“Young teens will enjoy the classroom rivalries, fandoms, and all-out geekiness that Down With This Ship fully adopts.”Cecelia Beckman, Sheaf & Ink
From the Publisher:
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.
My Review: Down With This Ship
I really wanted to enjoy Down With The Ship.
It’s always fun to read books about fandoms and seeing how kids geek out about the characters and stories they love. I can DEFINITLY [yes all caps] relate. I’m sure you can too. Though I did enjoy parts of the story, on the whole I mostly found myself wishing for something more.
First, I felt the actual snippets of fanfiction written by the main character Kole Miller, distracting. To me, it took away from the underlining thread of the story: Kole and her relationships with her family (plutonic and otherwise) and friends. I wasn’t fangirling the way she was over the space opera tv series because I didn’t know much about the show she was watching. And that’s really not why I’m picking up this book.
But let’s talk about Kole’s nemsis in the story shall we?
Even though the idea of the antagonist being this fanboy honors English kid is interesting, again, I wasn’t fully invested. These kids felt over dramatic. Their interactions overblown. As though I was watching a sitcom on Netflix and the writing felt cringe worthy because it was over-the-top. Perhaps a much younger audience would appreciate the high drama.
A Few More Thoughts
Further, the synopsis touches on anxiety and for me, I didn’t get the impression that Kole had anxiety or at least the writing didn’t portray her as such for me. When I think of characters who are suffering from anxiety I think of Kelly Loy Gisbert’s When We Were Infinite. Where as I was reading I felt those moments of pure panic, where I had to set the book down and take a breath and process.
Now, I’m not suggesting authors force readers to have panic attacks or any type of anxiety. What I want to point out is that if you are stating that your characters have mental health issues than the writing should reflect that in a caring and meaningful way. It felt like an after thought that Kole had anxiety. It wasn’t until the end, when Kole’s mom says she has anxiety, which for me was jarring. I had to take a moment and process what the mother had said. And wonder did I read that correctly? Going back and after re-reading her dialogue, being utterly confused.
Overall, the novel feels like a story young teens could possibly enjoy because it has all the elements of high school drama, a love-triangle, a quirky villain, and a main character who just wants to figure out what she wants.
Happy Reading ̴ Cece
RATING: – Adequately Inked
- Publication day: June, 2021
- Publisher: Flux
- ISBN: 978-1635830675
- Pages: 352
- Age Group: 13+
- Paperback: $9.99
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