Eliza and Her Monsters

Eliza and Her Monsters

by Francesca Zappia


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“A love letter to fandom, friendship, and the stories that shape us, Eliza and Her Monsters is absolutely magical.”—Marieke Nijkamp, New York Times–bestselling author of This Is Where It Ends

Eighteen-year-old Eliza Mirk is the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea, but when a new boy at school tempts her to live a life offline, everything she’s worked for begins to crumble.

Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl meets Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona in this acclaimed novel about art, fandom, and finding the courage to be yourself. “A must-have.”—School Library Journal

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, Eliza is LadyConstellation, anonymous creator of a popular webcomic called Monstrous Sea. With millions of followers and fans throughout the world, Eliza’s persona is popular. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves her digital community.

Then Wallace Warland transfers to her school and Eliza 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.

With pages from Eliza’s webcomic, as well as screenshots from Eliza’s online forums, this uniquely formatted book will appeal to fans of Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona and Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl. The paperback edition includes bonus material and never-before-seen art from the author.

Young Adult Library Services Association Best Book

Best Fiction for Young Adults Top Ten

Kirkus Best Book

Texas Tayshas Pick

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062290137
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/30/2017
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 81,186
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 1.36(d)
Lexile: HL750L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Francesca Zappia lives in central Indiana. When she is not writing, she’s drawing her characters, reading, or playing video games. She is also the author of Made You Up and Eliza Mirk’s favorite, The Children of Hypnos, a biweekly serial novel posted on Tumblr and Wattpad.


