Eliza and Her Monsters

By Francesca Zappia

55,306 ratings - 4.18* vote

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 fanfict Her story is a phenomenon. Her life is a disaster.In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless.

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Book details

Hardcover, 385 pages
May 30th 2017 by Greenwillow Books
Original Title
Eliza and Her Monsters
ISBN
0062290134 (ISBN13: 9780062290137)
Edition Language
English

Community Reviews

Emily May

She drew so many monsters that she became a monster herself.

4 1/2 stars. The only reason it's not 5 is that it took a little while for me to get into it. But when I did, it completely blew me away. I liked this even more than Zappia's Made You Up.

I'm not going to lie to you - a huge part of my love for this book is because I related so much to Eliza. So freaking much. Well, except for the part where she's a talented webcomic artist and I'm not, but shhh.

Some of you know this, but others don't-- I have long suffered with anxiety, particularly social anxiety. I get worked up about sending emails, angsting over it when replies don't come straight away (oh god, did I say something wrong?). I literally used to drink alcohol before the mandatory presentations in college (not showing up only worked for so long), and I still feel panic rising inside me whenever I have to make a phone call to someone I don't know well. Over the years, I've come to handle it better; to talk myself down from the panic. But it's still there.

It's been part of who I am my whole life. From my very first school years when I almost always played alone, to later bullying because I was that "weird" and socially clueless class member who didn't get how to behave. And the way I coped? To put it simply - The Internet. The Internet provided a place for me to explore the world, find others like me, whilst also providing a barrier. I was invisible, free, and not alone in the way I was often alone in the real world.

I spent hours every night on my computer, until my parents got frustrated that I spent so much time alone and not in the "real world". What they didn't get - and what Eliza's parents don't get in this book - is that I wasn't alone. I was making friends from all over the world. And they were better friends than any I'd had in "real life" at that point. And, as Eliza says:
It’s stupid because that’s what I like about the internet—that it gives you time to think about what you want to say before you say it.

It's always so wonderful to find a book that "gets" you. A book that puts into words feelings you've always had but have struggled to voice. Eliza and Her Monsters did just that.

From my perspective, it's a very realistic portrayal of anxiety, and of someone who escapes into Internet forums. Eliza's most valued friendships are online and, of course, her well-meaning parents fail to understand or consider them "real".

It's a much darker book than I was first expecting. While there is lots of geeky fandom, fanfiction, fanart, cosplay... the story of Eliza's anxiety, relationships with those around her, and even suicidal thoughts, gives the novel a more serious and emotional edge. I appreciate books like this, though. If you're looking for a geeky fandom book that is lighter and fluffier, I recommend Queens of Geek.
There is a small monster in my brain that controls my doubt.
The doubt itself is a stupid thing, without sense or feeling, blind and straining at the end of a long chain. The monster, though, is smart. It’s always watching, and when I am completely sure of myself, it unchains the doubt and lets it run wild. Even when I know it’s coming, I can’t stop it.

There's another layer to this book, too, which I found really interesting. As well as being about Eliza's anxiety, it's also about an issue that is becoming ever more relevant today, and it's an issue that I don't recall reading anything about before-- the relationship between an artist and their fans. Or, really, anyone with a fan following.

As Eliza becomes more popular online, the thing she did for herself, for her own escapism, becomes about other people and what they expect from her. People start to expect a certain type of work and feel like her popularity means she owes the world (and them) something. This opens a fascinating discussion on what artists/writers/etc. owe their fans or followers. Whether, in fact, they owe them anything.
Creating art is a lonely task, which is why we introverts revel in it, but when we have fans looming over us, it becomes loneliness of a different sort. We become caged animals watched by zoo-goers, expected to perform lest the crowd grow bored or angry. It’s not always bad. Sometimes we do well, and the cage feels more like a pedestal.

