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Eliza and Her Monsters

by Francesca Zappia

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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8206020,426 (4.19)15
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.
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» See also 15 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 60 (next | show all)
Online, Eliza is LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the epically popular webcomic, Monstrous Sea. Offline, Eliza is just Eliza Mirk, shy, weird, and friendless. All her friends are online and she has no desire to try and make them in real life, that is, until she meets a new school transfer, Wallace Warland. Wallace is Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, rainmaker, and the two quickly become friends. Wallace even begins to draw Eliza out of her shell. But when Eliza’s secret online persona is accidentally shared with the world, everything begins to fall apart.

Firstly, this book is absolutely beautiful and amazing. I grew up writing and reading fan fiction as a teenager. Seeing small interactions of fandom life showcased in a positive light made me smile so much. I always find it’s hard to explain fandom life to those not apart of it, but I believe Francesca Zappa was able to capture it perfectly. Like both Eliza and Wallace, at one point, I had friends all over the globe who would “gather together” online to watch episodes together and then geek out over what happened. Those communities made me feel so safe to be able to be myself.

Another thing Zappa really captures well is Eliza’s depression. That hit me in the gut and twisted hard. I went through the same thing after college - I could no longer write, I was super depressed, nothing seemed to be going the way I had thought it would...

“Broken people don’t hide from their monsters. Broken people let themselves be eaten”

This book made me think a lot about my own writing and stories. I use to write all the time, but since I left college, there hasn’t been that spark. This book gave me all kinds of feelings and afterwards, I sat in my bed and really thought about why I even stopped...

“We create art for many reasons - wealth, fame, love, admiration- but I find the one thing that produces the best results is desire. When you want the thing you’re creating, the beauty of it will shine through, even if the details aren’t all in order. Desire is the fuel of creators, and when we have that, motivation will come in its wake.”

Long story short, I wrote something that wasn’t a journal entry in the first time in 5 years. It felt amazing and I really hope I can continue doing it again.

I realize this isn’t much of a review as it is my reflection of the book, but right now, that’s all I can think to do. Maybe one day I’ll come back and edit, but for now, I’ll leave with one of my favorite quotes from the book:

“Like life, what gives a story its meaning is the fact that it ends. Our stories have lives of their own - and it’s up to us to make them mean something.” ( )
  oldandnewbooksmell | Sep 24, 2021 |
I was hesitant to read this because I really don't enjoy books about people dealing with mental illness.

After seeing a video by The Novel Lush in her Eliza and Her Monsters Discussion: Unpopular Opinion! published on 12 jun. 2017 I can safely say I really wouldn't enjoy it.
  Jonesy_now | Sep 24, 2021 |
I absolutely loved this book! It was so good! I was so totally invested with these characters. They were just so real. I felt everything Eliza felt while reading this. In "real life" Eliza is the shy quiet girl that no one really ever notices and she likes it that way, but on the internet she is LadyConstellation, the creator of the super popular webcomic called Monstrous Sea. Then one day her homeroom teacher assigns Eliza to show the new kid, Wallace, around school. Wallace looks like a big football player guy, but turns out he is actually the top fanfiction writer for Monstrous Sea. He thinks she is just another fan of the comic and she keeps who she really is a secret from him. Things do not go well when her secret comes out. Mental health issues are addressed in here, more specifically anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. ( )
  Completely_Melanie | Sep 10, 2021 |
I am usually not put off by over hyped books, and I actually enjoy reading them. And I have never really been disappointed by one either but this book was definitely a let down.

Eliza is a typical anti-social teenager in high school who doesn’t have friends or a very strong relationship with her family because she doesn’t really talk to anyone. But she has an online secret. She is the anonymous creator of a very famous webcomic and is friends with two of her website admins. Then enters Wallace, a new kid in her class who also happens to be the most famous fanfiction writer of her webcomic. She finally opens up to him but never reveals her truth. What follows is the story of the consequences when her anonymity is busted.

Eliza suffers from anxiety and panic attacks and it was hard for me to relate to that side of her. I really liked the depiction of the fandom, her online friends Max and Emmy and also her struggle with finding motivation to continue her comic for the sake of its fans. I think it was very realistic and probably many authors struggle with such issues. But though I understand her issues with anxiety, I couldn’t empathize with her. She blames her parents for not understanding her but when they try, she is very rude and doesn’t even try to talk to them. Her brothers obviously love her but don’t know how to talk to her because she keeps them at a distance too. She doesn’t even try but blames everyone else for being indifferent. Wallace as a character is also pretty boring and comes across as self-obsessed and very rude towards her when the truth is revealed. Also, the little tidbits of her webcomic felt more like fillers and didn’t add anything to the story.

The book wasn’t really bad and I really wanted to finish it too in the hopes that it would get better, but couldn’t like it very much at the end because I couldn’t connect with the characters. ( )
  ksahitya1987 | Aug 20, 2021 |
teen romance (super awkward webzine creator meets also awkward fanfic writer IRL, also her parents don't GET her at all)
This was a really cute love story that also deals lightly with mental health--social anxiety, anxiety in general, recovering from trauma. It does get super serious at the end with one teen contemplating suicide, but I wasn't sure if this was realistic (does the author have experience with/has she done research on this, or is it really just a plot device?) so I'm not sure I would recommend it if your aim is to better understand mental health issues, but many readers can probably relate in part to some of Eliza's anxieties.

Also recommended: Queens of Geek for more Comic Con zaniness, or Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl for extra character development. Also, maybe Dress Codes for Small Towns for amazingly creative cosplay and complex characters. ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 60 (next | show all)

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Francesca Zappiaprimary authorall editionscalculated
Eriksson, LottieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart.

I am, I am, I am.

—Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
Dedication
For my friends, online and off

And for Jack and Norm
First words
Eliza Mirk is the kind of name you give to the creepy girl who clings to her ex-boyfriend for weeks after he’s dumped her because she refuses to accept that he hates her guts.
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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.

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