Book Review: Down with this Ship, by Katie Kingman

Image belongs to Flux.
  • Author:  Katie Kingman
  • Genre:  YA
  • Rating:  3.5 out of 5

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.

I love to read YA fiction. I do. But I think maybe this wasn’t the best fit for me. I’m not knocking her being obsessed with a TV show or writing fanfiction at all, but she just didn’t make sense to me. Why is she hiding her identity so hard? Why does she not want anyone to know she writes a hugely popular blog? Why does she even care what her ex-friends think of her? And why does she care about all of those things so much she lets herself be blackmailed? Multiple times, no less. If you care that much about something, own it. Don’t let someone make you feel less-than because of it.

Bits of this were pretty cliched (the boy next door crush) or blown out of proportion (Are you telling me someone with such a successful online presence doesn’t know how to protect her own blog?), and it felt like that stuff happened just to add drama—without being believable. In the end, this tried just a little bit too hard, without fully delivering a believable story or characters.

Katie Kingman lives in Phoenix. Down with This Ship is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Flux in exchange for an honest review.)

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