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review 2018-09-04 08:48
Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
Eliza and Her Monsters - Francesca Zappia

It's been a long time since I've been to the library and I missed just spending the whole day there reading as many books as I can get my hands on. Last time I went, I felt like reading something relevant to my interests. That being "fandom." I get really invested in the books/video games/anime/manga I'm into and I love seeing others get involved as well; writing fanfiction, drawing fanart, cosplaying, and the list goes on. So when I heard Eliza and Her Monsters tackle this very topic, I was interested in reading it from the get-go. And I am glad I did.

 

This book follows Eliza Mirk. She is the creator of a highly successful webcomic which has a huge following in the online community. With that success comes curiosity as her fans wonder who is the creator of their favorite comic. Eliza chooses to remain anonymous to protect herself, however, things start to get out of hand when news of who she is start to surface. It's a story about self-acceptance, persistence, and understanding. It's a pretty good story for those looking to understand who they are and what the future may hold.

 

I want to start off by saying I liked this book. I think the overall message was a good one. Teenagers really need to read books about taking time to figure themselves out and not to worry about trying to do everything "perfectly" right after high school. They need to take time, make some mistakes, and just figure things out for themselves. I really thought those messages were an important inclusion to the book. I thought the writing style was okay. It's nothing to write home about but it did what it set out to do.

 

The characters, also, were okay. I never really got to the point where I felt connected to Eliza. She had to face a lot of her own insecurities and I felt she was too much of a pushover, but I get that was how she is and how she needed to work through that. My main problem with her is that she, like many other female characters in media, are portrayed as being pathetic once a guy enters their life. There's nothing wrong with dating, but to sacrifice who you are and what you love for that person? Really? Nothing irks me more... and speaking of said guy... Wallace... at first, I liked him. I really did. I thought he was sweet and kind and I was curious as to why he chose not to speak out loud. I still think he can be sweet and kind... but when he put so much pressure on Eliza to help him with his future, I thought it wasn't fair. Her health and well-being should have been first on his mind. Not how, with her success, he was going to be well off in the future. Then he got upset with her when she said she couldn't help? Because her mental health was not at a good place? He acted so entitled to her work it really was making me upset. It was selfish and inconsiderate that I really started to dislike him. It does get better towards the end but... the damage was done. The characters were my least favorite part about this book.

 

Still, this book is not necessarily about the characters. It's about the love one can have for a piece of fiction and the things you can create for that love. It's about the fanfiction, fanart. It's about the fans and what the fans can create when they come together. It'd a love letter to fandoms and I thought it was a pretty good one at that.

 

If you have any interests in fandoms or are going through a difficult time when considering what you should be doing with your future, I urge you to pick this book up. It can be quite infuriating at times, but I think you'll be able to see through to the positives well enough. Keep in mind that this book deals with anxiety, depression, and suicide. Remember: You are not alone. There is help out there for you. Just reach out and there will be a hand to hold on to you. Take care of yourselves. Be kind. 

 

Hope you're all having a lovely day. If not, I hope everything gets better for you. 

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text 2018-01-02 17:13
Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia $2.99
Eliza and Her Monsters - Francesca Zappia

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.

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review 2017-12-31 23:35
Liked it better than I thought I would!!!!!
Eliza and Her Monsters - Francesca Zappia

I really liked Eliza and her monsters a lot more than I thought I would. I really just bought the ebook because I heard a lot of readers talking about how much they really loved the book. So when I found out yesterday that it was on sell for $ 2.99, I thought to myself why not buy it.

WoW I really felt bad for Eliza when people found out who she was, and then all the feelings she went through. I can understand her panic attacks, because I get them sometimes, and I feel like I can't breathe and like I am going to pass out. I really didn't start getting into the story until she meet Wallace.

Lets talk about Wallace, boy when he told his story about why he is the way he is, boy my heart about broke for him. I did get a little upset at Wallace towards the end, but only for a few seconds, then I was in love with him again.

The ending had me almost in tears, at that is what made it a 4* review and not a 3* review. I also have to say how much I loved Eliza's brothers, they were just to cute. I really also loved her two friends that are her online friends. I loved how they reacted after the reveal in regards to trying to calm things down. 

So I am so super glad I gave this book a chance.

