Cover Image: Down with this Ship

Down with this Ship

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Member Reviews

Kole Miller is an avid writer and a huge fan of the the television show The Space Game. She's more than that though. She's the anonymous writer behind Spacer, the most popular blog about the show and the repository of her own fanfiction. She's got a cute new neighbor, a best friend as obsessed with the show as she is, and a rival who may be something more than that. What could go wrong? 

I really loved the premise of this book. The potential of a book with a main character who is immersed in fandom and fanfic is right up my alley. But this book did not engage me the way I expected. I thought I would love this book but I don't have such a strong feeling for it. 

I didn't feel the characters were very three-dimensional. We don't get much back story on any of them. There are hints about Noah and Colin but not very much at all. Colin has signs of perfectionism and a challenging relationship with his parents but it's not explored much at all. And even Kole's relationship with her parents, which is hinted at, is not fleshed out much at all before the very end when it is. bit unexpected and rushed. I don't feel like these characters changed or developed much in the course of the book. 

The love triangle felt a little forced at times and a bit unbelievable at others. 

Damian was a character I felt was truly more of a caricature. I didn't like his stalkerish tendencies and I think making him from an overly religious family was a questionable decision. It was awkward to read. 

I love that fanfiction and fandom were represented. They were really central to the plot itself. Which is why I was surprised that we don't see a more realistic portrayal of fandom here. I think some of the plot points revolving around that were too far-fetched and unrealistic. Particularly the con scenes at the end. It also made the interaction with other fans online very all or none--people were either gushing or "anti's" or bullies. This isn't how it usually is--there are so many shades of grey between those extremes. Fandom friendships and interactions are common and can be supportive and rich in camaraderie regarding the ship/show/fandom. 

Overall I think this will be an enjoyable book to many. It has a good pace and an engaging idea. The writing is solid. There was body positivity and celebration of geek culture and supportive sibling interactions, which are all great. I did not personally connect to it as much as I expected to from the premise and my familiarity with fandom in general was a bit at odds with how it was portrayed here. 

My thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC of this book. This is my honest review.
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Okay. This was absolutely adorable. 

First, the characters were just 👌
And the relationships between the characters AHH
I loved to read and "see" how the relationship with her mother developed!! Her friendship with her BFF is actual goals!!  Okay, that teacher though, please transfer to my school and teach me!! And the romance! AH adorable, nice enemies to lovers and allllllllll. The sort of taunting thing they have going on is very entertaining. Reminds me of like Tweet Cute or something :)

Second, the writing. I actually really really enjoyed the writing style of this book :)

Third, the plot. I also really really enjoyed the plot. It was mediocrely fast-paced. Like wasn't the MOST fast-paced book but it wasn't  s l o w. It was a very good pace, actually.

I honestly don't know what else to write about this book. It was very cutesy and nice and fluffy to read. SOmething to brighten my day haha. 

I loved this so much and highly recommend it to fans of Eliza and Her Monsters, Fangirl, The Extraordinaries :)
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Thank you to netgalley for providing me an arc of this book!

This was sweet, I guess. The geek in me really enjoyed the fandom aspects of this book. Also, academic rivals to lovers??? Sign me the hell up. I also really liked Kole's relationship with her brother. It was really cute.
This was really forgettable. I know I am never gonna want to reread this or even think about this again. It was fun while I was reading it but I am probably never going to revisit it. The writing was incredibly juvenile. It read like middle grade rather than YA. With that being said, I don't regret reading this so that's that lol.

>> 2.5 stars
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I’ve been grinning stupidly and inwardly squealing for most of this book. It was cute, funny, dorky, frustrating... I went through a range of emotions. 

I used to write fanfiction as well, and maybe that’s why I enjoyed this book so much. I didn’t really talk about it except with a couple of friends, for a lot of the same reasons Kole didn’t - I knew I would be judged and made fun of. As I grew up, I realized I didn’t care what anyone thought, but by then it had mostly run its course. So on a personal level, this book really connected with me. 

