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Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia: A Review
by TeenHelp August 5th 2017, 08:38 PM

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia: A Review
By Jenna (~Abibliophobe~ )

Eliza and Her Monsters came out on May 30th, 2017 and it has been getting quite a bit of hype around booktube. Booktube are videos posted on YouTube that focus on books such as book reviews and book recommendations. The novel has been floating around for a while as some people on booktube were able to get advanced copies of it. The premise of the novel sounded really interesting but I always hesitate to read a book that seems overly hyped because I end up feeling disappointed. I ended up deciding to read it after a booktuber I trust mentioned how much they loved the novel. I did go into the novel with relatively low expectations but I fell in love with it quite early on into reading it and was able to finish it in about two sittings.

The novel centers around Eliza who is bullied at school, extremely quiet and doesnít have a lot of friends outside of people online. Eliza also happens to be the creator of an insanely popular webcomic, which is a series of comics published online, but absolutely no one knows her identity. During her senior year of high school Wallace transfers to her school. Wallace happens to be really into Elizaís webcomic. He even writes fanfiction for the comic. Fanfiction enables people to make up their own story focusing on characters that have already been established in books, comics or movies. Eliza and Wallace end up hitting it off over their love for Elizaís webcomic. There are some mentions of suicide and grief in this novel that some people might find triggering but I thought they were handled in a sensitive way so those things were not overly triggering to me. It is possible that other readers would find these things triggering though so it is important to be cautious when picking up the novel.

I think the reason I loved this book was because I related to Eliza quite bit and it is very rare for me to connect with a character like I did with Eliza. In a number of ways Eliza was similar to how I was in high school. She didnít focus a lot on making friends, she was bullied for being different and she was quiet which caused people to think she was weird. I think the way Wallace and Eliza end up becoming friends was portrayed really well too. They ended up hitting it off over shared interests but their friendship moved slowly. I thought this was a refreshing change from other novels where two outcasts end up getting together too quickly.

The novel does focus on a romantic relationship between Wallace and Eliza but it wasnít exaggerated. I actually felt like it was done in a realistic way in the fact that Eliza was confused about her feelings for Wallace given how isolated she was.

The novel also touched on Eliza struggling to connect with her parents and younger brothers because she was so different to them. Her whole family was into physical fitness and playing sports and Eliza cared more about art and her online friendships. The family dynamics also hit close to home because I have always felt like I donít belong in my family and I have felt that my family doesnít really understand me. Eliza dealt with this throughout the book and the way it wrapped up was done in a realistic manner. It was obvious that Elizaís parents wanted to be involved in her life but were unsure how because she was so different to them. I think this is something a number of parents can relate to.

The book also touches on Eliza struggles with depression although I donít think that the author outright said she was depressed. There were a number of times when Eliza didnít take a shower and just laid in bed. This usually occurred after something life altering happened. The life altering event seemed to throw her off balance and she was unsure how to respond to the change and ended up getting depressed and needed to take a break from the world for a bit.

I think that this book would be great for people that are really into fanfiction or fandoms, which is a group of people that are a fan of a particular person, book, comic, movie or show. This is one of the first novels I have read that explains quite well why people end up getting so invested in fandoms.

Both the Kindle version of the novel and the physical copy had some art pieces from Elizaís webcomic as well as a few snippets of Wallaceís fanfiction that he was writing.

This is the first novel I have read by this author and I am excited to read more. I think she might have just become one of my new auto-buy authors which means that she is an author whose novels I will buy as soon as I can even if I am not 100% sure what the novel is about. I canít wait to start reading her debut novel Made You Up.

This is a contemporary novel that is definitely worth reading and I think there will be a number of people who will relate to the characters. Also, the chapters are relatively short which makes the book seem to go by faster.
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