It was honestly such an interesting and thoughtful book. On many levels. It manages to be very emotionally moving, entertaining, beautifully-illustrated AND do something new at the same time. Eliza and Her Monsters deserves all of the hype.

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Jesse (JesseTheReader)

I took waaaaay too long to finish this book, but I honestly don't have any regrets about that. I actually think it lined up perfectly with something I'm facing in my own life right now, that's similar to what Eliza faced with being a creator online. I feel so connected and understood by this story and I'm glad I finally worked myself up to finishing it.

Hailey (Hailey in Bookland)

I finished a book for the first time in more than a month!!! Yay!!!! This was such a good read! It was so much more than I was expecting and just gripped me right from the beginning. Loved it!

Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

UPDATE: $2.99 Kindle US today 9/12/19

I got some wonderful stuff in the mail yesterday (7/3/17) and I love them! I love getting stuff from the pub etc.




I loved this book so very much!

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*****There will be some spoilers because I can't help myself*****

I love the book has drawings and stories all through-out the book. They are so awesome!

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I love Eliza. She's quiet, wants to be left alone in her online world where she writes her webcomic: Monstrous Sea. She has two wonderful friends online that have helped her with her business. There is Max who runs security on the trolls (we need him for GR) and Emmy who set up the merch for the comic and sales for the comic, etc. Eliza makes enough money to live off of and put her way through college. She famous and she's anonymous.

I do have friends. Maybe they live hundreds of miles away from me, and maybe I can only talk to them through a screen, but they're still my friends. They don't just hold Monstrous Sea together. They hold me together.

Max and Emmy are the reason any of this exists.


Eliza doesn't talk to people at school. Some people are actually afraid of her and she's happy with this because all she want's is to draw out her next parts for the comic during school. Then when she gets home she puts the drawings and stuff on her photoshop to get it complete and uploads them.

God, I wish I could draw and do something so freaking cool like that. Anyhoo . . .

Eliza isn't really close to her parents. They are always trying to get her to do sports and random stuff she has no interest in. They think her comic is a hobby, she never told them how famous or how much money she makes. They think she makes a little bit of money and just let her do it. I do wish that Eliza would have been up front with them and I do wish that her parents would have taken the time to actually go online and read her comic and see how famous she actually was, but none of this happened. And later on, it bites them all in the butt.

Eliza has two brothers: Church and Sully. She doesn't do much with them because they are into sports etc. She has no idea that they follow her comic and so do their friends. And when Church takes up for Eliza when her parent do something extremely stupid, I was so proud. I mean so proud. He put them in their place once and for all because sometimes parents aren't always right, even if they mean well.

I must also mention that I'm in love with Davy, their Great Pyrenees =)

Moving on.

Eliza meets the new kid at school, Wallace. He starts writing notes to her because he doesn't really like to talk. It's really super cute and he's freaking hot. Just sayin'. It turns out that he writes fanfiction for Eliza's comic!

They become close and start going out which is way beyond anything Eliza has ever done in her life! I think they are wonderful together but she never tells him that she is LadyConstellation and the creator of Monstrous Sea. I wanted to scream! He finds out when every one else does when her parents do something stupid. Poor Emmy and Max have to try to fight and keep everyone off Eliza's back and even Church cusses people to leave her alone. Eliza has a breakdown after her cover is blown and doesn't even want to finish her comic. She has to see a counselor and take anxiety meds, it's all just one big mess. If her parents would have just butted out and if Eliza would have just told them how big she is. . . so many things.

Wallace gets mad at her obviously. I mean she should have told him but it is what it is. He gets even more mad at her when she decides she's not going to finish the comic because he has an offer to get his fan fiction published. It could make his dreams come true as well. I find it strange that people can make money off other people's work but I guess that's life.

Some drastic things make everything come to a close and the world to be complete again. Eliza is even closer to her family and things are awesome with Wallace. It was a happy ending for all involved.

I really wish this book would continue or maybe a little novella of what happens with everyone later on.