I love that Kole is a geek, but still attractive and able to pull boys. I love that she’s quirky and weird and relatable. I just... I really liked this book. This book made me smile and sometimes that’s all that’s needed.
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In the beginning I wasn't sure if this book would be enjoyable to me. It was hard to take the problem our main character Kole goes through seriously but the friendship and later relationship between Colin and Kole really made all the difference. It became a fun and lighthearted read that I ended up enjoying because of the cute moments they shared and I am sucker for academic rivals to lovers. 

It also offered a lot of references to today's popular culture and as someone who has always been involved with in internet culture - it was cool. The book is a hit or miss depending on the demographic. It can be seen as cheesy but it's amazing for what it is and it shouldn't be taken too seriously. I recommend it as a light read.
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Kole Miller spends every possible minute writing for her fan fiction blog, Spacer - aka fixing the mistakes made by the writers of her fave show The Space Game. But then, to her horror, other students in her Creative Writing class find out that she's the one behind the blog. They threaten to reveal her identity unless she does several things for them - and that includes writing a ship she doesn't love into her story.

I really thought I would love this. I am a real fiend for books about fandom and fanfic. I've read a lot of them - which is probably why I was disappointed with this one. Much of what happens in Down with this Ship has been done before and done better. It also reminded me quite strongly of the stories I've read on Wattpad - sooo many boys wanting to go to the dance with the lead, too many "and then they all clapped" moments, cardboard cutouts instead of characters (also what happened to the Journalism teacher?? She just disappeared??), and really squiffy logic.

I know I'm from an older fanfic era, but I still dabble in fandom (as a lurker only these days!). A lot of things just didn't match my experiences. And that was very jarring. Posting fanfic on a blog was a really odd choice for Kole (something like AO3 is more likely). But the one thing that really stuck out - show (and book) writers do NOT read fan fiction (for legal reasons).

Ugh. I don't know. Maybe these things don't or shouldn't matter. But they do to me. This all said, I think quite a few Wattpadders would enjoy it.
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This book was just a lovely journey.  I enjoyed it so much.  I ship just about everything and this book was full of characters and moments.  I think anyone who enjoys YA or just well written books will like this.
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This was a cute story, but predictable and slow to start. I liked how the author weaved in the actual fan fiction excerpts. It was hard to get deeper into Kole's head at times and it also not a very convincing YA voice.
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As a lover of FanFiction, I really enjoyed this book! It was fun and felt new, with a great cast of characters. My only complaint, and why I dropped to 4/5 stars, was that so much of the issues could have been averted if Kole just came clean about her writings. Somehow she thought she could appear on a public panel and still remain anonymous? It never crossed her mind that “hey, this hiding will be moot the second people see me in real life talking about my stuff”. It was just frustrating as a reader. However, I still loved this book and would visit it again.
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This YA romance was super cute and enjoyable!! I loved how mid-way through there was a love triangle. I’m very glad at who the author decided to ship in this book!!! 4/5!
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i really enjoyed getting to read this book! it was so precious and cute and fun! i'm so glad netgalley chose me to read this before everyone else. thanks so much netgalley!!
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It was a really fun read and I truly enjoyed it. I love books that revolve around the theme of book blogging and fan fiction, although there aren't that many and so this was something I knew I definitely wanted to read. The many themes in the book were written and handled so well and I feel like this is a perfect YA read and I can tell it's going to gain a lot of popularity once it publishes. I could really relate to Kole and I truly loved her character, as well as her brothers (he's such a perfect brother, makes me wish even more than before that I had one). I loved the passion she had for writing fan fiction, I could relate to her when she won the award and how she acted because I act like that all the time if I get something I really wanted. It was really unique too. Like the fact that in most books, the main character, the love interest is some perfect person who basically looks like a model, which lets be real isn't what real life is like, and in this book, Kole was a geeky teenager. I also could understand what people must feel like to have people, especially your parents, not get what your thing is (ie in Kole's case, fan fiction writing). Overall, I think geeks, cosplayers, or someone who likes fan fiction and fandom or struggles with self confidence, esteem or putting yourself out there, would love this book
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Fans of Rainbow Rowell’s FAN GIRL and Ashley Postin’s GEEKERELLA series— rejoice! This book made my heart abundantly happy!
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Thank you to the publisher, Flux Books for providing me with an E-ARC of this novel through Netgalley. I will be posting this review on Goodreads, my Instagram page (@mysterious_bookshack), Amazon, and Barnes and Nobles closer to the publication date. The following review is based on my thoughts and is completely honest.

