Eliza and Her Monsters / Francesca Zappia

Eighteen-year-old Eliza Mirk is the anonymous creator of Monstrous Sea, a wildly popular webcomic, but when a new boy at school tempts her to live a life offline, everything she’s worked for begins to crumble.

Voice of Youth Advocates Reviews
Eliza Mirk is a high school senior who avoids talking and feels like a misfit even in her family. Using the name LadyConstellation, however, she has created a wildly popular (and lucrative) web comic entitled Monstrous Sea. Her art and online interactions dominate her life, but when Wallace transfers to Eliza’s school, his love of Monstrous Sea brings the two together in online conversations. In a touching email to Eliza, Wallace bares his soul about his personal life and his father’s suicide, but Eliza is unable to open up or share that she is the creator of Monstrous Sea. When her parents unwittingly reveal her secret, Wallace is devastated by Eliza’s duplicity and the relationship falters. Full of anxiety, Eliza suffers artist’s block and contemplates suicide. Eventually, she agrees to counselling, and the story ends with both teens finding their “voices,” and Eliza picking up her pencil again. Comic art scattered throughout this poignant story adds an appealing graphic novel touch. Readers will appreciate the pithy online posts and texts that replace some of the prose, often adding humor and depth to the characters. Clearly bursting with creative potential, Eliza and Wallace are both in an emotional “lock-down” and need professional help. Eliza’s tortured thoughts scream for it and exemplify Zappia’s remarkable insight into her character’s emotional turmoil. The ending is convenient but the story is strong and may inspire those who have similar monsters to confront them.—Barbara Johnston. 4Q 4P S Copyright 2017 Voya Reviews.
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