5 out of 5 Stars
“Broken people don’t hide from their monsters. Broken people let themselves be eaten.”
Wow. I was utterly blown away by Eliza and Her Monsters. I was so intensely enveloped and invested in this story that I gobbled it up quickly. Like a monster.
This story is about an eighteen-year-old named Eliza who is desperately waiting for the last six months of senior year to pass so that she can move on to college. At her school, she is a nobody. Worse than a nobody. She has no friends at school and has long ago accepted her fate as the outcast. Her online life, however, could not be more different. Online, she is LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of an insanely popular webcomic called Monsterous Sea that has millions of fans worldwide. Her comic is the most important thing in her life and is all she truly cares about. One day, she happens to notice the new boy at school, Wallace, being bullied for writing fanfiction. About her comic. Without letting him know who she really is, the two strike up a deep friendship.
I really have no pet peeves about this novel. I absolutely loved it. I haven’t read a book this quickly since I read The Help last summer, so it was a treat to be this engrossed in a story again. It is a tad slow to start but it doesn’t take long for the pace to pick up.
The themes of anxiety and depression in this story resonated deeply within me. There were definite times when I became teary-eyed over the description of Eliza’s thought process, because it so closely mirrored my own. Francesca Zappia deserves all the stars for her amazing portrayal of anxiety and how it affects not only us, but the people around us. Eliza struggles with the relationship between herself and her parents because they love sports and fitness and she doesn’t. She doesn’t understand them and they don’t understand her. She feels like shes already knows what they are thinking and what they would say, so she stops telling them about her life. She thinks her two younger brothers hate her, so she resigns to have as little to do with them as well. Watching the story unravel was an emotional rollercoaster for me.
Another cool thing about this book is that you read snippets and see pages of the webcomic Monsterous Sea as you read along. I also loved the way the story let you read the actual online forum chats of the characters. I connected so much with Eliza because I lived a large chunk of my high school and early college years online, and I know how it feels to think if you can just get “x” everything will be better.
I feel like I’m rambling and missing half of the brilliant things I was going to write about this amazing book, so I will just end with my final thought.
If you love nerd culture, as I do, you will especially connect with this book, but even if you do not it is a novel that has so much more to offer that I highly recommend it to anyone.
Note: Minor trigger warning for suicidal thoughts, depression, and anxiety.