This book was so awesome to me and it meant a lot on so many levels. It's a really great thing when a book can make you feel so good. Fin

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List

emma

in a friendly reminder that i've sh*t on all your faves, i posted this review!! find it here (preferably before unfollowing me out of righteous fury): https://emmareadstoomuch.wordpress.co...

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Hindsight is 20/20.

I now understand, having read this book, what I did not grasp previously: that maybe I shouldn’t have expected to like this.

For one thing, I full on hate Francesca Zappia’s other book with everything that I am, which in retrospect is seeming like a more important factor than it did at the time.

I also really, really hate my-big-secret-was-revealed-and-now-everyone-in-high-school-knows-and-my-life-is-ruined-in-a-very-quintessentially-high-school-way plotlines. They are so stressful.

But I like contemporaries! And I like the Internet! And I like illustrations! And I like mental illness rep! And I like books people like! (That first and last one are blatantly false, but still.)

I had hope, is what I’m saying.

This book crushed every last BIT of that.

As I just ranted about (except not actually because it’ll probably take me a million years to post this, even after it took me a million years to write it, even after it took me a million years to read the book) in my review of Everything All at Once, I am sick to death of the sh*tty family trope.

But I didn’t realize just how sick of it I could be, just how hard that trope could scrape against the bottom of the entertainment barrel, just how low we could get, until I read this book.

THIS BOOK HAS PERHAPS THE WORST FAMILY DYNAMIC OF ANY BOOK I’VE EVER READ. Because not only is it grueling and dramatic and boring and done, it’s also completely nonsensical.

Eliza has two little brothers, who are so flat and annoying they actually go well past the bounds of the very definitions of the words “flat” and “annoying.” She does not get along well with said brothers, and is, in fact, quite mean to them despite being many years older and, one would suppose (incorrectly), more mature. So that’s awesome.

But we don’t get to the very limits of terrible until we talk about Eliza’s parents. That statement, along with every single statement made in this book, may lead you to assume that Eliza’s parents are the problem. However, every single cell in my entire body vehemently disagrees with that assumption.

Eliza’s parents are just two people trying their best!!!!!! Their daughter never talks to them and spends her whole life in her room, on the Internet, and they don’t know what to do about it which is not exactly shocking considering Eliza never talks to them!!!!! They’re just trying to parent!!!!!

I think this book may have been designed to appeal to the children of technology. Here is a girl who has it all, in terms of what the online world can offer: she has anxiety, but she’s unbelievably famous, has swarms of online friends, creates amazing art, gets a boyfriend. What goes along with that is the inevitable disapproving parental figure is actually - gasp! - wrong.

Maybe that’s another reason I was destined not to like this book: I firmly believe you can’t be on the internet all the time. Not even if your friends are on there, not even if your job is on there, not even if, like, a goddamn opportunity to hook up with Zac Efron is on there. Which I guess it is, technically speaking. REGARDLESS OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES, the real world matters too, is what I’m saying.

I firmly believe that Eliza should have apologized to her parents. She doesn’t talk to them unless she’s spewing vitriol, she ignores her family, she stays in her room all the time, she refuses to even offer an explanation as to why all of this would be okay. Once she does - sorry, once her brothers do for her - good ol’ mom and dad are more than understanding.

I gave this book the benefit of the doubt for SO LONG because I thought character development would change the way she treats her family but nOOO, HER PARENTS WERE ACTUALLY IN THE WRONG ALL ALONG, AND IN TURN SO WAS I, MOTHER AND FATHER AND I ARE JUST THREE MORE FOOLS INHABITING THIS WORLD OF FURY AND NONSENSE.

Not even the fun Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland kind.

In the abundant free time Eliza doesn’t spend creating an inexplicably famous and successful web comic or ruining the lives of her family members, she’s living it up sexual tension-wise with a kid named Wallace.

