Eliza and her Monsters by Francesca Zappia (2017)
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance, Fandom
Pages: 385 (not long enough!)
Spoiler free review!
This book was exactly what I needed, and exactly when I needed it. I read this after reading The Fandom by Anna Day and I enjoyed that book based around fandoms so much that I worried I wouldn’t be able to appreciate this one in all its glory. But I was definitely wrong and I am very glad I was, as this book has now scooted to a position in my favourites (as has The Fandom)!
For those of you who don’t know about this book, it follows Eliza who is an anonymous author of a very popular online comic series that A LOT of people read. Key to the plot here is that she is anonymous, but of course not for long! Meanwhile there’s a new kid starting at her school who turns out to be the most popular fan fiction writer of Monstrous Sea, her online comic. Naturally the two spark up a friendship and Eliza manages to come out of her shell a little bit.
Eliza is a very private person and as a character is very interesting, because you feel you are always finding out something new about her. She really develops as a character and you can feel yourself internally and externally cheering for her. I found her very relatable in some ways, and in others she gave me an insight into what social anxiety can do to someone. I’ve always heard about this form of anxiety and know people with it, but reading a book from this perspective offered me a new look at it and this was really eye opening.
Monstrous Sea is a total escape for Eliza and for many others and it reminded me of the things that I absolutely love, but have maybe fallen to the side of the fandom with as my life has taken over. I left this book with a need to read a graphic novel for the first time and also a need to rediscover those things I used to be totally obsessed with. The result? I’m now into the Saga series of graphic novels and am currently reading The Fellowship of the Ring for the first time and rediscovering my love and obsession for Lord of the Rings. So thank you Eliza for sparking my passions back up, reading this book made me it undeniably clear that our passions are what guide us in life and we should never forget that, they are what make us who we are.
Wallace is the fan fiction writer I mentioned that sparks a friendship with Eliza, to me Wallace is like the reader wanting to make Eliza feel better. He himself is also very quiet and self preserved, he doesn’t tend to speak in front of people unless he really knows them. So much like Eliza, Wallace is another character with social anxiety and who loves Monstrous Sea. I really liked that these two form the relationship that they do because it gives Eliza that happy ending potential and also allows her to come out of her shell. She lives in a world where her family and the people around her don’t understand her, and some are outwardly horrible to her about it. But Wallace gets it, he knows and he is there for her, again reflecting the wishes of the reader onto Wallace there.
This was the kind of book that I couldn’t put down, I would read it before I went to work, on my lunch break and as soon as I got home until I finished it. I’ve said I thought it should have been longer, but that is more for my own enjoyment than anything else. I wanted this to be a spoiler free review so anyone could read it and see why they should devour this fantastic book. Can we have more from Eliza’s world please?