Hi Bookish Fans!
I read this book in February and never got around to reviewing it on here for some reason. This was all the hype and more at the end of 2017 and I kept trying to force myself to pick this up and read it, mostly to see if I agreed with how many people loved this book. Let’s discuss!
Eliza and Her Monsters
By Francesca Zappia
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5)
In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s Lady Constellation, 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 beings to wonder if 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 ever her sanity – begins to fall apart.
“I like being invisible, not having someone look at me like I should be.”
“Mom teaches classes for people who want to get in shape to run marathons, which means by definition everyone who signs up is out of their minds.”
“Maybe that’s normal. The things you care most about are the ones that leave the biggest holes.”
I really enjoyed this book for a few reasons:
1. The format of the book.
Sometimes when books add in things other than words I can get annoyed. This had online conversations, texts, letters, and parts of Eliza’s online story built between the pages. The first few pages I wasn’t having it (I have this thing where when I don’t know who people are or what’s going on at first I get frustrated with distractions until I understand the purpose), but after my brain catching up to the story line occurred I was rather pleased with the variety of ways Zappia showed communication in this story. (It also made the book fly by with pages filled with online conversations!)
2. The anxiety and sadness.
Don’t get me wrong, this entire book is not depressing or sad, but it was sprinkled with, what I thought was, a nice dose of these topics considering the overwhelming anxiety Eliza faced in her life. With that, I liked the way Zappia wrote about anxiety from a YA perspective. Also, Wallace’s feelings there at the end along with his story about his father was a great addition to the story. I could see how it might be slightly tough for people who have experienced something similar in their personal lives, but not straying from the topic just to write a book was something I admired in this book.
3. The relationships overall.
Not all relationships are perfect. Eliza faces this struggle with her family being unable to understand her as an individual and as a growing adult (and someone who is highly introverted). She struggles with her brothers and her parents, yet it was obvious that her brothers and parents did care about her which is a piece of the story she comes to understand as the story continues. Also, Eliza’s relationships with those in the real world was fun to watch as they grew and she experienced things so many of us have in our own lives.
4. The Monstrous Sea.
The layout of this story (as discussed above) was amazing, and really allowed for the M.S. to come to life. It took me a hot minute to get into M.S. as a storyline but once I did I was appreciative of the artwork, story, and characters within Eliza’s world. It was, as I felt, a well-functioning piece to add that enhanced the overall book and I thoroughly enjoyed this!
I was not a fan of Eliza 100% alienating herself from her family. I mean, I do get it: I also tried to alienate myself as much as I could from my family growing up, but it was just so extreme at a few points that I felt guilty and bad for her parents and brothers.
Also, while I truly do understand the anxiety theme here, I also as a reader wanted to keep yelling at Eliza to just tell Wallace what was up! I know, I know, probably unrealistic, but every time a situation arose for her to tell him she didn’t and a piece of me slowly died a little inside from this.
Overall, I did enjoy this book. I ate it up very fast and was glad to see my opinions over this book did align with many others. While it isn’t one of the top books I’ve ever read, I still loved the story enough that I might consider a re-read one day!
- I’m sure many of you have read this – did you like it? Why or why not?
- Did you relate to Eliza’s anxiety?
- Did you enjoy Monstrous Sea and Eliza’s online world?
- What was your favorite and least favorite parts from this book?