Two Minute Review: Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Monday, June 5, 2017
Title: Eliza and Her Monsters
Author: Francesca Zappia
Genre: contemporary
Series: N/A
Pages: 400
Published: May 30 2017
Source: publisher via edelweiss
Rating: 5/5

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.

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.



With her second novel Francesca Zappia has once again created vibrant, flawed characters that linger long after the final page. Eliza and Her Monsters is a fantastic YA contemporary story about fandom, art, and teenage mental health. Zappia renders finely-tuned characters who evoke emotion and investment; not only the titular Eliza herself, but the adorably taciturn Wallace is a testament to strong characterization. Between then they make a good ship,, and independent of one another they are amazing characters. 

I loved the central storylines wholeheartedly but I admit I wasn't the hugest fan of the in-world Monstrous Sea excerpts when it came to the illustrations. I did read a digital ARC - which probably factors into my less-than-enthused reaction - so hopefully the finished versions will look better. (I felt the same way about Simon Snow in Fangirl sooo...) I liked the included narrative bits more, though the most famous/important quotes according to Eliza leave me a bit indifferent.

I love Francesca Zappia's novels because they make me laugh and they also make me cry. But aside from those reactions, both Eliza and Her Monsters and Made You Up made me consider entirely new perspectives and experiences of to mental illness. The author covers the subject with care; Eliza's eponymous monsters are both in her art and in her brain but they aren't handled superficially. This is only the author's second novel but she's already among the best in the contemporary YA game.










2 comments:

  1. I'm right now waiting for my preordered copy of the book and can't wait to read it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've heard so many great things about this one that I ended up adding it to my TBR list recently. It sounds really good. Glad to see that you loved it. Great review!

    ReplyDelete

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