Paper Dreams Review on Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Published: May 30th 2017 by Greenwillow Books

Page Length: 385 pages

 

I received Eliza and her Monsters from May’s Owlcrate book box – Comic Explosion. I haven’t read anything by this author before so I had no idea what to expect but the synopsis sounded interesting and I was willing to give it a go. But let’s just say now, I’m so happy the team from Owlcrate chose this book for the box. I read it all in one sitting and absolutely adored it!!

{Synopsis from Goodreads}

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.

*****

How about that main character?

I really liked Eliza’s character. She’s creative and innovative but also fairly shy and self conscious. I resonated with her on many levels as I have also suffered from the clutches of anxiety and the occasional panic attack. There are scenes where Eliza has to take a moment to herself, whether it be leaving the room or ducking under a blanket, to calm her nerves and to just be. I really respect that Zappia wrote Eliza this way- that she realizes and acknowledges her anxiety and takes time to adjust for it.

Book format

I LOVED the format of this book. Since Eliza is a creator of the web comic Monstrous Sea, we actually see excerpts of some her comic. There are also conversations Eliza’s web persona LadyConstellation has with her fans as well as her personal account MirkerLurker having conversations with friends she has made on the internet. And then of course there is regular paragraph and dialogue format. Each are totally relevant to the context of this story. The drawings make me very happy!

Plot within the plot

I want to read Monstrous Sea, the webcomic that Eliza creates. It sounds so interesting and you get little tidbits of what the story is about from conversations Eliza and Wallace have or Eliza’s forum interactions besides the actual comic drawings. Like, can Monstrous Sea be a real thing??? It sounds really cool and I’d definitely be into it. The other webstory (Children of Hypnos) that was super popular and a major inspiration for Eliza that was brought up in this story that was done by a fictional author ( Olivia Kane) who didn’t finish the series was creatively brought in. I found out after I read this book that the author- Francesca Zappia is the creator of the actual story of Children of Hypnos and it’s accessible on Wattpad. You can read it HERE. So that kind of blew my mind.

What I didn’t like

There was one scene that really bothered me. It was close to the end and pretty crucial so I don’t want to give too much away but once I read what was happening- it didn’t sit well with me. We know Eliza is battling with depression and anxiety but I felt that this certain scene was almost too much for Eliza’s character, like it wasn’t truly something she would think about or do based on the story thus far. There was also some foreshadowing about this kind of scene happening in other books in a previous conversation between the characters of this book so when it eventually led to it my initial reaction was- WHAT? Why is this happening?  So yeah. This was the only thing I really disliked about this book and it was only a chapter.

Recommend?

I definitely recommend Eliza and her Monsters! I really enjoyed this story and all the characters, especially Eliza and Wallace. This is more than a story of two people battling teenage hormones and falling in love, it’s also a story of not just overcoming a mental health illness but learning to live with it, of being passionate about something and giving it your all, overcoming self doubt and building confidence. I think everyone should give this one a try! Francesca Zappia is a wonderful author and I really enjoy her writing style.

Have you read Eliza and her Monsters? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

Paper Dreams Review on Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

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