Title: Eliza and Her Monsters Author: Francesca Zappia Publisher: Greenwillow Pages: 385 Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance Synopsis:Her story is a phenomenon. Her life is a disaster. In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try. Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile. But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built — her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity — begins to fall apart.
Review: I do not even have words for how much I loved this book.
I absolutely adored Made You Up when I read it last year, so I had a feeling this would be great but oh my goodness it was SO MUCH BETTER THAN GREAT.
I managed to read this in a whole day; I literally could not put it down. This story sucked me in and would not let me go, like any amazing story should.
For those of you who don’t know, this book follows Eliza who is the anonymous author of the insanely popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza is just a normal teenager: she goes to school, is part of a family she feels incredibly different from and has a super cute dog. I don’t think I have ever read a book with a female lead who does comic art. Let alone has a webcomic with over a million readers. It was so refreshing to see this in YA.
The first thing I want to talk about is Eliza. I love her. She felt so real to me. I honestly felt like she was a real person, jumping off the pages. I was so invested in her story, in her wellbeing and the ending she would get because she deserves the BEST ENDING EVER. It has been a while since I’ve read a book and loved the main character this much and it is wonderful.
"You found me in a constellation." - Monstrous Sea
This book is filled with other amazing characters. I have to mention Wallace, the new boy at Eliza’s school and Monstrous Sea’s biggest fan fiction writer. Wallace is adorable. He is so precious and I love him and no harm can come to him EVER. I just feel like there is a lot of depth to him, that he’s not just this guy who spends most of his time writing fan fiction, that there’s more to him.
I will admit that I am not the biggest fan of Eliza’s family. There were points in the book where I loved her parents, but there were also a lot of times I didn’t. I did love her brothers Church and Sully though. I kind of just want to hug them.
I can’t forget Max and Emmy, Eliza’s wonderful internet friends and Monstrous Sea supporters. I really looked forward to seeing little bits of their chats and what was going on with them. I would definitely read novellas focusing on these characters alone.
Also, I need to give an honourable mention to Mrs. Grier, Eliza’s homeroom teacher. She wasn’t a lead character or even played that big a role in the story but I loved her and her wacky earrings.
Now, I have to say the story is amazing. Yes, the characters are wonderful and my precious babies but obviously, the story is what brings them to life. As I said before, I was so invested in Eliza’s story. Her story as Eliza but also her story as LadyConstellation, author of Monstrous Sea. I was also super interested in Monstrous Sea itself and kind of wished there were more snippets of it throughout the book.
"Our stories have lives of their own - it's up to us to make them mean something." pg 360
Eliza struggles with a lot in this book, including mental health and I was really happy to see that explored. I feel like the representation of anxiety was really accurate (though representation is subjective) and I really appreciated seeing it in this book.
It was a new experience for me to read something about a person who creates a webcomic. I’ve never read a webcomic or anything with a character creating one, so that was cool for me. I really enjoyed the little descriptions of Eliza’s creative process and also seeing all the online forums about the story and the reactions from the fans.
Honestly I just think it’s so cool when an author includes fan fiction in their book and doesn’t display it in a negative light. It’s such a big part of fandom communities and seeing it get more, positive representation is awesome.
The writing style I think is part of what got me through this book so fast. It’s written in present tense so I felt like I was experiencing everything with Eliza as it happened, which helped suck me in even more.
All in all, this book is amazing. I feel like this whole review has been me rambling about everything but it really is SO GOOD and I definitely think you all should pick it up if it sounds like something you’d be interested in!
Have any of you read this book already? What did you think? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!