Eliza and Her Monsters

Eliza and Her Monsters


Title: Eliza and Her Monsters

Author: Francesca Zappia

Series: N/A

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Release Date: May 30th 2017

Rating:

Four Stars

Eighteen-year-old Eliza Mirk is the anonymous creator of Monstrous Sea, a wildly popular webcomic, but when a new boy at school tempts her to live a life offline, everything she’s worked for begins to crumble.

Scott Westerfeld’s Afterworlds meets Nimona in this novel about art, fandom, and finding the courage to be yourself. Features illustrations by the author throughout. Perfect for readers of Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, this is the second novel by the acclaimed author of Made You Up.

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, smart, and friendless. Online, Eliza is LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of a popular webcomic called Monstrous Sea. With millions of followers and fans throughout the world, Eliza’s persona is popular. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves her digital community. Then Wallace Warland transfers to her school, and Eliza 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. With pages from Eliza’s webcomic, as well as screenshots from Eliza’s online forums, this uniquely formatted book will appeal to fans of Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona and Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl.

– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

“I made Monstrous Sea because it’s the story I wanted. I wanted a story like it, and I couldn’t find one, so I created it myself.”

To everyone at her school Eliza Mirk is a creep, and to her family she is a loner who spends all her time on her computer working on her ‘hobby’. Online however is where Eliza comes alive. Online she isn’t the shy, awkward girl her classmates see; instead she’s LadyConstellation, the creator of the phenomenon that is Monstrous Sea. Eliza’s life is her webcomic. It’s something she does because she has to create it, she’s dedicated to her fans and determined to provide the best content for them

Until Wallace Warland starts at her school Eliza has never met a Monstrous Seas’ fan in real life. Wallace isn’t just any fan though, he writes fanfiction of Eliza’s comics and loves the characters and the world she has created almost as much as Eliza does.

“Creators shouldn’t feel this way about their fans. I shouldn’t want them to disappear. They’re the reason I have…the reason I have anything.”

Around Wallace Eliza comes out of her shell a little; she spends time with his friends, other Monstrous Sea fans, and starts to experience the world away of her computer. The two share pieces of themselves they have never shared with anyone else, secrets they can’t tell anyone else, but Eliza still keeps the fact that she is the creator of Monstrous Seas’ to herself. Until she is outed to the world and her safety, her anonymity, and Wallace all abandon her to face the fallout on her own.

One thing I did think about Eliza and Her Monsters was that the blurb was a little misleading. The way it’s written led me to believe Eliza being outed as the creator of Monstrous Sea would be a much larger part of this book, and while I enjoyed reading her turmoil and struggle when that happened, it happened very near the end of the book. I was left feeling that this meant some parts of Eliza’s journey after her anonymity was taken away were a little rushed in places.

There was a lot I loved about this book though. First was the characters but I’ll move onto them next in this review. Second was the art and the small glimpses we got into the world Eliza has created within this book. It reminded me of the small glimpses of Cath’s fandom we got in Fangirl, and it was certainly a unique way of showcasing the Monstrous Sea fandom that was such a large part of this story.

…The Characters

“I’m so tired. I’m tired of anxiety that twists my stomach so hard I can’t move the rest of my body. Tired of constant vigilance. Tired of wanting to do something about myself, but always taking easy way out.”

Eliza is very much an introvert. If she has a choice she’d rather stay on her computer creating more pages of Monstrous Seas, or talking with Max and Emmy, than interacting with the people in her real life. On the computer Eliza can control what she says and who she presents to the world; she’s no longer Eliza Mirk but LadyConstellation. Eliza suffers from anxiety, she refuses to let herself look at the comments on her updates or the forums, and she lets her doubts overtake her even when it comes to the smallest things. In a lot of ways Eliza was a character I could easily identify with, and it made me love reading her development throughout this book all the more.

“Broken people don’t hide from their monsters. Broken people let themselves be eaten.”

When it comes to her family it feels like there is a gap between Eliza and her parents, and Eliza and her brothers. Neither of her parents understand Eliza’s interests. They don’t understand her need to create Monstrous Sea and in spite of the popularity the webcomic has they still see it as nothing more than a hobby. In spite of their misunderstanding, which plays a big role in the plot at times, they clearly love Eliza, and only wants what’s best for her; however they and Eliza see that as very different things.