Rating ~ 4 / 5 stars

I enjoyed every single second of this book! I've been reading more books based around fanfiction and fandoms and so far, this one is truly one of the best ones I have read. The themes of friendship, being unique, highschool pressure, bullying, and the steps it takes to truly accept who you are is so well written in this novel. I was getting all the feels and the best part is that I can really relate to the main character. We both hide things from everyone else because we both don't want to be put on the spot. The only difference is that her secret was discovered and mine hasn't. The way that she handled her secret coming out was exactly how a teen would handle it nowadays. High school is rough and not to mention social media, but Kole did her best and she tried to stay true to herself as much as possible when things were quickly falling out of control around her. 

Overall, this is the perfect read for cosplayers, geeks, nerds, fanfiction lovers, and anyone who struggles with self-confidence like me. From start to finish, I loved Kole and how her struggles made her stronger and better at the end. It's basically a story everyone needs to read if high schoolers should read because this book is a really good portrayal of how most teens feel at school nowadays. Amazing job and I can't wait for this book to release!
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Adorarable, geeky, and body positive - yay! A recommended purchase for YA and HS collections were titles like Fangirl and Geekerella are popular.
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I love books about fandom, I’ve read dozens because I myself am a fan. There is no one I see myself in more than a character who is passionate about her ships and her fandoms. A character who cosplays, writes fanfic and falls in love with fiction. Down With This Ship had all the perfect pieces to make me fall in love with it, and somehow it just didn’t quite hit the mark.

Kole is a fan first and foremost. She’s in love with The Space Game, a television show that feels much like Star Trek/Fire Fly/Battle Star Galactica in inspiration. She writes a fanfic about it and chooses it over her friends and anything else that may come up. This show is her identity. I didn’t have a problem with that, I have known teens like that and even been one myself. That said I do feel like Kole is incredibly self-centered and never really learns a lesson? She gatekeeps her fandom and thinks knowing more minutiae makes her a better fan. She doesn’t see other people as whole people but rather only in the ways the inconvenience her.

For a book about ship wars, the love triangle was incredibly disappointing. There’s little time to develop both relationships and the solution is that one of the boys is Tamlin’d so that we know he was the wrong choice all along. He goes from a perfectly sweet possible option to a person Kole could never have actually been with while the other boy becomes a prince charming. It was such a weak love triangle I would question even including it. No character growth comes from it. No meaningful plot beats come from it…it’s just there.

Similarly to the love interests every character who isn’t Kole is one note. Everyone at Kole’s school is a bully aside from her small group of friends. Interests that aren’t “geeky” or “nerdy” enough are often written off. Students literally enact schemes to foil Kole and ruin her life. Teachers seem to not care about the students. It’s Kole against the world and no one else is allowed to be a complex human being lest we feel some sort of connection to them and realize that Kole’s personality is the reason she’s so alone. Kole is not a nice person. She’s not even that nice to her “friends”.

Fandom is one of the central themes of the book, and it just felt poorly represented to me. There were several plot points that read like bad dreams more than accurate depictions of fandom. I lived through both Twilight and Harry Potter eras. I have lived through SuperWhoLock. Never did I see an entire cafeteria participate in a ship war. Kole describes her show as something geeky that most people don’t care about…but EVERYONE is invested in it. Never did I see an entire school care about a single show so much (especially a science fiction one which definitely is more polarizing) and yet EVERYONE is invested in The Space Game and more weirdly…in Spacer.

Spacer is a fanfiction that Kole writes. It gets millions of hits which is…weird enough for a fanfiction. I did like that the fanfiction is interspersed throughout the book (even if it doesn’t seem like a very interesting fanfiction) to give us a taste about what Spacer is about but…the popularity of Spacer is unbelievable.I have never seen a fandom where one fanfiction is held to such esteem that literally everyone knows about it? Especially a fanfiction that has no smut written by a teen.

