Featured Review: Down with This Ship (Katie Kingman)
About This Book:
Kole Miller is the best writer at the prestigious Crystal Lake High. But no one knows it—not her creative writing classmates, or even her academic arch nemesis Colin (aka Mr. Valedictorian). That’s because Kole’s best work is a secret fanfic based on The Space Game, her favorite show.
When Kole’s fanfic wins a major contest, her readership skyrockets. Suddenly, Kole finds herself stuck in the heated ship wars, as her new readers pair characters from the show together as romantic couples. Worse yet, Kole’s classmates discover that she’s the fanfic’s author. Now it isn't just The Space Game everyone is arguing about: they start shipping Kole with her classmates.
With her romantic life in shambles and her anxiety through the roof, Kole must face both her inner demons and the ones at her school. She has one chance to reclaim her fanfic—and the guy that Kole now realizes she’s shipped herself with since episode one of the school year.
*Review Contributed by Olivia Farr, Staff Reviewer*
DOWN WITH THIS SHIP is an intriguing YA contemporary read about pursuing your dreams and embracing yourself. Kole is a fanfiction writer for The Space Game, a popular show about space pirates, and she dreams of writing TV shows someday. When she finds out that she has won a major award for her fanfiction, her webpage views skyrocket and the resultant attention is a difficult combination of positive and negative. The new criticism leads her to doubt herself and her writing.
When people at school figure out who she is online and hold her blog hostage, Kole has to face down her inner turmoil and conflicts at school. At the same time, her own love life is getting more interesting with ships moving from the fanfic to her actual life.
What I loved: A strong element of this book is the reflections on confidence and social media that are present throughout. Kole gets a lot of attention, and while she expects the good things to come her way from the award, she does not anticipate the windfall of criticism and negative comments. The way that these can really get under someone's skin are illustrated really well in the story. Kole learns about herself and self-confidence throughout the book, which something that will resonate with YA readers. The love triangle and high school crushes were fun overall, even though there were some bumps in the road along the way.
What left me wanting more: The book really slows down in the middle, and I would have appreciated a faster pace to hold attention. There are places where the plot does not seem to advance much. While it was cool to see some of her fanfiction, there was quite a bit of it, and I think additional context would have been needed to really enjoy it, as it did not quite reflect the story or help the reader to understand the plot better.
Final verdict: DOWN WITH THIS SHIP is an interesting YA contemporary read with messages about social media, criticism, and self-confidence.
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