Eliza and Her Monsters focuses on Eliza Mirk, a shy loner who would rather escape the real world into her art. She also happens to be famous online as LadyConstellation, the creator of the web-comic, Monsterous Sea. With all the love she gets from Monsterous Sea, she can’t fathom loving the real world as much as the online one.
Enter the new transfer student Wallace, who just happens to be a huge fan of Monsterous Sea and writes fanfiction for the fandom. He thinks Eliza is just another fan and begins to draw her out of her shell. While keeping her identity as the creator of Monsterous Sea a secret, Eliza begins to wonder if going offline and really living her life may be worthwhile.
If you are a fan of the nerd life, introverts, or fandoms… this is the book for you!
I loved this book to pieces! I honestly got so invested in the characters and I could find myself relating to them on more than one level, especially Eliza. I did get annoyed with the way she treated her parents and brothers for most of the story…. but at times I could see why. For the most part, as I said, I could relate to Eliza. There was a time in my life when I just preferred to stay at home and write fanfiction (like Wallace does in the story) and communicate with my online friends on fan-forums. The only difference was that I wasn’t a complete hermit in high school and my best friend was actually a part of the fandom I was into for a while.
This book also deals with mental health, but it’s not the focus of the story. Right away you can see that Eliza has an anxiety disorder and has to use techniques to remind herself that she’s there and she’s okay… nothing bad is happening to her. It even reaches a tipping point where you just feel for her, whether you’ve dealt with anxiety and depression or not. The portrayal of Eliza’s anxiety is accurate to what I know and understand about it, through my own anxiety disorder as well as what I’ve learned about it over the years. What makes it work with Eliza is that it’s shown seamlessly throughout her character – it’s not just something that jumps out at you and makes you wonder where it came from.
The same goes for Wallace who has his own social anxiety issues due to events in his past. It’s something that may seem out of the blue when you read it, but it really there are subtle clues beforehand, and makes you understand his character better. It also makes you love him more than you thought was possible.
As far as Eliza and Wallace’s relationship goes, it was just so nerdy and cute. Honestly, it reminded me of my relationship with my high school boyfriend. A lot of similarities there that I noticed my second time reading this book and hit me in the gut with all the nostalgia. Though, as with any young-adult novel, they have their issues at a point in the book that makes you wonder if they’ll last.
I don’t want to give anything away, and I will if I continue to talk about the book, so I guess you’re just going to have to read it. Just know that I highly recommend it to fans of YA, especially if you have experience when it comes to being a part of an online fandom.
Rating: 5/5 stars