ARC Review: Eliza and Her Monsters

June 10, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★

ARC Review: Eliza and Her MonstersEliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
on May 30th 2017
Source: Edelweiss
Also by this author: Made You Up
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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.

I thought that Francesca Zappia’s debut novel was absolutely stunning, so I couldn’t wait for her next book. Unfortunately, I found Eliza and Her Monsters to be a little on the disappointing side. This wasn’t exactly the worst book I’ve ever read, I still actually enjoyed reading it and devoured it in only one sitting. I thought that the premise was really unique, but I was expecting more from it. It’s highly possible that my standards were just set far too high because of how much I loved Made You Up. Whatever the reason might be, I wasn’t a huge fan of Eliza and her Monsters.

Eliza was a decent enough of a character. My favorite element of the story was probably her art. She created this wonderful comic that has such a large and popular fandom behind her. However, her identity is kept a secret. No one knows that she’s a high schooler with severe anxiety who would rather make friends online than in the real world. I could definitely relate to this part of the story. Like Eliza, I also find it easier to communicate with people online than in person. So yeah, I felt like she was a realistic character who I enjoyed reading about. The only thing I didn’t like about her was her treatment of parents. I felt like the way the book portrayed parents in general was a bit cliche. There was the whole “no one understands” me thing going on that I didn’t really like.

Wallace didn’t completely blown away. My heart did totally break for him once we discovered his story. And of course I wanted to give him a huge hug. I’ve seen some reviews where people strongly disliked Wallace in the second half of the book. I was expecting him to like get with another girl or do something evil. But I felt like his reaction wasn’t totally awful. I didn’t think it was okay, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be either. So basically, I wasn’t in love with Wallace but I didn’t think that he was the worst either. He wasn’t as swoony as I was anticipating, which was truly disappointing for me.

Since I had a few issues with both Eliza and Wallace individually, you might be able to guess that I didn’t really ship them as a couple. I thought they were just okay, not my favorite couple or anything like that. It was great and relatable how they bonded over fandom. The friendship that they started off having was extremely sweet. I also loved how they opened up to one another. They were mostly a kind and lovely couple, though I didn’t completely get it.

Eliza and Her Monsters was an alright novel that I wanted more from. I think the concept was creative. I love the idea of someone creating something so popular without their identity being revealed. The various online and real life relationships that were portrayed in the book felt very realistic. One of my other main issues with the story was that it felt slow to me. For whatever reason, the book felt much longer than it actually was. It could have been cut down a hundred pages or so. I hope that whatever this author writes next will work better for me!


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