Author: Meredith Tate
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Published: May 18th, 2021 (G.P. Putnam’s Sons BYR)
Synopsis: Can two IRL enemies find their happily ever after online?
Stella Greene and Wesley Clarke are Gene Connolly Memorial High School’s biggest rivals. While the two have been battling it out for top student, it’s a race to the bottom when it comes to snide comments and pulling the dirtiest prank. For years, Stella and Wes have been the villain in each other’s story, and now it’s all-out war.
And there is no bigger battle than the one for valedictorian, and more specifically, the coveted valedictorian scholarship.
But Stella and Wes have more in common than they think. Both are huge fans of Warship Seven, a popular sci-fi TV drama with a dedicated online following, and the two start chatting under aliases–without a clue that their rival is just beyond the screen. They realize that they’re both attending SciCon this year, so they plan to dress in their best cosplay and finally meet IRL.
While tensions at school are rising and SciCon inches closer and closer, the enemy lines between Stella and Wes blur when a class project shows them they might understand one another better than anyone else–and not just in cosplay.
From the author of The Last Confession of Autumn Casterly comes a heartfelt story about rivalry, friendships, and defying preconceived notions–even the ones about yourself.
Thank you to the publisher, Penguin Random House Canada, and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Stella Greene and Wesley Clarke are long time rivals and their battle reaches new heights this year as they are their high school’s top contenders for the prized position of valedictorian, and the scholarship that comes with it. While in real life, they can’t stand each other, they’ve unknowingly been chatting online in a forum for fans of a famous sci-fi TV show. When they realize they are both planning to attend SciCon this year, they make plans to meet in person for the first time. The end of the school year, and with it, SciCon, draw closer by the day, and when Stella and Wes are forced to pair up for a major class project, they start to realize that when they’re not fighting, they actually work well together and share more things in common than they realized.
I love books that delve into fan culture, and an enemies to lovers storyline is always a favourite with me, so it was no surprise when I flew through this book in a single sitting. This reminded me a lot of Geekerella and You’ve Got Mail, and there was a lot of discussion on fandom and respecting people’s differing opinions, while also touching on topics like parental pressure, the competitiveness and stress surrounding college admissions and more.
The characters were great and it was a good choice to narrate it from both Stella and Wes’ perspectives, which really made it easy to understand their motivations, choices and personalities. Their banter is great and while they are both extremely competitive, it was nice to see them begin to work together. Stella in particular was extremely relatable for me, and it brought to mind my own high school days which, while fun, were also a couple of very intense and insanely competitive years. While I didn’t like Wes initially, given that he seemed to be the stereotypical rich boy complaining about problems which seemed so minimal compared to Stella’s situation, he eventually became a much more likeable character, especially with the choice he made at the end of the book.
While it was really nice to see how the two of them bonded over their love of the same show despite their vastly differing opinions on some of the characters, I didn’t much enjoy the interludes from the show. Personally, I felt that the story was just getting interrupted over and over again to show us snippets from the show that we only know the barest outline of – though there are admittedly some interesting parallels between the main ship in the show and Wesley and Stella. Then there is the question of both their family problems which don’t really get a satisfactory ending.
To be completely frank, Shipped was a really cute read, and if I hadn’t read Geekerella before this, I might have even rated this 4.5 stars. Though the premises are different, there are a lot of similarities that make it near impossible not to compare the two and I am unfortunately very biased. However, this was a fast pace and enjoyable read and it is one that I would definitely recommend.
Shipped releases on May 18th, 2021.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!
All quotes in this review were taken from an advance reader’s edition and may differ from the final version of the book.