REVIEW: ELIZA & HER MONSTERS BY FRANCESCA ZAPPIA

Summary: 

  • my rating: 4 stars
  • published by: Greenwillow Books
  • genres: contemporary, YA
  • diversity: MC with anxiety
  • tw: anxiety, suicide ideation
  • it’s a little like:
             – Radio silence by Alice Oseman
    Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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Synopsis:

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.

Books about online fandom and creating any form of online art always grab my attention. I love those sorts of book so much, which is why I was sure I was going to love Eliza & Her Monsters. I heard a lot of good things about this book, for it’s cute romance content, for it’s

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Eliza & Her Monsters is told entirely from the perspective of Eliza Mirk, who in the opening page claims her name is the kind you give to “the creepy girl who clings to her ex-boyfriend after she’s been dumped because she refuses to accept that he hates her guts”,  “the low level villain” and the “comic book character.”

This opening immediately sets the tone for the narration. Eliza is very snippy and funny, and I loved her narration. It kind of reminded me of the Becky Albertalli style which, of course, I really loved.

Wallace is the other main character. I didn’t get as attached to him because I think his characterisation was a bit lacking and I found it hard to connect to him under all the awkwardness. He also does something to Eliza toward the ending I really couldn’t get over, even though I understood where he was coming from.

Finally, Eliza has three internet friends who’s chat logs are included in the book. I really loved these logs, they were hilarious and definitely worked to show the “online” persona Eliza has versus her “real life” persona. But I think the friends themselves were hard to connect to or care for because they’re not explored with any depth.

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Eliza & Her Monsters focusses on what happens after Eliza, the creator of a famous webcomic, meets Wallace, that webcomics most famous fanfiction writer.

I found it a bit unrealistic that they would end up at the same school but I suspended my disbelief enough to carry on. I liked Wallace and Eliza but I didn’t love them. While they had their cute moments, I also found lots of their interactions kind of awkward and sort of forced. I liked their friendship way more then their romance.

Most of the story is about the growing fame of Eliza’s webcomic, as it slowly reaches it’s ending point. One thing I didn’t love in this plot line was the “creative art” outing part. It always generates a lot of anxiety in me when that trope plays out, and I think the third act of this book was much more messy then the first two after this happened.

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Eliza & Her Monsters primarily focusses on exploring how internet culture effects people, and especially how it can be such a positive force in people’s lives. I really liked how this book addresses teenage issues and online communities in a real validating way. Zappia emphasises that experiences in the online community are often disregarded and misunderstood, and explores how this misunderstanding damages those who rely on online spaces to thrive and succeed.

I found the themes and discussions in this book really validating and really relatable. I totally related to Eliza’s annoyance at how her fame and space online was disregarded in the “real world”, and that online success was seen as useless despite it being remarkable.

I also enjoyed the family dynamics. It was interesting to see a family that was dysfunctional in a way and didn’t understand how everyone felt and actually was. I related a lot to Eliza realising she doesn’t know her brothers that well, and Eliza knowing her family doesn’t know the real her that is mostly all online.

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Eliza & Her Monsters was a really fun book for me. I always love stories about fandom/online things and this took all the best of Fangirl but made it 100 times better. Eliza was a great main character to follow and the discussions and ideas Zappia presents were explored with care and depth.

I loved that this book included snippets and artwork from Eliza’s comic, and the subplots came together really neatly. Overall I enjoyed the ending of this book, and this book as a whole a lot. It was just some messiness about three quarters through and some lacklustre romance elements that dropped the rating a little.

Have you read Eliza & Her Monsters? What did you think?

until next time!

xo jamieson


One thought on “REVIEW: ELIZA & HER MONSTERS BY FRANCESCA ZAPPIA

  1. Wonderful review! ☺️ I rated Eliza and Her Monsters four stars too, and I had a lot of the same thoughts. I couldn’t really connect to Wallace’s character either, but I loved how this book explored fandom and online success.

    Like

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