There are no spoilers in this review.
To be completely honest with you, I expected to love this book. A lot of my blogging friends loved and recommended Eliza and Her Monsters to me for a little while now and, from the synopsis and the topics it seemed to tackle, it seemed exactly like my kind of book.
I expected this to be good, I expected this to be a 4-stars read.
I ended up swallowed whole by the story, its characters. I ended up almost tearing up on the train, chocking up with my own feelings.
I expected to love this and damn, I didn’t expect to love this book THAT MUCH.
Amazing and really, really relatable characters.
“That computer is my rabbit hole; the internet is my wonderland. I am only allowed to fall into it when it doesn’t matter if I get lost.”
The story follows Eliza, a very introverted high school girl in real life, Lady Constellation on the internet, creator of one of the most famous webcomic, Monstrous Sea. Read by millions, loved by millions and so on. So, in this book, you get an introvert, a double-sort of life, loads of fan girling, internet friends and just it’s an ode for us lovers of the internet and screaming about everything we love online.
If there’s something that slowly and really won me over in this book, it’s the characters, and Eliza in particular, our main character. Right from the start and as she grew and changed in the story, I found myself relating to her a whole lot and in so many ways. I might not have created one of the most famous webcomics online, but I have felt the same way as Eliza more often than not, taking the internet, my computer and everything else as a refuge, being an annoying brat to my family at times that I always regret afterwards, ignoring the real world and on and on and on. Eliza just touched something, deep inside of me and just never let it go, from beginning to end. As the story moved on, as things changed, as pressure got harder and many, many things happened, I just found myself relating to her more and more and I loved it.
“I don’t want to be the girl who freezes when confronted with new friends, or the outside world, or the smallest shred of intimacy. I don’t want to be alone in a room all the time. I don’t want to feel alone in a room all the time, even when there are other people around.”
Apart from our main character, Eliza, this book introduces us to a ton of great side characters. First of all, there is Eliza’s family. A mother and a father, alive and together (bonus points for that, really) and two annoying yet adorable little brothers. Eliza’s family are such a big part of the story as well, supporting her and her art, trying to understand her, creating conflict as she grows, change, etc. I LOVED THAT so, so much.
We also get to meet Wallace, the love interest in this story. I appreciated how complex and three-dimensional he ended up being. Just like our main character, there was so much more than meets the eye in him and I loved that. He loves writing and he’s built like a footballer. He also plays, by the way. He has his own secrets and issues to overcome and he has selective mutism. There were loads of things to love about Wallace, really, but I think what I loved the most is how we slowly got to know him and fall in love with him, just like Eliza did.
Because YES, in this story, we are getting an amazing, slow-building romance and I appreciated that so, so much. From strangers to acquaintances, from first awkward moments to becoming real friends, to a little more… still, with all of its complexities and taking everything slow, especially with a first kiss. They were adorably awkward together and I was basically flailing all the time okay.
INTERNET! ANXIETY REP! AMAZINGNESS!
Eliza and Her Monsters packs a whole punch of emotions and it manages to tackle so many important, relevant issues for me and everyone, really.
First of all, THE INTERNET. Eliza loves it, spends tons of time on forums, has amazing online friendships, people she can turn to at all times and people she can chat with all the time or after two weeks, like nothing has changed. They were different, living all across the country and not the same age, yet they are genuine friends and I loved the positive message that it sent. Basically, this book is all about a bunch of nerds on the internet and I LOVED IT.
“Broken people don’t hide from their monsters. Broken people let themselves be eaten.”
Second of all, the anxiety/depression rep: I thought that the representation was quite excellent, so excellent that it made me a bit uncomfortable at times because it was so accurate.
Third of all, I loved all the building up and the pressure that comes with having created something so big online. From scheduling her new comic pages, to being there for her fans, to forgetting the whole world outside to just do your own thing… yes, everything felt relatable on some level and I loved how accurate it all was, how hard and anxiety-inducing it could become for Eliza. It was a story about doing what you love, but also a story about taking care of yourself and how important that is, too.
“Eliza, your worth as a person is not dependant on the art you create or what other people think of it.”
I have written a whole lot already about this book, so I should stop right now. I absolutely loved Eliza and Her Monsters. The characters were so relatable, the rep was quite accurate and basically it was a love story about fandoms, writers and creators and it was a real story about anxiety/depression and so much more. I don’t know, I just really loved it and would recommend it to ALL fans of YA contemporary loving relatable characters and looking for everything I mentioned right above. Just. Read. This.
Final rating: It’s a hurricane!
Trigger warnings: anxiety, depression, suicide/attempted suicide.
Francesca Zappia, Eliza and Her Monsters, Published by Greenwillow Books, May 30th, 2017.
Her story is a phenomenon. Her life is a disaster.
In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she 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 as he draws her out of her shell, she 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.
Did you read Eliza and Her Monsters? Do you want to? (YOU should!)
What’s the last 5-stars-book you’ve read? Let me know in comments!
Note: in case you missed it in my previous post, I’m taking a small break and won’t be too around, both on my blog and to blog-hop, from Sat. 24th Feb. to Sunday, March 4th. I love you all! xx