Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Reviewed by Melissa Beck (Library Staff)

The internet doesn’t have a clue who created the insanely popular web comic Monstrous Sea, but they devour the new pages each week regardless. The online forums have forged a massive fan community connecting people across the globe, especially social outcasts like Eliza Mirk and Wallace Warland.

Eliza is a teenager perilously navigating the battlefield of high school, weighed down by crippling social anxiety. Her days are complete torture until she meets near-mute Wallace, the new kid and Monstrous Sea fan fiction writer. The two bond over the fandom but what Wallace doesn’t know is that Eliza is the infamous LadyConstellation, creator of Monstrous Sea.

Despite its 400-page heft, this book was a quick read for me and I can’t complain about the writing or the characters, but in the end it just felt like a poor man’s Fangirl to me. Francesca Zappia managed to convey Eliza’s heavy anxiety but without Rainbow Rowell’s colorful side characters and humor to keep it balanced.

Overall, if you like Fangirl, I would recommend Eliza and Her Monsters. They both explore awkward yet passionate creators trying to define themselves in person and in pixels with a dash of romance thrown in. However, if you’re only going to read one of them, make it Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl.

Located in Teen Fiction (TEEN FIC ZAPPIA)

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