Friday, June 2, 2017

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Title: Eliza and Her Monsters
Author: Francesca Zappia
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Source: Greenwillow via Edelweiss

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.

With illustrations from Eliza’s webcomic, as well as screenshots from Eliza’s online forums and snippets of Wallace's fanfiction, this uniquely formatted book will appeal to fans of Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona and Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl.
Review by Nara

Eliza and Her Monsters is no doubt going to be one of my top reads of 2017. From the characters to the plot to the adorable romance, there is little about this book to complain about. I'd read Zappia's debut novel, Made You Up, and thoroughly enjoyed it, but Eliza is on a completely new level.

There were excerpts throughout the book from Eliza's webcomic, Monstrous Sea, and rather like how Carry On was actually published (from Fangirl), I would love to read the webcomic or novelisation of Monstrous Sea. I've read comments from the author that it's actually something she's written but hasn't put out for people to look at. On the other hand, I'm amazed that Children of Hypnos is also an actual thing on the internet, and can currently be read on Wattpad (also written by Zappia).

Eliza is a frustrating but realistic character. I think the biggest problem I had with her was how she treated her parents and her brothers, shutting them out just because they thought differently to her. Although I suppose it was the same on the part of her parents, trying to take interest in only certain rosy parts of Eliza's life. If they'd all just talked to each other properly, many of the issues in the novel would never have arisen. I don't think this made the novel less enjoyable, however. It was used mostly as a plot device to show Eliza's growth as a character, and it was done quite well.

The romance is so great. It's doesn't take over the main plot, but supplements it so well with how adorable and realistic it is. Wallace has some unreasonable but quite realistic reactions to certain events in the novel, and the way the two characters grow together is so fantastically done. I think the biggest thing about this novel is that despite the characters being quite flawed, they are also easy to empathise with.

All in all, an excellent contemporary novel with modern and relateable issues. Would 100% recommend this book to everyone.

Overall: 9/10
Plot: 4.5/5
Romance: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Characters: 4/5
Cover: 4/5