REVIEW: Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

REVIEW Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia -- The Riverside Library

How’d I come to read it?

Throwback to February of this year, I was feeling restless. I wanted to read something, something that would be the rollercoaster of emotions that I was already on the very edge of feeling. I asked my Instagram followers for recommendations, but seeing as though it was the middle of the day where I was, most of them were asleep so the replies were slow. I was left to fend for myself. I opened up my library’s eBook app and started scrolling through when I happened upon Eliza and Her Monsters. I’d heard this mentioned by a few booktubers before so I understood the basic premise of the story. I figured it’d be like Fangirl, and seeing as Fangirl is one of my favourite contemporaries, I loaned Eliza out and began.

What is it about?

Eliza is world famous web illustrator, but no one knows who she is in real life. On the internet, she may seem put together, like one of the coolest people on the planet, but her day to day life is a completely different story.

What was my reading experience & thoughts?

Although relatively large, coming in at around 400 pages long, I read Eliza in one sitting. I was, you could say, hooked. It was everything I wanted on that balmy February afternoon. I got the laughter, the tears and the enjoyment that I’d desired, and I was happy. Of course, a great deal of my enjoyment was from how I related to Eliza. It’s not common to find many negative reviews of this book around, but I’ve seen a few, and in them the common theme of annoyance is aimed at Eliza’s personality. But, as someone who struggles with a lot of issues that Eliza does (minus the internet fame, of course) I didn’t pick up on the flat notes of Eliza’s personality that they discuss, instead, I found them relatable. The flat note of the novel for me was the love interest, Wallace. I struggled to feel connected to him. Unlike with Fangirl’s Levi, who I connected to despite not usually liking his personality type, there was nothing in Wallace that hooked me even a little bit, which was disappointing.

Having said that, Wallace’s character was only a raindrop in the ocean for me, and the flatness of that one aspect couldn’t change my entire feelings for the book. I devoured this one, and I absolutely loved it. Overall, the shining star for me was the mental health representation. I’m comparing Eliza to Fangirl a lot because they do share similar aspects, but the anxiety that Eliza experiences are definitely a lot less subtle than Cath’s. This could easily be polarising to some readers, but if you’re eager to read a YA contemporary narrated by a character with anxiety and depression, I would definitely recommend Eliza and Her Monsters.

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How Many Stars?

Overall, I gave Eliza and her Monsters 4.75 out of 5 stars.

Have you read Eliza and her Monsters? What did you think? Let me know you’re favourite books with mental health representation?

Penny for your thoughts? (I'm kidding, I don't have pennies but I'd love your thoughts)

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