I’m so so SO excited to be doing a collab discussion today over the amazingly geeky story of Eliza And Her Monsters!
I have kidnapped Mish @ Chasing Faerytales (and I suggest you go follow her blog and twitter immediately because she is #FABULOUS) and we’re going to basically discuss, fangirl, and flail over this tome. We’ve set up the discussion in internet-chat-style in honour of all the glorious internet appreciation in Eliza And Her Monsters! Our “usernames” are also book references. Because we’re nerds.
It’s been like forever since I’ve done a collab so thank you x 100000 to Mish for coming over!
Her story is a phenomenon. Her life is a disaster.
In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try.
Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she 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.
_FaeriesandMonsters_: I adored Francesca Zappia’s debut Made You Up – which is hands down one of my fav books ever – so I was so excited for Eliza and her Monsters. I was very much pleased to see that Eliza had similar vibes, yet was it’s own story. I adored this book, and now I can’t wait to read more of Zappia’s books! Did you feel that the book was similar to Made You Up?
~constellation_fury~ : I totally felt the same! I loved the similarity in styles, but the storyline was completely different, which I loved too. Although I confess Made You Up probably holds my heart still the most. <3
_FaeriesandMonsters_: Haha, that’s understandable! Made You Up was just so amazing! But I loved Eliza too, I guess the two stories are two leagues of their own. Like you said, the subject matter was so different, yet there was this similar vibe and I could totally imagine the main characters of the two books conversing in real life. They’re all precious cinnamon rolls for sure!
~constellation_fury~ : Cinnamon is RIGHT. I think one of the biggest things I love about Zappia’s books is how relatable the characters are. Like Eliza is basically the best representation of all we fangirling, internet-loving, geeks! Every time her parents told her to get off the internet and go outside, she groaned. And I was just like: hEY IT’S ME.
_FaeriesandMonsters_: OMG YES! Eliza was basically 14 year old me, and the similarity was so uncanny, I was shook! I loved how the book showed a different side of online personalities. The want for anonymity, the ability to live as this whole new person on the internet, and the constant struggle to not get too engrossed in our online lives that we ignore the real world around us, especially as a teen, was portrayed so perfectly!
_FaeriesandMonsters_: And her family was just so authentic! Her parents struggling to understand, while being proud, still being worried, her brothers were just the best!!!! I loved their involvement in the book, and the regret Eliza felt regarding how detached she is to her family, especially her brothers, made me almost guilty myself for giving so much prominence to my online life at times without spending family time!
~constellation_fury~ : I sooo agree. I also liked how it talked about the great parts of being really involved with an online life — but it also talked about the darker sides. I never felt preached at though! I loved the balance. And Eliza’s family was A+ for sure! I wish more YA books had healthy and nice families like this!
_FaeriesandMonsters_: Haha, I know how much you adore families in YA! It was refreshing for sure! And I agree about the balance as well! Certain things, like how we form a community around the world, how passion for something brings people together – anyone part of a fandom or has a significant online presence would definitely relate!
_FaeriesandMonsters_: And the characters themselves were wonderful! I love how adorably awkward the MCs are, and Eliza and Wallace are just precious. And I also loved how their mental health rep was handled!
~constellation_fury~ : YES. So much awkward. And no instalove too, which is super refreshing. I looove seeing characters become friends first and then reading it developing into shippable squishy feelings. Also they were really quite similar, both struggling with anxiety and depression, but in different ways! I think it was great to show how mental health can be such a spectrum.
_FaeriesandMonsters_: So true! I can give a certificate for the book’s rep, as a teen who has severe anxiety and has gone through depression, it was so authentic and real and sometimes so perfectly captured, it made me sob. Eliza’s depression – which is basically the monsters in the book symbolic of, which I LOVED!!! – was so real and I loved how art was her relief but still it was not foolproof or a complete escape, which again was so realistic. And both hers and Wallace’ anxiety was well dealt, and like you said, shown in different lights. I related to Eliza’s anxiety more, and I had to actually put down the book at a scene where she has a panic attack because it was too much to handle.
~constellation_fury~ : So so much intensity. Which gave it good pacing too…because I was always a bit nervous to see how everything would go (especially when everything was going sO nicely with Eliza and Wallace’s friendship/romance). EXCUSE ME WHILE I STRESS FOR THE CINNAMON CHILDREN. I also loved how they communicated a lot in writing. Which I think is something a lot of internet-creatures like us can relate to? Sometimes it’s easier to write out difficult things than to say them.
_FaeriesandMonsters_: I agree! The romance was so adorable and so much like a growing attraction between two awkward kids. I just loved how everything was awkward, period! Also yes for the writing communication! I talk a LOT, but I still feel much more comfortable writing down things, especially when it involves feelings.
~constellation_fury~ : One of my favourite things has to be, I admit, how many illustrations and art was included! (This author is wildly talented!!) I think it totally made the book stand apart from others, even if it had a slightly predictable storyline.
_FaeriesandMonsters_: YES! I totally didn’t know about the art, and it was just a pleasant surprise! The illustrations of the webcomic were stunning, and I think a special mention goes to the web comic itself! There were frequent snippets of illustrations and transcriptions, and I so badly wanted to read Monstrous Sea as full fledged novel or comic! It was so good and intriguing!!!
_FaeriesandMonsters_: Actually I loved the unique format throughout the book! There were forum chats, forum profiles of the MCs and their updates, and I am always a huge fan of format differentiation in books, and I adored it!
~constellation_fury~ : The unique formatting won me over SO fast!! And also made me super long for the actual Monstrous Sea comic too. (Kind of like Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell turned into Carry On!) And the emails and message chats were some of my favourites because of the banter. It’s epic how complex and alive all the characters felt, even the ones we only “met” over a few lines of internet chats!
_FaeriesandMonsters_: I have to agree on the predictable aspect! But that’s one of the reasons why the story is so special I guess, plotwise it was pretty normal, but the characters, and the writing and themes made it a spectacular tale!
_FaeriesandMonsters_: Tbh, I am thinking. Overall maybe I’ll give the book a 4.5? But I can’t pinpoint anything I didn’t like. Nah, this book was just so good, I guess, and it gave me all the feels for me to pick apart anything! 🙂
_FaeriesandMonsters_: Thanks for having me over! All in all, Cait and I wholeheartedly recommend Eliza and her Monsters, especially if you are bookworms who adored Made You Up like us! Hopefully I can be back sometime with another amazing book discussion! <333
Okay so collab posts are AWESOME and I need to do more of them.
Do I hear a yes from you fiends of the darkness??! Let me know!
And all the thanks to the marvellous Mish for coming to visit meeeeee. See? So much proof that internet friends are BEST. (Also I get this nerdy sort of joy that we can have friends on opposite sides of the world and put together bookish posts and IT’S JUST SUPER COOL.)
have you read Eliza And Her Monsters?!? are you planning to? do you like books with illustrations? and do you have a secret, or just different, identity online? do you think internet-friends are as important as in-the-flesh-friends?? can you live with just one, or do you need both? LET’S CHAT!!
(And don’t forget to go follow Mish’s blog!!)