Eliza and Her Monsters
Title & Author: Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
Release Date: May 30, 2017
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Series Details: Standalone
Description: “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.
“My beginning is time-stamped in history.“
Monstrous Sea, an immensely popular webcomic adored and devoured by millions, essentially boils down to a story about a girl fighting off monsters due to a sense of duty.
Eliza Mirk, a socially awkward and anxiety-riddled teenager, is not only the anonymous creator of Monstrous Sea, but also is a real-life girl trying to fight off her metaphorical monsters due to a sense of duty.
“I am LadyConstellation.
I am also Eliza Mirk.
This is the paradox that can never be solved.”
As a twenty-something that reads predominantly YA, I catch a lot of slack. I can recall on more than one occasion being on the receiving end of judgmental glances while walking through the “teen” section at Barnes & Noble or while purchasing a stack of books from the “What Teens Are Reading” table. I also have a handful of friends who frequently ask me: “but what do you read for real? Like not that fantasy kids’ stuff.” And despite the fact that countless books marketed as YA are anything but (I’m looking at you, ACOMAF), books like THIS are WHY I deal with the haters.
I can’t begin to describe what a joy this book was to
consume/ devour in two sittings read. From the gorgeous cover art (seriously I pet it when it came in the mail…overshare?…) to the smirk-inducing characters and hard-hitting narrative, Eliza And Her Monsters was everything I didn’t know I needed.
Told through chat windows, fan forums, artwork, and typical internal dialogue the story addresses everything from first loves and fights with “parents who just don’t understand” to depression, suicidal thoughts, and how to balance your online identity with your real one. And while I personally couldn’t identify with all the monsters that plagued Eliza, I do believe this book realistically addressed these serious topics without romanticizing them and helped me understand these disorders in a way I’d never considered before. To be able to shed new light on a frequently discussed area in an honest and relatable manner is, to me, the sign of an incredibly powerful writer and for that I praise Zappia.
And while this novel does address some intense emotions, it still finds a way to be light, uplifting, and encouraging – especially through the budding romance between Wallace and Eliza. I swear I’ve never grinned at a winky face so hard in my life! I felt like I was flashing back to my teenage years.
By the end of the book, Zappia shows us — through Eliza — how to face your fears and celebrate your story. If you can’t find it – create it! And above all, fight your monsters – don’t get eaten.