“Eliza and Her Monsters”

Okay, so: I bought this book on a whim last week because it was a $1.99 Kindle “Deal of the Day.”

Then I promptly ignored it because the latest Sarah J. Maas book (“Tower of Dawn”) just came out and I had hundreds of pages to get through. It was an emotional roller coaster–as her books often are–so when I finished it, I wanted something light-hearted to follow it up with, not the book “The Hate U Give” which a friend just lent me.

That’s what sent me into “Eliza and Her Monsters” yesterday… and I finished the entire thing before midnight.

It was ***SO GOOD*** and I had NO idea what a treat I was in for! My intention for this blog was never to stay limited to book reviews, but that’s what I have time for right now, and I want to spread the wealth and make sure as many people get to experience Francesca Zappia’s story as possible.

My non-spoiler-y summary: Eliza Mirk is an anxiety-ridden high school senior who also happens to be the (anonymous) creator of the incredibly popular webcomic, “Monstrous Seas.” She meets a boy who is a huge fan, and they hit it off, and suddenly her life-is-only-good-online beliefs are forced to broaden to include him. Of course, drama hits, and there’s reasons for tears and gasping, but it’s a satisfying ending.

What I loved: the slow burn of the love story elements read like another recent YA novel I stumbled into and adored, “When Dimple Met Rishi.” Eliza battles the inner monsters of depression, anxiety, and “impostor syndrome,” which I imagine many other introverts and artists can relate to. Her high school mindset is believable, while still including quirkiness (without hitting John Green-levels of “okay, we get it, you’re super freaking quirky).  Her webcomic, “Monstrous Seas,” is an AMAZING creative fantasy and as soon as I finished the book, I googled it to see if it’s a real webcomic or story, and it looks like the author is working on making that happen!!! This is also her second novel, so I’ll have to backtrack and read her first.

What was meh: there are some coincidences that made me roll my eyes a bit, but I loved the rest of the story enough to suspend my disbelief.

Obviously, if you’ve read Rainbow Rowell’s “Fangirl” you might be suspicious that this is a copy. While there are parallels, Eliza is totally her own woman and, as much as I loved Fangirl & Cather, I think Eliza is a slightly stronger story. (But both are worth reading!! And then you can read “Carry On”! What are you waiting for? There are books to be bought!)

It was really refreshing to have a novel I was so excited about that I could race through it in one day. It’s been a long time since I’ve had that opportunity. I hope everyone else who picks it up finds as much joy and authenticity in it as I did.

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