Review: Eliza And Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia


Eliza And Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Publisher: HarperCollins

Publication Date: May 30th, 2017

Genre: YA Contemporary

Pages: 400 pages

Format: eGalley

Rating: ★★★★★ (5 Stars)

*Trigger Warning: Suicide & attempted suicide

*HUGE thanks to HarperCollins, Edelweiss & Francesca Zappia for the ARC copy of Eliza And Her Monsters.

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.

 Oh this book! *fangirl moment* I can’t stop thinking about Eliza, Wallace, her monsters, and her online friends! When we first meet Eliza she is chatting online with friends she made through her creation Monstrous Sea, a web comic that has blown up world wide. Max aka Apocalypse_Cow & Emme aka emmersnacks are the only 2 people who know Eliza’s real identity. To the world she’s known as LadyConstellation, to Max & Emme she’s just Eliza aka MirkerLurker (private screen name lol). Her whole life revolves around her webcomic & avoiding outdoor activities with her mom, dad, and younger brothers. In school she’s pretty much a loner with not a single friend on site. That is up until she meets Wallace aka the new guy in school who appears in every sense to be a jock if we’re talking physical build alone. Wallace is tall with broad shoulders & prefers to sit alone with a notebook & pen. An odd encounter (no spoilers here jeje) forces Eliza to cross paths with Wallace. What they don’t know is that they actually share a lot in common & both harbor secret identities 😉

We get to see Eliza’s Monstrous Sea web-comic in bits & pieces sprinkled throughout the book. Eliza takes Monstrous Sea & her fan-base very seriously, making sure to post every Friday at the same hour. She’s an amazing illustrator & spends days working on each page she posts weekly, leaving little to no time for anything else. Monstrous Sea isn’t just some silly pass time for Eliza & she does make a profit from the MS Merch she sells online with the help of Max & Emme. When her parents start trying to get her to come out of the house more & be more active, she retreats further away. It is inevitable for her online life to clash with with her offline life (won’t say “real life” cuz Eliza doesn’t like this phrase lol). Once both collide, we begin to see what issues lie beneath…

Eliza is a introvert who finds it easier to make friends & connect with people over the web which isn’t as rare as one would think nowadays. She has social anxiety holding her back from making friends in school or attending social events. Online, she comes alive & I just loved her chat DM’s with Max & Emme. They may have never met but they exchange care packages & know about each others personal lives as well. I’ve made these types of friendships & can honestly say they have turned into amazing ones offline as well. I was able to connect with Eliza’s online comfort and social anxiety but I also gained some outsider perspective from her family. Although in spurts, we do get to know Emme & Max who I LOVED! they help Eliza keep Monstrous Sea operating from banning trolls to site maintenance & her online store. They also genuinely care about Eliza & I kept wishing they lived closer to her. Wallace! OMG *heart eyes* a big guy with a big heart who only managed to upset me once in this book haha! Loved that he didn’t fit the stereotypical mode set for Jocks, Zappia def gives you a vivid image of Wallace. He also has a past & getting to know his side added the depth we were given with Eliza. We get to meet the families for both Eliza & Wallace which gave us a better understanding of underlying issues. I also took away a few lessons from Eliza’s parents & the importance of keeping up with social media when you have kids. Overall these characters were well fleshed out down to Eliza’s fictional monsters 😉

 This is my 1st Zappia book & at first I did not make the connection that she is the author behind Made You Up, a book that has been recommended to me by many close bookworm buddies. A book that i’m ashamed to say has sat on my e-book shelf for far too long. I am more than eager to get to it now that I’ve read & loved Eliza and Her Monsters. The writing style used wasn’t your conventional straight text, instead we get chat DM’s & pieces of her web-comic sprinkled throughout. I felt like I was getting a 2 for 1 deal because I found myself thoroughly enjoying Eliza’s Monstrous Sea. I would LOVE to see more of it in a spin-off or anything really just MORE lol. On a more serious note from what I’ve read about Made You Up, this isn’t Zappia’s first YA book tackling mental illness. In this book we see social anxiety take a toll on Eliza & it all felt very real to me as I was reading her experiencing a panic attack. As someone who deals with anxiety & panic attacks myself, seeing mental health representation in books gives me a much deeper appreciation for authors like Zappia. I hope she continues to write about these topics as I’m sure they’re helping many others. I highly recommend this read to all of my bookworm bloggers/readers since i’m sure we all have a little Eliza in all of us 😉

