Friday, December 1, 2017

Book Review: Eliza and Her Monsters

Title: Eliza and Her Monsters
Author: Francesca Zappia
Genre: Young Adult | Contemporary
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: May 30, 2017
Source: Library
Format: Physical

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 (goodreads).

Eliza and Her Monsters spoke to 16-year-old Amber so hard. 

Plot: Eliza and Her Monsters could be compared to Fangirl: teenaged girl gains internet popularity through her creativity while her real life is falling apart around her. I related to some aspects of this book like crazy, like I'm sure many bookworms did. Eliza struggled with being unpopular and waving off parents who just didn't understand them, something I'm sure many people found relatable. Eliza and Her Monsters was also a powerful book because it brought up trauma and anxiety. Eliza suffered from panic attacks in silence and I wanted more than anything to see Eliza seek out help. I loved Eliza and Her Monsters because of the topics it brought up, but I would have loved more time dedicated to Eliza seeking out help to address her panic attacks. 

Characters: Eliza was one of the most relatable teens I had the pleasure of reading about; like I said, she spoke to teenaged Amber. Since the book was told from her perspective, it was interesting to see her deal with her family life and small panic attacks she would have in social situations. The love interest, Wallace, was an equally complex character and he actually took me by surprise. While I usually actively look for romance in a book, Eliza and Her Monsters made me focus on the family relationship. Eliza intentionally put a wall between herself, parents, and siblings, and I was thrilled to see them work to repair that relationship and try to understand each other. 

Worldbuilding: While Eliza and Her Monsters took place in Indiana, I felt that the true worldbuilding was in Zappia's portrayal of internet culture. Zappia took it all to the next level with the pages and passages from The Monstrous Sea webcomic and background on Eliza's inspiration. I loved how much time she dedicated to e-communication and how age doesn't mean much when it comes to the internet and e-communication.

Short N Sweet: Eliza and Her Monsters is the perfect book for anyone involved with some kind of fandom and feels that the outside world just doesn't understand.  


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