Have you ever read a book that made you swoon, a book you loved so much that you wanted the entire world to read it? That’s how I felt about Francesca Zappia’s Eliza and Her Monsters. It is quite simply one of the most lovely, uplifting, inventive and entertaining novels I have ever read.
Eliza Mirk is the teenage creator of a webcomic called Monstrous Sea. By day, she is an anonymous and awkward schoolgirl, navigating the mundane halls and classrooms of her school in utter invisibility. Nobody knows her secret, unless you count her parents who think that Monstrous Sea is a cute little side project. Little do they know for online Eliza is LadyConstellation, creator of one of the most successful webcomics and mother of an epic fandom.
When Eliza meets Wallace, a new student at her school, he notices some of her drawings and mistakes them for fan art. Thinking she must be a fan like him, he invites her to a Halloween cosplay and fan meetup. Eager to let Wallace wallow in his ignorance, or keen to maintain her secret identity, Eliza agrees to go along. The problem is that she soon realises that her fans are human beings too, people that she might actually want to hang out with if she can ensure that nobody ever finds out who LadyConstellation really is.
What can possibly go wrong?
Reading Eliza and Her Monsters is like riding an emotional rollercoaster, where the reader is uplifted by this incredibly inspirational story before hurtling downwards with Eliza’s very real anxieties and challenges. It’s going to get to a point where I’ll need a thesaurus to express my adulation (did I say ‘marvellous’ yet?) so let me just suggest that everyone, everywhere should read this.
I loved Eliza and Her Monsters and give it a superb five out of five stars. I think everybody should immediately add this to their to-read list but especially recommend it for lovers of superior young adult fiction and fans of webcomics, cosplay and graphic art.