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review 2017-06-18 00:00
Eliza and Her Monsters
Eliza and Her Monsters - Francesca Zappia 4.5 stars
Eliza was a realistic teen with relatable mental health issues. I loved how these were dealt with, I liked the complexity of her online vs real life presence, and her parents difficulty in relating to her.

In short, I felt like this book was just real. I don't think YA is easy to do in a realistic way, but it was, and this book still managed the profundity which also comes with youth.
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review 2017-06-02 23:58
Eliza and her Monsters by Francesca Zappia | READ THIS NOW!

This past Tuesday, Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia was released into the world, and you all need to get a copy. Now.

I was an Eliza beta reader about a year and a half ago, and I finished reading my hardback yesterday. All the praise that I had already given the beta version? Oh, wow. Magnify that by a hundred. This book is fantastic. Here are my 5 reasons for why you need NEED to read it.

 


1) Fantastic Characters--

It's a well known fact that Chessie makes amazing, multi-layered characters, the type to delight fans of all ages (cc: Made You Up). Her characters feel flesh and blood. They make you want to cry and scream, and you get frustrated on their behalf. Chessie's attention to detail makes her characters come alive, with their own little habits and phrases. And with such fantastic characters, you're guaranteed to be engaged in the story, even if you don't always agree with what the characters do.

Eliza and Her Monsters - Francesca Zappia
2) Breaking Gender Norms--

The romantic interest in this book is a hulk, former football player and now fanfiction writer and a selective mute, with a soft voice. The main character is a girl with greasy hair and social anxiety, and she's this super popular creator of a webcomic. Society tends to portray female creators as being Nice, Polite Women - women need to comprise, to smile more often, etc. Here, we have another story to rival that. And many of the side characters also break gender norms. I don't know about you, but I'm very pleased to have a story where the characters aren't in these flat cardboard boxes of what we expect (e.g., alpha male). This also makes the characters feel more real to me.

3) The Unique Formatting--

You can look at several of the Goodreads reviews that mention the photos - here, for instance. Or just at look at the EpicReads post of the first two chapters. You can see the inclusion of the Monstrous Sea webcomic pages, and the prose transcription beneath. You can see private messages between the characters - the moderators of the webcomic and Eliza, the romantic interest and Eliza. You can see forum interactions and forum profiles. Most of the YA books out right now don't have this amount of layering within their stories. Horror YA sometimes includes pictures, and other fandom related books might have some stories, some fanfiction--not to this extent, not to this level of metaness. See point below.

4) Unlike Anything Else You've Read--

This book has been compared to Fangirl and Afterworlds and Nimona, because every book needs to be compared to something, so you have an idea of its marketing. It's a fact of life that you build on schemas that people already have of the world. But this book is unlike anything else that you've read. You only get Cath's fanfiction in Fangirl, some of the story from the main character in Afterworlds. Nimona started off as a comic. None of these is quite the same as Eliza and Her Monsters. Here, you get the main character's creation and see how she interacts with her fans, and you see how fanfic writers interact with the creator and the fandom. You also get to hear about a series of books that she loves, too. Chessie has posted this online - the Children of Hypnos story. The main character has a drive to create after the fandom that she loves no longer exists. You have access to that story too. There's this amazing level of metaness in this story that ties so well into the themes of creation, fandoms, etc. I repeat: unlike anything else you've read.

5) So Easy to Relate to--

If you're reading this book, there is a good likelihood that you will relate to SOMETHING in this book. Whether it's the main character's social anxiety, the need to create, the desire to interact with the fandom, or just loving how the fandom interacts-- there is something for everyone. And you know that Chessie has interacted with or been a part of fandoms, because it shows in her writing. It shows in how fandoms a portrayed. Marieke Nijkamp wrote the blurb, "A love letter to fandom, friendship, and the stories that shape us, Eliza and Her Monsters is absolutely magical." Yes, yes, yes. A love letter to fandom and friendship and stories. Yes. 100% true.

READ THIS BOOK!

PS - This wonderful novel got a starred review from Kirkus, Publisher's Weekly, Booklist, and School Library Journal.

PPS - Here is my original pre-review: I read a manuscript of this book about one year ago to date. If you like Made You Up, you will most certainly love Eliza! Chessie brings back her trademark endearing humor in another wonderful mix of adorable romance, quirky characters, and multilayered plotting (plus the cool formatting here, which is typically reserved for YA horror, but hey, Eliza is just that awesome). I would also recommend this book to fans of Fangirl and Afterworlds.

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