I support this relationship, but only because Eliza and Wallace both suck so equally that they were probably made for each other. They treat each other like sh*t, and Wallace is so boring. Like seriously. Guys. This is your MCM?

Eliza stupidly hides the fact that she writes that massively successful web comic from Wallace, even though Wallace is a huge fan of it and talks to her about it all the time and revealed his secret online identity to her. But whatever, of course that is what would happen in a book this trope-y.

HOWEVER. Here’s the thing. Eliza and Wallace write notes to each other all the time (like straight up instead of talking). Eliza also handwrites the speech bubbles for her comic, which Wallace is obsessed with. Like photographic-memory-level-of-knowledge obsessed. Can Wallace not recognize handwriting? There’s a moment when Eliza recognizes Wallace’s after seeing it ONE TIME.

This book is dumb and I hate it.

Good mental illness rep, though. If only everything else didn’t suck so hard.

Bottom line: This book is designed to speak to its audience, and that high-as-hell average rating tells me it worked. BUT NOT FOR ME. SORRY, FOLKS.

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PRE-REVIEW

Guys…

I mean...come on.

Like...what the ever-living hell…?

God.

Review to come

Emma Giordano

4.5 STARS! I REALLY REALLY REALLY LOVED THIS READ(also gonna leave this review blank for now bc I MUST FILM A VIDEO REVIEW)

Maria

3.8/5 Stars ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

“You found me in a constellation.”

― Francesca Zappia, Eliza and Her Monsters


This book was an adequate distraction from my real life right now. Which is exams, pressure, exams, kill me, exams, fuck-my-life, death. I enjoyed reading 50 pages of this every day before I went to sleep after a stressful and straining day.

We start off with Eliza, an unsociable, shy and introverted high school girl who is experiencing anxiety and depression and is closed off to the virtual world of the Internet. She is, also, the Anonymous creator of the most popular web comic Monstrous Sea which is read by millions and millions of people all over the world. Then she meets Wallace, the most popular fan fiction writer of her comic, who is transferred to her school and then everything changes.

This book didn't give me feels. This book didn't make me cling to my seat to read what happens next. These characters didn't pull me as much as I would have hoped. This feeling probably comes to me when I read a book in two or three sittings and probably this book didn't give me this intense feeling of desperation to finish it because I was reading it during a tough time. But it was probably just the book. This was a book with a great anxiety representation, amazing artwork throughout done by the author, and a very interesting storyline. But that's about it.

The only characters I liked were Eliza and Wallace. All the others just... didn't exist to me. They felt more flat than fucking flat-Earthers think the Earth is. Her parents, her brothers, Wallace's friends, his family... didn't do it for me. Eliza didn't pay much attention to people, especially in the beginning, and that's why I think her POV story didn't make me relate to these characters on no level at all.

The romance was very cute and fluffy, I really enjoyed how awkwardly they started off and how they were writing everything in little notes but after it became canon it got lost to me. It's one of those ships that you're dying to happen but when it does, you're totally uninterested by it. But they shared a deep relationship and I'm so glad they found each other. We all closed off people who love books, tv shows, movie e.t.c. too much need people like this in our lives.

I hate the everything-is-turning-out-amazing-and-nothing-is-wrong-and-everything-was-shit-as-fuck-throughout-the book-and-then-after-a-while-everything-solves-itself trope. And it happened here, in some way. I don't want my characters to struggle, but I'm a realist. And I enjoy realistic endings and situations in books. And I don't enjoy when literally everything is upside down and glum and sad and depressing and then it all just... poof! Gone! And I'm not talking about financial problems which can be solved with a good new job or anything but emotional ones. This book didn't leave this taste entirely to me but it did in certain aspects. And I didn't enjoy that.