Also I find it INSANELY suspicious that Byron x Pippa and Cedric x Pippa are the main ships for the series and practically the only ones mentioned. That is not how fandom works. Look me in the face and tell me that the Byron x Cedric shippers would not outnumber all the ships including Pippa. There’s a reason Kirk x Spock is bigger than Uhura x either of them. The only fandom this resembles is Twilight and the reason Twilight worked how it did was because it was an entirely different genre with different expectations. The fact that no gay ships are ever even mentions seems almost exclusionary.

Speaking of the fanfiction I also found it a little sensitive how Kole interpreted people criticising her fanfiction at ALL as “bullying” and haters. We are allowed to see some comments in this story and even things like “The characters feel so flat and the development is awful.” is an “attack” to Kole. There are, of course, legitimate bullies but when you write something…people are allowed to criticize it. It doesn’t feel like Kole would survive this long in any fanfiction community if every criticism of her writing is taken as a personal attack.

The ending also didn’t sit well with me. SPOILERS BEYOND HERE!! Kole, a teenager, is treated like a serious writer for her fanfiction and offered the ability to work with the actual show writers. Also the whole cast reads the fanfiction and loves it. Also an ADULT MAN signed A TEENAGER’S collarbone IN LIPSTICK in this the year of our Lord 2021. So a few things. Actors may have been more friendly with guests in the past but a lot of recent events have made things like this A HUGE NO NO at cons for a few years now. Also Fanfiction has only recently become an acceptable hobby, and it’s still not widely respected. It was not even a decade ago that you might be sued for writing fanfic, in fact you STILL might be. It’s very hard to believe that the entire staff of a show would be in love with a fanfic and think it was better than their own work.

I liked some things about this book. I liked that it was body positive. I liked that it portrayed a geeky girl at the centre of a love triangle. I liked that it examined what it’s like to have parents not “get” your thing. It just feels like there was so much mess that I didn’t like that dragged the book down. I felt like the author didn’t truly understand fandoms and conventions. Or at least didn’t know how to write them realistically. I also took issue with the glorification of fat pets which left a sour taste in my mouth. Remember kids, overfeeding is neglect.
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A fun, gracefully messy, accurate portrait of the intricacies of fandom in an age where social media exists. This book is full of friendships and relationships that are satisfyingly tangled and bittersweet. I don't think there's another book quite like this, and I absolutely adored it.

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with this ARC on NetGalley.
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Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of Down With This Ship.

This book tries so hard to be relatable that it sucks out any semblance of realism. Our protagonist, Kole, goes to a school full of super villains. Note that I don't call them mean kids or bullies because that's not what they are. They're comic book arcetypes stuffed into the high school setting. Since she's quirky and passionate about fanfiction and writing, this means she only has one friend (my personal theory has a lot more to do with her self centered personality but that could have just been me) but obviously also has multiple guys falling all over me.

I don't like how fast we as a culture are to call things targeted at teens cringy, but that's what this was. Not because it's pandering to teens or girls or anything, but because it goes so hard on all of its archetypes that you're left cringing at every other thing the protagonist does or says. Kingman isn't a bad writer. She has the YA contemporary romcom style down to a tea but this book just didn't work.

This last bit is a spoiler.

So from the get go it's very clear who Kole is going to end up with which is fine, but I really don't like how everyone else was swiftly vilified or made to look bad so we didn't have to pity them when Kole doesn't end up with them. For a book about ship wars, this was really bad at making realistic ships. Kole even has a few weird double standards that she uses as an excuse to not be with her first love interest but sees as romantic when Colin does it? (i.e. she calls out Nate for asking her out publicly and putting her on the spot but when Colin does the same thing with a much bigger audience it's her happily every after?)
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As much as I love a good “fandom writer grapples with dual identity” plot, the writing style of Down With This Ship was not up to par. All the characters feel like over the top caricatures, especially the antagonists and supposedly-responsible adults. The Spacer fandom is simultaneously social suicide and the most hotly debated topic in the school.  And frankly, I don’t understand how such an immature protagonist is supposed to be such a stellar writer. 

If you’re interested in the core premise, it’s better to check out “Eliza and Her Monsters,” “Fangirl,” or “Spoiler Alert.”
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I really enjoyed this novel. The plot was well written to the point that I read the book in one sitting. That has been happening a lot recently. I've read so many good books. The plot...great. Characters...entertaining. Overall, I'd recommend this one. Great job!
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