Author: Francesca Zappia

Divider

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
Goodreads
three-stars

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!

three-stars

Divider

Made You Up Review

December 15, 2015 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★★★

Made You Up ReviewMade You Up by Francesca Zappia
Published by Greenwillow Books on May 19th 2015
Pages: 428
Source: Purchased
Also by this author: Eliza and Her Monsters
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars
Reality, it turns out, is often not what you perceive it to be—sometimes, there really is someone out to get you. Made You Up tells the story of Alex, a high school senior unable to tell the difference between real life and delusion. This is a compelling and provoking literary debut that will appeal to fans of Wes Anderson, Silver Linings Playbook, and Liar.
Alex fights a daily battle to figure out the difference between reality and delusion. Armed with a take-no-prisoners attitude, her camera, a Magic 8-Ball, and her only ally (her little sister), Alex wages a war against her schizophrenia, determined to stay sane long enough to get into college. She’s pretty optimistic about her chances until classes begin, and she runs into Miles. Didn't she imagine him? Before she knows it, Alex is making friends, going to parties, falling in love, and experiencing all the usual rites of passage for teenagers. But Alex is used to being crazy. She’s not prepared for normal.
Funny, provoking, and ultimately moving, this debut novel featuring the quintessential unreliable narrator will have readers turning the pages and trying to figure out what is real and what is made up.

This book is so incredible and beautifully written. Zappia seriously impressed me with her ability to create these lovely and realistic characters. The main character Alex suffers from paranoia and schizophrenia so she never knows what’s real and what isn’t. She takes pictures of the things around her so she can figure out whether or not she’s hallucinating. The writing couldn’t have been any better, the way the story slowly but surely progresses was unique and well done. If you haven’t read this book yet, you should definitely have it on your TBR list. I know that some people aren’t big on books that feature any type of mental illness out of fear it might be too depressing or for a different reason, but I’m telling you, you should at least give it a shot. I’m pretty certain that you won’t regret it!

Alex is an unreliable narrator and I absolutely loved that. Yes, it took a little bit to get used to the fact that you’re never 100% sure if what Alex sees is really there, but I thought that made it all the more exciting to discover. This book is far from predictable, though I did see a few things coming. However, I was still surprised by some of the things and it was much more suspenseful than I was expecting. Both Alex and Miles aren’t lovable in the beginning. Miles will surely rub you the wrong way in the beginning, you don’t know why he’s being so cold towards everyone, including Alex. Midway through though, we learn more about his story and at that point, you’ll fall in love with him. I liked that there was no case of insta-love here, this was a very very slow building romance and that’s exactly how I like it!

I’m a sucker for flawed characters and this is exactly what we find in “Made You Up.” I felt like the dialogue between Miles and Alex was so hilarious and relatable. They are both witty teens, but it never felt like TOO much to me. Even the supporting characters like one of Alex’s first friends from school, Tucker and even the less significant characters from school were all very well rounded and complex. This was a highly gorgeous book that’s bound to stay with me for a long time. It’s been awhile since I’ve been this touched by a book like I was with this intense story. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves reading unique YA contemporary books.

five-stars
Rating Report
Plot
five-stars
Characters
five-stars
Writing
five-stars
Pacing
five-stars
Cover
five-stars
Overall: five-stars

Divider