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Eliza and Her Monsters 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
ChristinaReadsYA More than 1 year ago
This past Tuesday, Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia was released into the world, and you all need to get a copy. Now. Here are my 5 reasons for why you need NEED to read it. 1) Fantastic Characters-- It's a well known fact that Chessie makes amazing, multi-layered characters, the type to delight fans of all ages (cc: Made You Up). Her characters feel flesh and blood. They make you want to cry and scream, and you get frustrated on their behalf. Chessie's attention to detail makes her characters come alive, with their own little habits and phrases. And with such fantastic characters, you're guaranteed to be engaged in the story, even if you don't always agree with what the characters do. 2) Breaking Gender Norms-- The romantic interest in this book is a hulk, former football player and now fanfiction writer and a selective mute, with a soft voice. The main character is a girl with greasy hair and social anxiety, and she's this super popular creator of a webcomic. Society tends to portray female creators as being Nice, Polite Women - women need to comprise, to smile more often, etc. Here, we have another story to rival that. And many of the side characters also break gender norms. I don't know about you, but I'm very pleased to have a story where the characters aren't in these flat cardboard boxes of what we expect (e.g., alpha male). This also makes the characters feel more real to me. 3) The Unique Formatting-- You can look at several of the Goodreads reviews that mention the photos - here, for instance. Or just at look at the EpicReads post of the first two chapters. You can see the inclusion of the Monstrous Sea webcomic pages, and the prose transcription beneath. You can see private messages between the characters - the moderators of the webcomic and Eliza, the romantic interest and Eliza. You can see forum interactions and forum profiles. Most of the YA books out right now don't have this amount of layering within their stories. Horror YA sometimes includes pictures, and other fandom related books might have some stories, some fanfiction--not to this extent, not to this level of metaness. 4) Unlike Anything Else You've Read-- This book has been compared to Fangirl, Afterworlds, Nimona, because every book needs to be compared to something, so you have an idea of its marketing. But this book is unlike anything else that you've read. You only get Cath's fanfiction in Fangirl, some of the story from the main character in Afterworlds. Nimona started off as a comic. None of these is quite the same as Eliza and Her Monsters. Here, you get the MC's creation and see how she interacts with her fans, and you see how fanfic writers interact with the creator and the fandom. You also get to hear about a series of books that she loves, too. Chessie has posted the Children of Hypnos story online. The MC has a drive to create after the fandom that she loves no longer exists. You have access to that story too. There's this amazing level of metaness in this story that ties so well into the themes of creation, fandoms, etc. I repeat: unlike anything else you've read. 5) So Easy to Relate to-- If you're reading this book, there is a good likelihood that you will relate to SOMETHING in this book. Whether it's the main character's social anxiety, the need to create, the desire to interact with the fandom-- there is something for everyone. READ THIS BOOK NOW!! -Christina Reads YA
JollyRogerBooks More than 1 year ago
ALL THE STARS! This book was absolutely delightful. I was lucky enough to receive Eliza and her Monsters in my May Owlcrate which not only was an exclusive cover but we got to receive it before publication date on May 30th. What more can i say but BUY AND READ THIS BOOK AS SOON AS YOU CAN!!! While I find myself tending to lean toward fantasy YA novels over contemporary, I do love a good contemporary and this one is as good as it can get. Eliza is such a lovable character that is just so... human. She has her fears and her anxieties and slowly you see her realize she needs help even while still not truly changing who she is on the inside or out. Wallace is an absolute delight of a boy to have as a book boyfriend...though he can't top Clark from Matson's Unexpected Everything. But Wallace is definitely a close second, you just want to wrap him up in a blanket and give him a big hug. Such a sweetheart. And while he has moments that are less than stellar, he's human and it shows just as much as it does with Eliza. The story is absolutely amazing and I just about inhaled it. IT was one of those books I just didn't want to put down. Just as people in EAHM inhaled her Monstrous Sea, I inhaled this story. Eliza and Her Monsters is definitely going to be one of my top reads of 2017 and I plan to explore more contemporaries that have nerds as main characters. Geeks and Nerds are the best. I also thought this story handled Eliza's anxiety and introvertedness rather well. I don't know much but I didn't feel like it was fake or wrong. Seriously guys, pick this book up when it gets released. I wouldn't have if it hadn't been for Owlcrate and I'm incredibly grateful because I ADORED this story.
ruthsic More than 1 year ago
