Title: Eliza and Her Monsters
Author: Francesca Zappia
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
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.
OMG, I don’t even know where to start with this book!
Honestly, it was such an emotional book for me that I found myself crying my eyes out the minute everything crashed and burned; at that point I didn’t want to know anything else about the comic, I just wanted to see how everything was gonna get fixed.
That said, the characters were amazing, I related so much to Eliza because I have social anxiety issues. I can handle it better now but haven’t been able to get rid of it (only my husband and kids know about this blog, btw). I was so insecure that I had severe doubts about my friends and fretted losing them, by the end of high school I had 3 great friends but lost them at the end of senior year. How did I navigate through those tides? I buried myself in books, they were my safe heaven (not the internet because we had restricted access).
This type of anxiety is a reality a lot of teens and tweens are now facing, they don’t know how to cope and us parents how to handle it. I think part of the reason we are concerned about online friends as “real” friends is because they can be literally anybody: a stalker, a child trafficker, you name it…
Right now I do understand that you can find friendship online but brought up the issue to my mom after reading this book and she’s stuck on it being not normal or proper behavior; in my opinion, by us failing to acknowledge them as “real” and tag it as “not normal behavior” we force kids to shut down and turn towards a more serious and emotional edge with little way out (hence, suicidal thoughts).
Another kind of pressure that Eliza’s facing is that her art is now public; it’s not an escape route anymore but a compromise to please fans. That kind of commitment is hard for someone that young.
Wallace is this kind, hilarious and athletic boy who, for some reason, is socially awkward too. I’m glad he met Eliza: he snapped her out of her shell and made her be aware of him, they found something they had in common and connected with each other. Their awkward relationship was what both needed to move passed their anxieties.
I didn’t like Wallace’s reaction after the identity of Lady Constellation was revealed but I understand his feelings and the desperation of wanting to escape his own reality and pursue his dreams… I don’t support it but I understand!
The supporting characters played such a big role: her parents, the love-hate relationship she has with her brothers, Emmy and Max… everyone contributed; one of the things I loved the most was how supportive and understanding her brothers ended up being despite all the bickering.
Anyway, this was a great and unique book and am so glad I squeezed it into my schedule!