Caro's back, call a friend
I swear I'm sane
I had the weekend off from my thesis (the draft is being reviewed wish me luck!) so I had the time to read, finally. So of all the books I have in my crushingly large TBR list, I picked out Eliza and her Monsters, by Francesca Zappia.
"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."
Let's see if I can remember how to write one of these ^^
Eliza and her Monsters is a book that resonated with me, that made me really understand the characters, and that was impossible to put down. Francesca Zappia must be a fangirl herself to be able to understand what its like to be a part of a fandom at such a deep level.
I'm not gonna give anything spoiler-free with this review, it was just too good not to get into the details right away!
Let's start with my favorite part - the characters. Each of the characters - even the side ones that were mentioned once or twice, felt important and well thought-out. One of my favorite parts of the whole story was actually when Sully made their parents come face-to-face with how popular Eliza's webcomic was after they exposed her to the world. I felt bad for the parents because they really had no way of understanding the amplitude of this until Sully confessed that he loved reading his sister's work and explained how big it was.
Eliza was an interesting protagonist to have - I love how the narration was basically her thought process ninety percent of the time - it was messy at times, and counter-intuitive, just like any thought process is. I also really liked her 'realization' moments where she would see that she doesn't know her brothers as much as she's like, or why her parents don't understand. There's some mental health involved, but it's never put in the light of 'she has anxiety'. Her social awkwardness is just a part of who she is.
Wallace is an odd one - I loved him and his relationship with Eliza... until the part where he basically ghosts her for weeks, just to bully her into finishing her story, when she didn't have it in her, for his own benefit. That was not okay - it pushed her almost to doing something she couldn't come back from. Also, why was he so upset at her keeping things from him? He had just admitted to her via that email that most of what he was telling her was a lie. He gave her zero support during one of the hardest moments of her life out of basically pettiness. Not cool, Wallace.
The plot was constantly shifting and moving all while staying relatively simple - there were re-occuring elements to the story that you held on to and that ended up meaning a lot to both character development and the story itself. There was also a whole procession of events that kept things rolling step by step.
Also, short chapters <3
Personally, I haven't read a contemporatry novel that resonated so much with me in a very long time, and I have zero regrets reading it! I highly reccomend it.
I'm giving Eliza and her Monsters a 4.5/5 feathers - minus 0.5 cus not cool, Wallace!