I think it’s safe to say we all have ‘ships that we’ve had to fight to defend. *cough Reylo cough* Anyway. This book is all about those ship wars. And I totally ship it.
Kole Miller loves writing. In fact, her writing gets more views than any other student in her creative writing class, or anyone else at her elite high school for that matter. But that’s a secret Kole is willing to take to her grave. She already lost friendships over her love of The Space Game, so telling the entire student body she writes fanfic is not on her top ten list of things to do.
But then her fanfic blows up in the best possible way when she wins an award. Suddenly, her views skyrocket and everyone is commenting, dissecting, criticizing not just her ship but her writing. Even worse, her classmates find out she’s the author and start shipping her with her classmates.
With her love life in disarray, her stress levels at an all-time high, and her future up in the air, Kole has to face all her fears head on. Or lose her dreams and her fanfic for good.
Okay so let’s just kick this off by saying, I adore the shit out of Kole. Like ADORE!!! She is exactly who I would want to be friends with in High School. And now, actually. Now that I think about it, maybe Kole is me in an alternate universe. So much about what she struggles with is so similar yet so different than what I experienced. Obviously, I didn’t have the internet. Or a blog. Or have the confidence as my girl. But wanting to write and not feeling good enough. Or that my parents wouldn’t approve. Bingo bango yes.
So maybe I’m biased, but right from the start, Kole just felt so real to me. And I loved being on this journey with her.
That’s not to say the rest of the cast was lacking. Because wow did every character just pop off the page. I swear I know every single one of them in real life. I mean, who hasn’t been dazzled by the hot new guy, or had a complicated enemy-maybe-friend, along with outright enemies that just make life miserable. High School aside, I swear these dynamics happen everywhere all the time no matter what.
And that’s what makes this book so freaking good. It’s relatable on so many levels. You don’t have to be a teenager, or a writer of fan fiction to really understand Kole and what she’s going through. We’ve all had times when we don’t feel good enough, even when we have actual evidence that’s not true. Or have been confused over what we want, or who we want, or how to even deal with either option.
Anyway. Outside of the personal dynamics and Kole’s struggle, I think this book did a marvelous job at showing the ups and downs of fandoms and social media. It can be such a rush to find fans to connect with, who share the same opinions as you. But man, when you crash into other teams, things can get intense.
In all, this is such a sweet book that will make you release the breath you didn’t know you were holding. It’s funny and quirky in all the best ways. Anyone into geek culture, particularly fan fiction, will love all the nerdy facets that Kingman weaves throughout the story. It has the best ending, I swear the glasses. THE GLASSES!!! When you know, you’ll know. And then you’ll ship it too.
If you’re looking for a fun read this summer, I’d highly recommend Down With This Ship.
Five nerdy stars!
Thank you to TBR and Beyond Tours and Flux Books for sending me this adorable copy and including me on this tour!
Content warning: Light bullying
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.
Katie Kingman has wanted to be a writer since freshman year when her English teacher read her story 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.