Eliza and Her Monsters – Francesca Zappia – Greenwillow Books – Published 30 May 2017
In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, Eliza is LadyConstellation, anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves her digital community, and 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 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.
I’m sharing my review of this book early because it is so amazing I just can’t stop myself from talking about it.
Wow. Wow. Wow! WOW. This book. This book. No words. Actually, so many words, just none of them powerful enough to convey how absolutely perfect and beautiful and amazing and clever this book is. My mantra is simply going to be ‘Read this. Thank me later.’
Some books are so good they blow all other books completely out of the water. How can I give this book five stars when it deserves five billion? This just became my favourite book of the year. Yes, I realise the year is not even halfway through. It’s still my favourite book for the entire year.
Eliza is the creator of the online webcomic Monstrous Sea. Online she is in control, popular, and clever. Outside of the online world she is unpopular, shy, and counts the minutes until she can return to her drawing. Then, she meets a new student to the school. A boy who seems as shy as she is. A boy who is a huge fan of Monstrous Sea. A boy with whom she can finally be honest face-to-face as well as online – just not about her identity as the creator of Monstrous Sea.
I could talk forever about what I love about this book. The drawings!!! The fact that it contains two additional stories, both of which are actually real and can be read (soon). That it’s about mental health and yet it really isn’t. It’s about a normal, gifted, anxious girl. Her art, her struggles with interacting with people, life. It conveys all the ups and downs of mental health so subtly and beautifully and…yeah. I love Eliza. Wonderful, creative, hiding, Eliza. She has created something so magical, yet doesn’t know how to transform that confidence and certainty she feels online and with her work to the outside world. She shuts out her family and everyone around her. The cover. I love the cover!!!
The progression of the story is timed to perfection. Nothing is rushed. Everything has its moment. The character development and relationships are beautiful. You’ll notice I’m not giving a huge amount of details. Remember, ‘Read this. Thank me later.’
I love the world Eliza (and Francesca) has created. Some of the lines are so PERFECT. I can completely understand Eliza’s fans’ fandom. And while a tattoo may not be for me, I’m definitely going to need to use some of those quotes. “There are monsters in the sea.”
The romance in this book is superb. Again, timed perfectly. It is an addition to Eliza’s story. And it has the most wonderful build up. And those kisses – not sure I’ve ever read such anticipation…sigh. Wallace isn’t perfect – in fact, that imperfection just might be what Eliza likes most about him. But together, they work so very well.
This truly is a stunning book in all regards. I can’t wait to put this on our library shelf, my personal bookshelf, and share it with as many readers as possible.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction.
Themes: Mental health, Anxiety, Panic attacks, Webcomics, Art, Writing, Fame, Fans, High school, Romance, Depression.
Reading age guide: Ages 14 and up.
Advisory: Coarse language, f*** (13), sh** (12). Mature themes, suicide.
Published: 30 May 2017 by Greenwillow Books
Format: Hardcover, ebook. 400 pages.