Fandom and creators collide when high schooler Claire attempts to make a popular ship from her favorite TV show a reality.
When superfan Claire asks a panel of the creators behind Demon Heart (a stand-in for Supernatural and other shows notorious for queerbaiting) if the male protagonists, Heart and Smokey, will end up together, she is humiliatingly shut down. Desperate to boost their ratings, the showrunners save face by inviting Claire along on the rest of their convention tour. What follows is a battle of wills as Claire plots to convince the show’s writer to canonize the “SmokeHeart” ship he’s been teasing viewers with, while Forest, one of its stars, undermines her efforts to avoid a reputation that might hurt his career. Along the way, Claire gets close with fellow fan Tess—a black, homoromantic pansexual girl—and begins to question her own sexuality. First-person perspectives switch between Claire and Forest (who is a bit too ideal to be a believable 23-year-old actor) and are interspersed with Claire’s Demon Heart fanfiction. Both characters follow a white default. In her debut, Lundin—herself a television staff writer—effortlessly speaks the language of conventions, fandom, and social media. If some plot points are implausibly convenient, it’s forgivable for the sake of escapist fun. Skillfully interwoven are explorations of media representation and the line between fan and creator.
Despite some shortcomings, this ship does more than just sail—it soars. (Fiction. 14-18)