Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
“I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be the person whose color comes through even when standing still. To be someone so vibrant, others can’t help but notice you.”
Eliza lives two lives. In person, she is a quiet introvert that spends all her free time with her head in her sketchbook, on her phone, or on her computer. Online she is the creator of a popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. It isn’t until Wallace, a Monstrous Sea fan, that she realizes that there could be more to her existence than just her comic.
I expected to like this book a lot, but not that much. I don’t think I can even write a review that can accommodate all the feelings that I have over this book, or even say something fresh that hasn’t already been aid. For my reader’s sake, in case they haven’t stumbled upon the awesomeness that is Eliza I can at least point out what impacted me most. Off the bat I expected a book about a geeky girl and her web comic. What I got was book that it all felt relatable even though I myself have may have never been in those situations.
RL versus IRL-One of the things I found so incredibly important was how it handled the whole life on the computer issue. It wasn’t until my generation particularly that found itself in a whole new world to live in. We were the first ones to grow up with a life that could be spent entirely in a virtual world. I’m not saying there weren’t ways for people to mentally check out before this, I mean it in a way that we were able to connect and spend time with people in a non-physical realm. With that being said, I think Zappia did a stellar job of incorporating both ends of the spectrum – parents who do not understand how being on a computer is a way of being social and a young kid’s perspective where there is life to be lived in the tiny little screen. While Eliza did eventually see the importance of a life outside of the screen, I think it is important that it was never disregarded that despite she never met them, Max & Emmy were still her best friends.
The fact that her parents didn’t actually try to understand her really hurt my heart. While they were concerned for her wellbeing it was incredibly upsetting to see them push her over and over into what they wanted her to be, rather than understanding her interests. While Eliza did make her own choices that may or may not hurt her, I felt that her parents played such a huge role in how she reacted to some scenarios, especially when they didn’t seem to listen when she did speak up.
I just love that Zappia not only wrote out the story of Eliza but also gave life to a story within it. The concept of Monstrous Sea is awesome, and I really hope Zappia makes a book out of it. Anyway, I am completely enraptured by Zappia and can’t wait to get another book of hers.
Eliza-Zappia portrayed Eliza in such a way that really helped a reader get into her skin. I don’t personally like being in large crowds, but I have never really had any issues being social online or offline. Eliza had these tangible anxieties that made me want to curl her under her arm and say, “it’s okay, your big sister is here, and I will help you through this time.” Her passion for her creations was a great example that despite her antisocial tendencies there was vitality within her.
Wallace-Cannot get past how sweet and patient Wallace was. I feel like he could have easily been the type of character that really pushed Eliza to be outside of her shell. Rather he was the perfect compliment to her personality inviting her outside her norms while still staying within her relative comfort limits.
The Fandom-I feel like they had a real presence within this story, even if they’re essentially nameless. The fans of Monstrous Sea held a realistic aspect of how fans can be overbearing even with their affections and not when they are just trolling. I think their existence played a vital role in presenting a hurdle for Eliza as she interacts and does not interact with them. With that being said, even though she feels that being anonymous and strictly online is safe, she still felt the relative negative effects that can come from interacting with them.
Buddy read with the lovely and patient Katherine.