Eliza doesn’t have a good relationship with her brothers, despite them living in the same house, because they don’t share the same interests and as such they don’t reach out to one another. The development between Eliza, Church and Sully, especially as the story commences, was something I really enjoyed but ideally would have liked to see a little more of.

“Wallace.”
He looks up.
“I want to be happy,” I say.
“Me too,” he says.

The relationship between Eliza and Wallace was a wonderful one to see grow. I wouldn’t say either character was in a great place when they meet at the beginning of this book, though they may not realise it themselves. However the more time they spend together the more they grow; Eliza starts to live life in the outside world as Wallace introduces her to his small corner of the Monstrous Sea fandom, and in return Wallace opens up to Eliza about his past in ways he hasn’t with anyone else.

Although I loved reading the relationships between them one thing I didn’t like was Wallace’s reaction after Eliza life as LadyConstellation was revealed. While I can understand how he was feeling some of the things he said and did I just didn’t agree with and it really made me dislike his character when you could see how much Eliza was suffering.


While I wish some aspects of the plot and character development has been written a little differently overall I enjoyed reading Eliza’s journey throughout this book. I also loved Francesca Zappia’s take on fandom through Monstrous Sea. Eliza and Her Monsters presented a different side to the fandom; instead of reading a book through the eyes of a character who is only a part of the fandom we saw through Eliza’s eyes who created her own fandom, and it was a very interesting difference.

What did you think of Eliza and Her Monsters? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.

36 thoughts on “Eliza and Her Monsters

    1. It is a really good book, and the cover is definitely gorgeous as well. Most of the books I read are because the gorgeous covers have caught my eye! 😀 That’s all right, and I hope you enjoy this book as well Samantha.
      Most of the reviews I write if they’re under five stars have a few negatives in too. As much as I love some books there are always some things that I wasn’t much of a fan of. 🙂

      Like

  1. This is such a great story and one that’s happening more and more in schools these days, I believe it should be a recommended read in class so kids get to discuss and realize maybe they’re not alone.
    I also related so much to Eliza but in my time, we didn’t have access to the internet so I buried myself in books.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh it really is, and actually yes it would be a good book to have read and studied in school. There are definitely a lot of lessons that can be learnt from it and it was a fun read so added bonus there. 🙂
      Same, 100% the same. That’s probably the reason I’m such a big reader now! 😀

      Like

    1. In that case I hope you manage to get around to it soon Lauren, and I hope you really enjoy it as well. Yes this was an incredible fandom book, I’d love to see more like it because I feel we need more fandom representation in books. It’s an aspect of live that hasn’t been explored much before now. Thanks Lauren! 😀