 Monstrous Sea art by Francesca Zappia found on Monstrous Sea Tumblr

Have any of my bloggers/readers read Eliza And Her Monsters? or perhaps, plan to? also, any fun fandoms you follow? 🙂

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Author: LairOfBooks

"Between The Pages Of A Book Is A Lovely Place To Be"-Anonymous

38 thoughts on “Review: Eliza And Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia”

  1. you already know how i feel about this one!! i cannot wait to pick it up! it has definitely skipped a few books on the TBR already lol. amazing review twin! the characters, writing, and plot sounds freaking AMAZING!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know! 🤗🤗🤗I can’t wait for you to read this one, thank you so much twin!💕I have a feeling you will LOVE Eliza and Her Monsters 😍 so I’m glad it has managed to hump it up a few books in place on your TBR 😉📚💙

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve seen this cover floating around everywhere lately but didn’t know what it was about until I read your review. I’m going to go run to add it to my TBR because this sounds like a book I NEED to read soon. I’ve been wanting more books with main characters who have social anxiety. And I’m really intrigued by the whole comic aspect and love that it has the whole online thing and social media. It sounds like it’s a really relatable read. Great review as always, Lilly!! 😁💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Melissa! This was such a cute with a bit of seriousness to it type of read. I couldn’t recommend it any more than I already do! The mental health around our main protog is handled well & has made me curious about this author’s debut novel. I hope you enjoy as much as I did when you get around to it 😊📚💙

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome, Lilly!! Contemporaries that are both cute and serious are always my favorite. And glad to hear that the mental health aspect was handled well. I hope so too! I’ll definitely be putting this one my list for whenever I do my next contemporary binge. 😊💕

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Baha! Ummm this a tough one to determine if you’d enjoy lol. It has elements I think you’d enjoy but being that you’ve been on a YA hiatus I’m not sure how you’d feel. I LOVED this one though so I’d say give it a shot for sure 😃📚💜

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! haha! it was so much fun reading Eliza that I can’t stop thinking about the characters & wishing Zappia would gift us another book soon! can’t wait to hear your thoughts when you get around to it 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh my god your review has made me desperate to read this book Lilly. I have some book vouchers so as soon as I get a chance I am going to run to the bookstore to get my own copy of Eliza and her Monsters
    It sounds amazing, Eliza sounds like a brilliantly developed character and I am already really intrigued by her online friendship with Max and Emme. I really enjoy reading close friendships in books and it seems like that’s just the kind Eliza, Emme and Max have with one another.
    Also I’m really intrigued by the art and the DM conversations too, I find I enjoy books more that have different ways of telling the story mixed in with the words and text!
    Great review. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. haha! it seems that I can be rather persuasive when I’m fond of a book lol. Honestly Beth, it would be hard not to love this one! It was just EVERYTHING I could possibly ask from a contemporary yet so much more! since you enjoy stories with good & strong friendships, this is PERFECT! Can’t wait to hear your thoughts when you get around to it but I think I already know how it will fare with you 😉

      &&& yes to stories told in different formats! makes reading all the more fun 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I looked it up and this book isn’t out in the UK until mid-July :/
        Still I’m sure it will be worth the wait because it sounds amazing. I’m looking for ore contemporaries now to be honest and this seems like the perfect book to add to my to-read list. I’ll be sure to let you know what I think when I have finished it! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I feel nervous about the synopsis saying she has no friends. Based on this review, clearly she does. Online communities can save people–really and truly–so the premise that she needs to join life outside of the internet makes me worried.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it was actually a point of contention between Eliza and her parents. The fact that they kept asking her to go out & have fun with real life friends. I actually found myself connecting with Eliza seeing as I myself had the same arguments with my mom when I first discovered chats. Not to worry though, this isn’t just Eliza’s journey. I don’t want to spoil it but the big disconnect btwn Eliza & her parents is addressed. She also struggles with social anxiety & that’s addressed with Eliza being open to getting help. There were moments of anger & frustration but also insightful. My mom doesn’t get the web & is only now understanding the concept of online friendships. I shut her out of my life throughout my teen years simply because she didn’t understand & I found the things she said about my online friendships to be hurtful. Eliza’s parents are modern day parents & yet still weren’t aware of fandoms & just how popular her daughter was at a world wide level. It’s a story about family connections & the importance of taking interest in what your loved ones are passionate about…hope that helps, sorry to ramble 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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