Whatever for Hire by R. J. Blain
A paranormal romance novel with jokes everywhere and a minor enemies-to-lovers relationship between the main characters, what makes Whatever For Hire fall flat for me is the copious use of the g-slur. Yes, that g-slur. The main character Kanika is half-Egyptian and half-Rromani (but also, maybe not even that considering the hints that the literal devil kept dropping), but did this book have to be rife with the g-slur being dropped willy nilly all over the place on top of Orientalism out the butt? (Aside from Kanika, all of the Egyptian characters were evil, teenager-selling, forced-marriage-having assholes so… problem much?)
Whatever For Hire could’ve been decent but instead, it was kind of a mess where the little moments that I disliked wound up adding up fast.
Ship It by Britta Lundin
Ship It, as you can tell from the title, is about shipping and fandom. It’s about Claire, a teenager who watches a Supernatural-esque primetime drama and ships the main characters. When she actually gets a chance to talk to one of the two leads on the show at a convention, things go pear-shaped when she brings up shipping and representation and he kind of… doesn’t react well.
I know a lot of people that liked Ship It in my group of fandom nerds who also read young adult fiction. I wanted to like it too. I even requested it on NetGalley because I thought it’d be amazing.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t get into Lundin’s debut novel even though I tried my hardest. I’ve been stalled at 40% for a few weeks now and while I might eventually return to it, right now I’m not that into the portrayal of fandom or fans. While Lundin’s writing is fun and full of snappy banter between the characters, I found it incredibly difficult to care about most of them or what they were going through.
I also, honestly think that with everything I’ve been going through in fandom, this kind of book would’ve been a good read for 2013!Stitch or younger – you know, before I got in the thick of things with the discourse.