book review · books · Shar

Review: Eliza and Her Monsters

Hi Virtually Readers! I read this a few weeks ago and LOVED IT. That’s basically all but I wrote a whole review. 


Title: Eliza and her Monsters

Author: Francesca Zappia

Genre: YA contemporary, with some fantasy/sci fi illustrations and stories thrown in for good measure

Themes: Friendship, Fandom, art, high school


My blurb: Eliza’s just a normal high school student. Eliza’s just the creator of one of the internet’s most popular webcomics, Monstrous Sea. Her two identities start to collide when she meets a real life fan at school. She’ll have to decide if the real world is worth it after all.

In case you’re not going to read this entire review, my basic summary is: THIS IS AN AMAZING BOOK READ IT NOW IT IS SO SO GOOD. But I am capable of writing more, so I will try.

While I have this blog, which I adore, I don’t have a huge online life. I don’t really have any internet best friends (although there are several bloggers I consider friends), I’m not in any group chats or anything (unlike a lot of bookstagram people I know who do become besties). You guys don’t know my last name, or where exactly I live, or my address (unless you’ve won a giveaway) (and you could probably find this out by digging a bit, probably) (but please don’t).

ANYWAY. Eliza is not like this. Her two closest friends are ones she’s only met online, and she basically refuses to interact with people at school, or even her family. Monstrous Sea is her life. At the same time, she doesn’t let people know everything about her (apart from said best friends), maintaining a sensible distance from her fans. This is about how she retreats out of the online world slightly when she meets a fan (and popular fanfiction writer) of Monstrous Sea at school. But she’s too afraid to tell him who she really is, so even as they make friends and maybe become a thing and Eliza starts to make friends with his friends, Eliza is still panicking and wondering how to tell Wallace.

I loved Eliza’s narration: the book had a really strong voice and the writing was amazing. I also enjoyed the chat pages with Emmy and Max or Wallace, the drawings (loose sketches, finished comic pages (I wish they had colour though), and concept art) and the story snippets. The author is clearly an amazing artist and I really liked how these two elements gave a sense of what Monstrous Sea was actually about and also linked to what was happening in Eliza’s story.

Eliza and Wallace had a really adorkable yet realistic relationship that made me wish I had a boyfriend (except, haha no). I really liked how Wallace’s backstory kind of explained who he is without defining him. I think Wallace had selective mutism? I don’t exactly know how selective mutism is diagnosed but it seemed like that anyway. And Eliza was an anxious introverted cynical bean.

One other thing! I really enjoyed how Eliza and Her Monsters developed Eliza’s relationship with her family. Along the course of the book, she goes from ‘omg you guys don’t get it’ to realising that maybe they can *get* it if she gives them a chance. Although Eliza’s parents do something terrible to her (I won’t name it because SPOILERS) they still tried, and that is definitely worth something. And her brothers reminded me so much of mine it was almost uncanny.

Overall, this book was a lot like Radio Silence in terms of characters and themes, but not like copying. I ADORED the way it discussed what it means to be in a fandom, what is the difference between online and real life, and how important it is to forgive.

Plot: 5/5

Writing and themes: 5/5

Setting: 4/5

Characters: 5/5

Total: 5/5

Have you read this? Do you want to now? What are books about fandom that you’ve loved?


15 thoughts on “Review: Eliza and Her Monsters

  1. I WANT TO READ THIS SO BAD!!! It sounds sooooo good — even though I only heard of it right before it released! Honestly I want to read SO many new releases… but will I? HAHAHA no. Anyways, a lot of the awesome book boyfriends make me want to have a boyfriend and yet NO. #NoSocialInteractionPlease Love your review, and hoping to read this soon! 🙂


    1. Haha NO to boyfriends (P.S you’re still not that old and social interaction is hard and you have time. Like, I only dated one person once but I was in 10th grade so.) I hope you read this because it’s so good and cute omg

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved Francesca Zappia’s debut Made You Up so I am so glad to hear this is just as good! 🙂 Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! ❤


  3. Eliza sounds like a kid I might have been in high school. 🙂 This sounds really interesting! I liked Made You Up, so I hope that this book also proves as good as you’re selling it. Thanks for the recommendation, Shar! 😀


    1. Hahaha I hope you like this (Heather’s wrath sounds like a scary thing 😛 ) I guess I related to Eliza some, but I haven’t had as much experience of online friends turning up irl. I hope you review it if you read it 🙂


  4. I have heard a bit about this book before and was already curious about it, but you mentioning Radio Silence here is ALL I needed to make me want to order it right now. Fantastic review! This book sounds so, so good – exactly the kind of book I could love. Great review! 🙂


    1. The cover design is SO COOL. There’s a lot more of the author’s drawings inside the book as well–both finished images and sketches, which made it so fun to read. (side note: I need a heart-eyes emoji)

      Liked by 1 person

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