As the blurb suggests, if you loved Fangirl, you will certainly love this book. Eliza and her Monsters takes us into the mind of Eliza, a fangirl and a creator. She writes the webcomic Monstrous Sea under her psuedoname LadyConstellations, thus maintaining a separate identity from the creator of the webcomic. In real life, Eliza is the quiet loner in school, the one who has social anxiety and tries to stay under the radar. Her main life in online, her friends are online and her community and space is online. If you are part of a fandom, you can relate to how liberating it is to lead a life online, in the midst of others who share your own passion. The main reason to like the book is Eliza herself. Aloof, geeky, and vibrant, Eliza is a girl you can relate to. For her, her webcomic is her baby, and she is protective about her secret. She keeps her real identity from her fans so that she can live her life in relative peace, without the burdens and expectations that would come from being out. When she meets Wallace, who is a fan of her comic (but doesn't know who she is) and is a popular fan-fiction writer for the series, she is blown away by how much he understands her work. The two essentially bond over a shared passion, and fangirls and fanboys will recognize that connection. Being a creator and putting her work out for the world to see along with her heart bared is something that she isn't prepared for when she gets outed. Here, I would like to mention that I am not a writer - I don't know how it would feel to have the expectations of a million people hanging on to your next written word. But Zappia makes me understand the loneliness that Eliza feels, the burden of pleasing the fans, the fear of not being enough, the guilt over her block. As readers, we voraciously demand content and yes, that is passion, but also sometimes it can be something constricting to the creator, and even if I realized it subconsciously before, the author actually put it in words. It is a beautifully written book about what is means to have an identity, the change in definition of interactions in this digital age, the myriad options opened up to creators, and most importantly, choosing to do what you love. That final message is the one that is the most significant for the target audience.
Anonymous 7 months ago
EllenRozek More than 1 year ago
I have so many feelings about this book and way, way too many thoughts. I was captivated from page one, remained captivated all the way through, and sat hugging the book to my chest once I'd finished because my heart was too full for words. ELIZA AND HER MONSTERS is a brilliant rumination on the ways in which creativity saves lives and expands lives while still failing to be a substitute for actually living, and I cannot recommend it enough.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As someone who suffers from anxiety and has had panic attacks, i fully appreciate the honesty of ths book. I loved all the characters especially Eliza. One of my favorite reads this year!
TheThoughtSpot More than 1 year ago
Eliza and her Monsters by Francesca Zappia introduces us to Eliza, a high school student that feels invisible and prefers it that way. Other students treat her like she’s weird and sometimes frightening. The only friends she has are Max and Emmy and she met them online when they noticed her art and story, Monstrous Sea. The two of them helped Eliza build her comic into a popular blog. This is the part of Eliza’s life that she enjoys. Eliza has a grass-is-always-greener-on-the-other-side attitude. For example, She believes that college won’t have problems, such as the difficulty of finding a place to park. Little does she know that’s usually one of the main complaints about college: jam packed parking lots. Wallace, a new student, and Eliza discover that they both like Monstrous Sea. This starts a friendship between the two of them. Wallace shares his past with Eliza and she feels that she needs to let him know she’s the creator of Monstrous Sea. Then her parents tell her story about her hard work on Monstrous Sea, not realizing how letting the secret out will affect Eliza. Her life seems to come crashing down around her! Eliza must work through everything so she can live her life without anxiety and she has a tough time with it. Realistic fiction with imperfect, lovable and relatable characters-4 stars!
TheKnightsWhoSayBook More than 1 year ago
This book is adorable. It's also really intense. The first half is adorable fandom-based fluff about connecting over the thing you love on- and off-line, and then the second half smashes you in the face with a mallet of Feelings. So there's Eliza, who is really relatable. She gets too intense about the thing she creates, she retreats into herself and the internet a little (a lot) too much, and she's a geek who loves books and trash TV and bringing her story to life. At first I rolled my eyes a bit at how cliché she seemed — Super Average girl is hated/bullied at school for Vague Reasons that aren't really explained, spends plenty of time explaining how Average Looking she is even though her love interest calls her Really Pretty lots of times, which she doesn't quite believe. That kind of things can make the writing seem stilted and unoriginal. But after a while, I was too into the book to care. Even if the way she was bullied felt a little contrived, the way she felt about not being able to make friends was Too Real. And then there's Wallace, who is the cutest love interest, and has his own Issues. I love him too, he's so sweet and also has a sense of humor and overall yes, I do ship it, thank you very much. I really like how Eliza's relationship with her family was part of the plot. Parts of it felt very realistic, and others just really well done even if you can't personally relate, and it gave me a lot of Feelings. Like, so much good character development and relationship development. And the emotional intensity, like wow. I was so upset and so into it. Loved it, cried lots. I can't say with authority that the themes of mental health were done well but the book addresses different ways of dealing with anxiety and stuff like that and overall Eliza's journey was really painful but satisfying. The whole arc of the book was just really good. Definitely recommended.
Seoling More than 1 year ago
