Book Reviews

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia – Book Review


“There is a small monster in my brain that controls my doubt. The doubt itself is a stupid thing, without sense or feeling, blind and straining at the end of a long chain. The monster though, is smart. It’s always watching, and when I am completely sure of myself, it unchains the doubt and lets it run wild. Even when I know it’s coming, I can’t stop it.”

I loved so much about this book. Eliza and Her Monsters is a story about artists, fandom, friendship, first love, family, and that creative drive that can create amazing things out of an idea. I must mention trigger warnings for suicide, bullying (both in person and online), anxiety and depression.

This book follows Eliza, a teenage girl on her senior year of high school. She’s the creator of a webcomic called “Monstrous Sea,” which has millions of fans. Eliza posts the comic online anonymously to keep her personal life separate from it. But one day, she meets one of the most famous “Monstrous Sea” fanfiction writers at her school, and things start to change.

I really enjoyed the insight into this incredible fandom. It felt so real to what I’ve experienced. I could identify with the excitement of being part of an online community of people who all love the same thing, who know all the little facts about this one thing. And the overwhelming feeling of getting to interact with the community in person as well. I loved having the perspective of the creator of the fandom, especially because Eliza was also a fan herself. Not only of her story, but of another book series as well. Eliza was charming and endearing and I was rooting for her in every page.

I had some hesitations about Wallace, the guy she befriends at school. Yes, he was very sweet at times, and yes, his passion for writing and for the webcomic was great to read about, but he had a lot of bad qualities as well. Near the end, his behavior changed, and he became a bit selfish. I didn’t like that turn. It felt like he was showing his true colors, and he wasn’t the person I thought he was. But I did enjoy the way the book wrapped everything up.

Although I’m no longer a part of the Supernatural fandom, I still enjoy the fanfiction from time to time. I still remember my years in the fandom with nostalgia. I lived amazing things in that fandom, and I have great memories from it. This book was reminiscent of all of that, including the darker parts. It felt very true, and very honest. If you, like me, have ever been a part of a fandom, have ever let the thing you love become a huge part of you, then you will love this book. And if you haven’t, then this is a good look into that world. Eliza and Her Monsters is a thrilling ride that will stay with me.

4,5 stars


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