubbles of my bathtub, in the bathroom on occasion. Things I didn’t realize others were loving.
Things straight from my brain.”
About the Author:
Katie Kingman has wanted to be a writer since freshman year when her English teacher read herstory out loud. The experience was mortifying, but it led to a lifelong love of classic literature and writing fiction. She now lives, teaches, and geeks in Phoenix, Arizona, with her husband, two kids, and five cats. When not writing, she can be found gardening and scrolling Netflix for a new OTP.