      Like

  2. Very interesting idea behind this book. Sorry to hear how misleading it all seemed once you realized the whole “chaos” came at the end. I do see this book often around to. It’s good to hear that it is generally pretty well received by the community! Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a great concept, and even though the chaos did only come at the end I still thought it was a good story. It was just I expected a little more from it based on the blurb.
      There are plenty of rave reviews for this one, and I can definitely see where all those bloggers were coming from, it just wasn’t a five star read for me.
      Thanks Lashaan. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I like the idea of the book! I can totally relate as there was a time I was so introvert, the blog has helped to get out of my shell again. And when you have such a hobby, family and people around just think you’re weird and leave it at this. I’m curious this one, great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a good book, and a brilliant concept as well. Eliza was such a relatable character which is definitely important in, well in any book I read actually. Yeah blogging feels like one of those hobbies people on the outside don’t really understand as much, as long as we do though right? Thanks so much Meggy! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Lovely review, Beth! I’ve recently been wanting to get this book. I’ve heard a lot about it these past few weeks, mostly good things. Eliza sounds like a wonderful character and I really love how the author mentions anxiety. I haven’t read many book with MCs having anxiety and so it’s nice to see a bit more diversity. I’ve already read a book about characters who are part of a fandom (i.e. Geekerella) but haven’t read a book about someone who has created their own fandom. So, that’s something I’d look forward to reading about. It’s a shame the revelation of Eliza’s identity isn’y given more page time. The blurb DOES make it sound like its a huge part of the story. A bit disappointing that it happens towards the end. Also a shame that Wallace kind of loses his charm by the end as well. But it still sounds like a pretty good read! Glad to see you enjoyed it for the most part, though! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Azia! 😀 I’d definitely recommend this book, all the good things I’ve heard about it are true from what I read. Eliza is an incredible character, and definitely one I was able to relate to which I find important in the books I pick up! 😀 I still need to get around to Geekerella myself but after reading Eliza and Her Monsters I’m going to try and get around to it that little bit sooner!
      Yeah that was probably my main disappointment. It felt like I was waiting for it for most of the story because it seemed like a much bigger part based on what the blurb promised.
      Thanks Azia, I hope you enjoy this book when.if you pick it up! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I just saw this one at my library but I’m thinking it might actually be worth buying! What do you think? Can’t wait to see whaat you think of Geekerella! It’s such an adorable read 😀
        Thank you! I hope so, too!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Casey! 😀 I loved the little drawings added into this book, the different ways of telling Eliza and Wallace’s stories . I really enjoyed Eliza and Her Monsters so I hope you do as well when you get around to it. If you enjoyed Fangirl chances are you’ll enjoy this book as well! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great review, Beth! 😀 I’m usually not really a big fan of reading reviews – even for books I’ve already read myself, but I really liked yours!

    I just recently finished this book (in one sitting, even) and I really enjoyed it quite a lot! I really loved the writing and the way fandom was portrayed in this book! I remember not being too big a fan of Fangirl (Eliza And Her Monsters did kind of remind me of Fangirl here and there) but this was right up my alley! I’m really happy to read that you enjoyed it for the most part too! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Swetlana! 😀 Oh I’m glad to hear that, and I can understand how you’re not always a big fan of reading reviews. I tend to avoid them myself for books still on my to-read list. 🙂
      There was a lot to enjoy about this book. The fandom was definitely one of them because I love reading books that represent the fandom in some way. Oh that’s a shame about Fangirl, but yeah at least we both enjoyed this book! 😀 ❤

      Like

  6. I really enjoyed how the family dynamic developed and changed as well, and I am jumping on the train, where i thought Wallace acted a little out of character, but I guess they needed that conflict to move the story further, so I forgave it. Great review

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was brilliantly written, and family relationships are something I love seeing in books so it’s important to me they are well developed you know? Yeah they needed conflict, I just felt like Wallace’s character and actions after the reveal could have been better written you know?
      Thanks. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Heather. 🙂 I’ve been seeing it everywhere as well, it’s what made me pick it up after it was finally released in the UK. Eliza and Her Monsters was a really good story, and yes it’s definitely great seeing fandoms represented more as well! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for sharing this review Beth! This book has been on my TBR for the past while. So far I have heard nothing but raving reviews about this book, so it is good to know some of things that you didn’t like. I am still going to read this book and see what I think about it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s all right. 🙂 Yeah I’ve heard plenty of amazing things about this book as well, and while it was a good story there were just a few downsides that stopped this from being a five star read for me. I hope you enjoy this book Sophie, from what I read the positive reviews don’t lie! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Ooh, I read this very recently! I LOVED it (which is the reason I finished it in a day). I definitely thought that the revealing of Eliza’s identity would happen earlier from the blurb as well — but I don’t think that’s the author’s fault (if they’re still having other people blurb their books?).

    I REALLY loved how relatable everything was and Eliza’s voice was so fresh! I do agree that Wallace’s reaction was out of character and negative — but it was realistic! I love how the book ended though. 🙂

    Great review, Beth! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I think I remember reading your review for this book on Goodreads! 😀 It was a good book, and no definitely not the authors fault. I guess I just expected the reveal to be a bigger part of the plot is all.
      Eliza was such a brilliant character, really relatable which is what I look for in book characters, and yeah Wallace was as well but I couldn’t get past some of the negative things he did.
      Thanks so much May! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.