book review: eliza and her monsters, by francesca zappia

IMG_0435Her story is a phenomenon. Her life is a disaster.

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try.

Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she 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.

Eliza and Her Monsters was an incredibly hyped book. Absolutely everyone in my Goodreads feed has given this book either 4 or 5 stars. As a book that has been compared many times to Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell, which I love, I definitely had very high expectations. And I feel like I was ultimately let down.

Perhaps, having this book not be so hyped, I’d have let some things slide. But I was anticipating a perfect novel, one in which I’d fall in love with the characters almost instantly and relate to it a lot. This wasn’t what happened at all, but let’s discuss it here.


  1. Fandom positivity! I love when I can read books that talk about fandom in such a nice and positive matter. Growing up as a fangirl and having it be such a big part of my life, I’m always happy to see it being discussed in books. The entire world around Monstrous Sea was very interesting to read about; how people memorized specific quotes and cosplayed as their favorite characters. It was all fascinating and super relatable.
  2. The way it talked about being a content creator with anxiety. I feel like, especially at this age, where anyone can have a public online life and share it with others, it’s a very important topic to be discussed. I’m sure many people, being bloggers or YouTubers or Instagrammers feel the pressure to post more, keep their relevance and the relationship with their audience. I’m sure it can be very overwhelming. I’m glad people will be represented in this one and feel connected to this aspect of our MC.
  3. Eliza eventually grows, thank God. As you’ll see by the end of this review, I had a very hard time connecting with Eliza. But I do need to acknowledge her growth. She starts out the book being quite selfish, but ends up being confronted with a much harder narrative than hers, in a way that she grows to be more grateful. Her development on her anxiety was impressive too and I think it can be a very hopeful story for people who relate to her on this level.


  1. Eliza trying too hard to be edgy. I swear to God, there’s a line in this book that actually goes: “I have no friends. But that’s okay, I don’t want to be friends with these people anyway”. It was giving me Jughead vibes, with that whole scene: “I’m weird. I’m a weirdo. I don’t fit in. And I don’t want to fit in”. Ugh. Having no friends it’s not fun and definitely says more about who you are as a person rather than about your entire class. It would be understandable if Eliza acknowledged that she had a hard time making friends because of her anxiety or shyness, not because she felt like she was a special snowflake misunderstood by society. This trope should’ve died in 2010. Resultado de imagem para jughead i'm weird gif
  2. The family relationship. If you know anything about me, you know I die for great family dynamics in YA books. But this one was so messy. Eliza’s parents were truly just trying their best. Their daughter did not communicate with them and so they were just trying to understand her in the best of their abilities. It’s not easy, obviously, but it still bothered me so much how the book tried to paint them as villains for trying to take Eliza out of her room. She kept complaining about them when they were actually very nice parents. The fact that there was no proper apology at the end just bothered the heck out of me.
  3. Wallace and Eliza’s relationship by the end. I was feeling pretty neutral about Wallace and Eliza’s relationship, but by the end, they were just giving me very weird feelings. No spoilers at all, but it felt incredibly manipulative, from both sides. It was borderline abusive at some point, and I did not vibe with it at all.

  4. I didn’t care for Monstrous Sea at all. Because this book was compared to Fangirl so much, I was anticipating to fall in love with the fandom as much as I cared for Simon Snow, for example. But the thing is: I didn’t understand Monstrous Sea. The plot was very complex, there were so many characters and I was just lost completely. By the end, I was even skipping the chapters from Monstrous Sea, because I knew they weren’t adding to my understanding of it at all. It was quite disappointing, because I always love the idea of falling in love with two stories at once.


Despise my hard feelings, I can still understand why people like this book. As I mentioned above, it talked about anxiety very well. I truly felt Eliza’s struggles, especially towards writing the ending of her story and producing more content. I think for other artists dealing with anxiety, this book will be very important.

But, still, I was very much let down by this one. I didn’t expect to dislike it as much as I did, so I’m reluctant in sharing this review, but it didn’t feel right hiding my opinions just because they’re unpopular.


I know many of you love this book, so I hope there’s no bad feelings after reading this review, lol. Let’s discuss in the comments! 😊

9 comentários sobre “book review: eliza and her monsters, by francesca zappia

  1. I really loved hearing your thoughts for this book so thank you for writing this review. I like you have heard a lot of praise for this book.
    I definitely like seeing fandom positivity in books and I grew up loving shows and books so I definitely think I could relate to that bit of the book too.
    Oh yeah I don’t like it when characters say I have no friends because I’m weird and I remember that Jughead scene and *eyeroll* — I agree that trope should most definitely die!!
    I had actually heard about the romantic relationship in this book not being the best which did make me reluctant to wanting to read this. But I was interested in seeing the web comic and the drawings so it’s a shame you didn’t like that bit either.
    I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this book like you thought you would– hopefully the next book that you read will be much better.
    Great review!! By the way I love your photos!! ❤

    Curtido por 1 pessoa

    • Thank you soooo much, Sophie!
      That trope was used a lot back during Twilight days and I feel like I have used this idea multiple times before, almost as an “escape” for my awkwardness that stopped me from making friends. But I now realize that putting myself above other people, as if I’m special, in a way to feel better it’s very unhealthy. I completely agree we need to kill this trope already, lol.
      Once again, thank you so much for being so kind & supportive. It’s always a bit stressful not enjoying something that is so loved and I overthink things a lot, so your comment means a lot! 💛 And I’m super happy you liked the photos too!

      Curtido por 1 pessoa

      • You’re welcome !! :-)
        Yes that’s a good point– thinking like that can be quite dangerous to yourself as you can push people away with it. Hopefully we will see less and less of it in books!!
        I understand I can get nervous saying something different to what everyone loves but different opinions are a good thing and I like to see varied opinions so I’m glad you shared your thoughts. I can overthink things too!! I’m glad my comment could help! <3
        Yes the photos were lovely!!

        Curtido por 1 pessoa

  2. Hi Lais! it’s been a while! I haven’t been around the book blogging community in so long that I had no idea that this book was hyped up by a lot of people. This book honestly does sound interesting because it does resemble slightly with Fangirl, but I can see why it disappointed you. :(( I love family dynamics in books, but it’s too bad that the family relationships in this one are slightly messy. I still want to give this book a try one day HAHAHA maybe it’s a great read for me if ever!! Anyway great review and I love how you articulated every point <3

    Jillian @ Jillian’s Books

    Curtido por 1 pessoa

    • Jillian! It’s so glad to hear from you again! I am sooo happy to have you back!
      I had the impression this book was hyped just because a lot of people have already read it on my Goodreads feed and all have given it either 4 or 5 stars, which was definitely not the case for me, hahah. I hope that you enjoy this one more than I did! I think it can be actually a great read for people battling anxiety and creating content online, because it talked about this aspect very well. So, despise my not-so-great feelings, I still believe it can mean a lot for others.
      Thank you so much for stopping by! 😊


  3. […] Lais @ The Bookish Skies: I have no doubt that Lais is the literal sweetest human being I’ve ever met. She’s honestly the light of this community and I’m so grateful for all of her support. She always engages in my posts and leaves the most lovely comments, and it just warms my heart whenever I see that she’s stopped by on my blog. She also makes me feel so validated, because I’ve finally found someone else who leaves essay-length comments and I love her for it. Go follow her if you aren’t already, because she deserves all the love and support from you guys. […]


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