You found me in a constellation.”
― Francesca Zappia, Eliza and Her Monsters
Eliza and Her Monsters is a young adult novel by Francesca Zappia . It’s a story about Eliza, a teenage girl who creates a popular webcomic about sea monsters. She’s wildly popular with a massive fandom, ruling the online spaces through her anonymous persona. She eventually befriends Wallace, the new guy in school, and for the first time, she begins enjoying life offline.
Unfortunately, her secret is discovered, and to Eliza, it feels like having the world find out who she really is–an insecure teenage artist grappling with her mental health. The revelation not only threatens her art, but her relationship with Wallace,
You’ll find golden nuggets in this story like
✨Super relatable introverted characters
✨Slow burn romance
✨Wholesome online friendships
✨The musings of an artist
✨And maybe most importantly, a thoughtful representation of someone struggling with depression.
Mental health is a theme that could be quite tricky to portray in a story, but Francesca does a stellar job at illustrating its heartbreaking nuances , and she follows it up with the characters finding therapy, acceptance, and support. It’s a great read that deserves a healthy discussion afterwards.
One of the things I like the most about this book is the fact that Eliza is an artist. I could relate to the love-hate relationship she has with her craft, the excitement over sharing her art with an audience, and the terror of being judged because of it. Beyond that, I liked the message of being more valuable than one’s art.
That part hits home.