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.