Eliza and Her Monsters
Francesca Zappia ★★★
Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia is a contemporary novel about a young adult artist, Eliza, who struggles to balance her personal life and her online presence.
Let's jump straight into my magic of threes:
Unfortunately, I wasn't too impressed by the characters. Eliza, her family, and her friends are generic and predictable. Their character developments appear inconsistent, such as Eliza's ability to jump out of her social awkwardness and anxiety to rescue Wallace at their first encounter, despite the earlier weight placed on describing her social inaptness. Because of these inconsistencies, I found Eliza, as a protagonist, irritating and helpless. Fortunately, towards the end of the novel, her character arc becomes stronger and more likeable.
The storyline of the novel is entertaining, yet simplistic. Like the predictability of her characters, Zappia's plot follows a familiar structure of plot building, major conflict, and resolution that I have read through many times before. Nevertheless, the familiarity brings ease and makes this a fun and light read.
While the writing and storytelling is smooth and engaging, the novel features lots of telling, rather than showing. Instead of demonstrating character personalities or the developing dynamics between characters through dialogue or action, the novel simply tells the reader that certain characters are funny or shy. This irritated me as I didn't find some of the conversations funny or witty, even though the novel told me I should. The novel contains some illustrations and pieces of Eliza's art and Wallace's writing, but I often found these boring and skipped them.
If I'm completely honest, a younger version of myself probably would have really enjoyed this story. I think many readers may be able to relate to the concept of fandoms and hiding behind your usernames and social media accounts, but I felt slightly alienated from this world.
All in all, a fun story to jump into, but not phenomenal or life-changing. :)