Title: Eliza and Her Monsters
Author: Francesca Zappia
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publisher: Greenwillow – HarperCollins
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
***Trigger Warning: Suicide and Attempted Suicide
When reading the synopsis from this book, I jumped into a few theories of what to expect with his book. We meet Eliza who is a very introverted, shy, friendless teenager in real life. However online when she is LadyConstellation and even Eliza online is very open and talkative. LadyConstellation is the creator of a mega popular webcomic Monstrous Sea, it is so popular that even publishing companies have sought out to obtain it. Eliza has turned it down so many times because she loves the platform of her comic just the way it is.
Eliza’s world is about to change when Wallace Warland transfers to her school and come to find out that he isn’t just a regular fan but a huge fanfiction writer. Everything takes place in slow motion but he eventually helps her get out in the world more. He doesn’t know that she’s LadyConstellation. And things are about to take a huge hit when the secret is out. Not only does this effect Eliza and her mental health but it also affects the world she’s created online, her family, and her relationship with Wallace.
This is my first Francesca Zappia novel. I actually have been wanting to read Made You Up for so long but I didn’t correlate the two as the same author so I was ecstatic to see she had written this one as well. I loved the writing!! Especially the insert pages of the graphic novel and illustrations. I think for this being a YA book, it was realistic. Francesca wrote some dialogue via instant messenger which I loved. The dialogue between the characters were great and her details were super amazing as well. I appreciate the author writing about mental health and really giving us the readers a lesson per-say through a character at the end of the book.
I feel like each character in the book played such an important role in Eliza’s life and what was going to happen next. I spoke enough about Eliza but I have to say that she is definitely going through it with her mental health. This is something that the author doesn’t explicitly talk about throughout a lot of the book because it’s not something the character knows about. However, through Eliza’s interactions with her family, people, and just her thought process, you get a feel that there is something deeper. Living a life online one way vs. how her life is in the flesh, and her parents not really knowing much to then the pressures of high school can be hard on a teenager. I know that at least for me, I found Eliza’s character relatable.
We meet Wallace Warland and I thought he was the most adorable soft boy. Once he is presented in the book, I wanted to know him more. His character arc was really well done and when I got to know him on a deeper level, I cried. No lie, I really cried because here is this character who has been through a lot and he’s just taking everything one step at a time.
Eliza’s family; her parents and siblings. Let me tell you something!! I absolutely loved this family because in my opinion, we don’t see much family dynamic. Yet, here you have in Eliza and Her Monsters, parents that are all up on Eliza, super worried about their child and not knowing what to do with her. Which I thought was realistic because a lot of parents don’t know what to do with their first-born, especially during teenage years. We’re like the guinea pigs. You can tell that Eliza’s parents just want the best for her and are trying to steer her in the “right” direction but they don’t really understand her direction. I loved the brothers, their relationship was so great to see and the sibling relationship had amazing representation.
We do get to see other minor characters but I won’t really get into that because if not then I’ll definitely be spoiling the whole book lol.
I am going to keep this really short since I pretty much scattered my thoughts throughout the review in the previous sections. I absolutely loved this book and thought it represented mental health, family dynamic’s/relationship, friendships, and internal battles in a great way. The author definitely takes us through the highs and lows, I had found myself at times just really hoping for the best. Francesca Zappia wrote an amazing novel filled with reality and honesty in a form that everyone can read and still feel warm and happy at the end of it. I would LOVE if the author made Monstrous Sea into an actual graphic novel because everything about it was great. I feel like it would really go far. Overall, I would highly recommend this book.