Man, oh man. I knew that ELIZA AND HER MONSTERS was going to be a good read. I expected it to be lighthearted and cute like GEEKERELLA and FANGIRL. I thought it was just gonna warm my heart and just lift me up like some fluffy read and oh my god, I was so wrong. I was so so wrong, it’s ridiculous. ELIZA AND HER MONSTERS is a wonderful depiction of fandom culture, the power of online and offline relationships, and so many issues that are so freakin’ relevant to the pop culture that is current today. As someone who has not suffered clinical depression, I cannot guarantee how much this story speaks to those who have trouble with depression and anxiety, but speaking of my own bouts of sadness and anxiety with other issues, I do think this is very raw and very realistic. I can only hope that this provided some attention to the issues that plague people. ELIZA AND HER MONSTERS depicts the double-life of Eliza Mirk, an otherwise ordinary teenager who seems to go unnoticed in high school, but badgered by her parents to find some semblance of a teenage life. By day, she’s Eliza and by night, she’s LadyConstellations, an incredibly famous web-comic artist with millions of followers who wait for her to post new chapters of MONSTROUS SEA every week. Along the way, she meets Wallace, a huge fan of LadyConstellations who writes fanfiction for it. Caught between wanting to remain the way she’s always been and branching out to experience more than just her online life, Eliza finds herself at a fork in the road. That all seems to fall apart when her identity is found out and she has to deal with the constant buzzing of fans and anti-fans. Grappling with issues of depression and social anxiety, Eliza is at a loss of how to regain her sense of safety in both on and offline life. I think that ELIZA is an on-point representation of what fandom culture is like. I think it’s impossible for someone not to associate themselves with at least one fandom and I have had too many to count over the years. I love the camaraderie that fans find with each other when they find the right people to obsess about a particular fandom. It’s one thing to find a group that you like talking to, but it’s a completely different to find one or two people that just get you unconditionally and irrevocably. I’ve had the fortune of experiencing this and I can safely say that I met my best friend, Kristen (the other owner of this blog!) through fandom and I could not imagine my life without her. Our friendship began online and it’s developed into a real-life one where we see each other often and talk everyday. I love reading about Eliza’s friendship with Emmy and Max – two characters who would not be as connected with Eliza if it were not for MONSTROUS SEA. In what world could a high school loner, a fourteen-year-old college student and a twenty-two year old homebody meet and become close friends if it weren’t because of fandom? Their interactions are so funny and so clever and it just made me really happy to know that people definitely have similar experiences. However, I do like that Zappia portrayed how friendships can be good both in real life and online.
AReadingRedSox More than 1 year ago
What a great story! I loved it, and all the hype is true. My favorite part was seeing how much Eliza transformed on her journey throughout the story. See more reviews at my blog! http://areadingredsox.blogspot.com
PageStopper More than 1 year ago
Wow. Honestly, just, wow. With all the hype I’d seen coming into Eliza and Her Monsters, I somehow managed to stay away from all spoilers going into this novel and was more than pleasantly surprised. I fell in love with Eliza and Her Monsters. So basically Eliza is this ultra famous comic book creator, except, no one knows. She has a few close friends who help take care of her website and take over for her every once in a while, but other than that she protects herself behind a screen name. To get an idea of just how famous Eliza’s comics are, they’re the online equivalent to Harry Potter. Eliza has made enough money through sponsors and fandom gear (yes, this novel works with fandom!) to pay her way through any college of her choice. Eliza has a social anxiety that prior to this, I was yet to discover accurately portrayed in a YA novel. She does online school and basically lives a large portion of her life online in a way that is displayed somewhat positively at long last. It isn’t until she meets a boy named Wallace who is the biggest fanboy and best fan fiction writer for her comics that Eliza has any “real life” friends, but he doesn’t know who she is which later creates a few issues. Whenever I hear about a plot written by an adult about a very “teenage” topic, I’m a little wary, but with Eliza and Her Monsters, it was unwarranted. Miss Zappia skillfully executes conversations between different characters over text messages in a way that I could easily believe teenagers would send. In fact, the most unbelievable thing about the internet topics is how wonderfully Miss Zappia wrote it. During the novel, Eliza holds live streams while she and her fans watch movies at the same time and post comments on a thread in manners that differentiate between users and give realistic voices to characters. Normally I’m impressed when the interior design of a novel includes text bubbles, but Eliza and Her Monsters takes the cake for best interior design. In nearly every chapter a drawing can be found from the comics themselves. Even more impressive is how accurately the graphics representing conversations on her blog are printed. At times I had to remind myself I was reading a novel, not a web conversation. The characters in this novel were unlike any other. Eliza herself is a quiet girl who dropped out of public or “regular” school in order to pursue her academic career online. She is uncomfortable with many social situations but is still capable of holding her ground. In essence, she is a complete introvert which I wish was accurately displayed in other novels. It’s easiest for Eliza to express herself through online or virtual communication rather than face to face, which is true for many of this younger generation. What I like most about this portrayal is that this isn’t shown as a terrible thing. Rather, it’s showed as another option for a high school student. I could go on for ages about Eliza and Her Monsters but if I continue with this review there is a good chance that it will fall into spoiler territory. So here’s what you need to know: Great characters: check Page turning plot: check Funny and realistic dialogue: check Accurate representation of modern day topics: check A book I’d read again: CHECK Also, don’t be intimidated by the apparent length of Eliza and Her Monsters instead, embrace the amazing adventure you’re about to embark on!
Griffingirl More than 1 year ago
What a fun read! I love anything fandom-related.