This novel was very much like Fangirl, plot-wise but also not much . They were written in the same format, both the protagonists were young white straight girls who were popular on the Internet, both of them had anxiety, each chapter we got a snippet from their work e.t.c. This might be an unpopular opinion, I don't know... I enjoyed Fangirl more. It had its flaws and they were many but the characters gripped me more. Characters do it for me in books, if I don't desperately till I fucking die love the characters, or if I don't furiously want to kill any of them till they bleed right in front of me, the book feels neutral to me. The plot might be legendary but if the characters are bad or if I don't relate to them, my dick won't move. I need to receive these strong feelings from books. I'm an all or nothing kind of person, nothing to do about it.

And now off to what I enjoyed... I adored the world of Monstrous Sea , I love it when writers explore more worlds within one book of theirs, I adored the fandom aspect, the artwork throughout, the little text messages Eliza had with her online friends. It was a very interesting and quick paced YA contemporary and it kept me a nice company. I would truly recommend it to people who love YA contemporary books. And till the next one... K BYE!

amy ☂︎

fangirl: who are youeliza and her monsters: i’m you but stronger

Samantha

I just binge read this in a day. No regrets. 4.5 stars.

As someone who isn't the biggest fan of contemporary, THIS is the kind of contemporary for me. It's a celebration of fandom and online life. It's like Fangirl on steroids. It deals with mental health, and negativity online beautifully. AND, one of the fandoms the protagonist was a part of is actually a real serial novel the author puts up on Wattpad and Tumblr. So cool. This is a love letter to fandom and I ADORED it.

She-who-must-not-be-named

Like life, what gives a story its meaning is the fact that it ends. Our stories have lives of their own—and it’s up to us to make them mean something.

I am reeling with a tempest of emotions of what transpired in this book. This story was everything I wanted it to be and I couldn't wish for more. It took me longer than usual to finish this book because I held onto every page, every paragraph, every word, and every syllable refusing to let go. My love for this book hit a crescendo, and there is not one thing I want to change about this book.

Eliza Mirk is a teenager with anxiety issues, a loner who thinks she is barely a footnote in anyone's life. But online she's Lady Constellation, creator of a famous webcomic called Monstrous Sea and a God who creates currents in her own world. No one knows that Lady Constellation is Eliza.

LadyConstellation is the hero who defeats Eliza Mirk once a week and celebrates with her many admiring fans. She is beloved by all, even the villain because without her the villain wouldn’t exist.
I am LadyConstellation.
I am also Eliza Mirk.
This is the paradox that can never be solved.


In high school, she meets Wallace who also has a knack for her webcomic, only he doesn't know her identity too. He is the only person who understands her and a bond develops between them. But when her identity is revealed, she finds her resolve to weaken, and everything she built for herself starts slipping away.

I loved the book (I probably already mentioned it, and I will continue doing so), not because I relate to Eliza or anything. I don't. If anything, we're totally different. But that didn't stop me from rooting for her.
I loved the book because it was magically realistic. The depiction of Eliza's hatred for school, problems with her family, social anxiety, Wallace's ability to empathize with comic characters more than real people felt completely raw and real.

I like that Eliza and Wallace complement each other really well. They are aware of each others' flaws and accept them wholeheartedly as they open up and let each other in. They see eye-to-eye on a lot of things and are fluent in the language of Monstrous Sea . Thanks to Wallace, Eliza gradually comes out of her shell and makes new friends, and meets new people.

I also love how her online friends stick out for her which makes them more real than any real person she's ever known. Whatever I write about this book will only seem less to me and unworthy of even half of what this book has to offer.

The blurb was so vague, I thought the story would be confined to cute romance with a lot of awkward moments and misunderstandings, but it extends much more beyond all that, signifying a lot about friendship and love and also shedding light on social issues like anxiety, depression, and suicide.
All in all, this book is mired with wonderful yet heart-rending moments intricately orchestrated into a tale that will forever be embedded into the deepest recesses of my heart.
Thank you, Francesca Zappia

"I am Eliza Mirk, daughter and sister and friend.
I am Eliza Mirk, mother of a fandom.
I am Eliza Mirk"

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