Review: Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
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.
I read Eliza and Her Monsters in two days. The only reason I didn't read it all in one day was because the power went out during a storm and it got too dark to read anymore.
Eliza and Her Monsters arrived in my May Owlcrate, and honestly I wasn't sure how I felt about it at first. I'm not really into webcomics or even really understand how they work. But! I certainly understand both fandoms and anxiety and once I read the first chapter I couldn't put it down.
I grew up feeling very attached to my internet friends, especially in early high school. While I wasn't quite as removed as Eliza from "the real world," my internet life certainly felt as real (if not more real) than anything else. I related to Eliza's struggles with anxiety, especially social anxiety, and I was really drawn to her.
Eliza is anxious and doubtful and an incredible artist. I loved the sections that describe her process--and honestly I'm usually a little annoyed when reading books that talk about "artists" and their "processes." But Francesca Zappia just gets it. And watching Eliza open up with Wallace and others was so sweet. That paired with the ticking bomb in the corner known as the buildup to Eliza's identity reveal (not a spoiler if you read the blurb) made it so addictive.
I loved the mixed media format of the novel, and the drawings were so gorgeous. I've heard that they translate well to the Kindle version, but I'm so glad that I have a physical copy of this one.
In short: I was not prepared for this book. This is a rave review. Do you love feeling all the feelings? You'll love it, too.
Published by HarperCollins on May 30, 2017