Her story is a phenomenon. Her life is a disaster.
In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try.
Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile.
But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.
My Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)
I’m getting emotional just thinking about this book…
I think this should be one of those books a whole year level reads at school in English class. You are a queen Francesca.
Okay, let’s get on with this review.
So, as a weird mix of introvert and extrovert, I didn’t really relate to Eliza, but as I read more and was immersed in her world, it was really easy to empathise and understand what she’s going through. The whole hype of her comic online was such an interesting concept. The concept of being online for so long, as a teenager in this day and age is also VERY relatable.
Many many many people including myself would understand the pressure from parents who don’t really understand the online community, how we should get off our phones more etc. I think that was one of the best aspects of this book, explaining the importance of the online community and how that was what made Eliza happy; THEY were her friends.
Finding rainmaker was kind of the catalyst that I feel was the most problematic thing for Eliza, choosing between a real-life friend like Wallace who was essentially the same as her friends, except that they’re online.
As the BIG problem and her comic writing success is revealed, you have NO IDEA how ANGRY I was at her parents. I was so so so angry at them, I could feel what Eliza was feeling, but it was me the conversation with her parents would’ve been way more heated with loud screams, swearing and shouts but it wasn’t me *sigh*. Eliza’s personality took her in a totally other direction.
Francesca’s take on mental illness and mental health through how Eliza was dealing with the various problems in her life was very well done. Mental health has become such a trigger for hate and trolling, insensitivity etc but she treated it so realistically in this book. Although it didn’t specify specific mental illnesses and symptoms, I actually liked that it didn’t categorise mental health issues for some reason. It made it….easier to believe, that Eliza could overcome it with help without going through a whole lot of psychology jibber jabber.
Wallace. Ahh, Wallace. The fact that Wallace wasn’t a perfect character and a perfect boyfriend was actually the best. Because if he was, this book wouldn’t have been as realistic to me. Showing how Wallace had his own struggles and also used a creative medium to help was also really really nice, despite his…action (no spoilers), towards the end, he was definitely a good match for Eliza.
This book is definitely in my favourites, one of my absolute favourite contemporaries (which I don’t have many), the cute and gorgeous little sketches throughout were an extra bonus! Especially the little tidbits about Eliza’s comic, which I’m not sure whether it was Wallace’s writing, it think it might’ve been. Anyway. This is definitely 5/5. I LOVED IT. READ IT OK.
Love, Truffles <3
KB @ This Side of Storyland
I just read this book and loved it!!! I’m so glad you liked it too. I agree, Wallace’s flaws were a refreshing draught after all those unbearably perfect boyfriends we usually get to read about.
Yay! I’m so happy you loved it too!! Many people either love it or hate it but this is one of my favourite books 😊
100% agree! I loved E&HM so much 🙂 Yes, Wallace’s flaws are refreshing – but! – I must say that I have a not-so-secret affection for perfect boyfriends because UHM, WHO WOULD SAY NO TO THAT.
But you know what’s even better?
MORALLY GREY CHARACTERS AND VILLAINS CUZ GOD, I WOULD CHOOSE THOSE OVER A PERFECT BF ANY DAY, YKYKYK???