I Can’t Stop Smiling: Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

I Can’t Stop Smiling: Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca ZappiaEliza and Her Monsters
by Francesca Zappia
Release Date: May 30th 2017
Published by Greenwillow Books
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Pages: 400
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four-stars

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.
In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, smart, and friendless. Online, Eliza is LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of a popular webcomic called Monstrous Sea.

With millions of followers and fans throughout the world, Eliza’s persona is popular. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves her digital community. Then Wallace Warland transfers to her school, and Eliza 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.

With pages from Eliza’s webcomic, as well as screenshots from Eliza’s online forums, this uniquely formatted book will appeal to fans of Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona and Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl.

in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


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Hello! This book was adorable, and I need you all to read it. Francesca Zappia’s Eliza and Her Monsters is a book that pretty much anyone who is in a fandom and has online friends will relate to. It’s oozing with so much of charm, and had me smiling like a goof. It’s the epitome of what I adore in contemporary YA novels!

I’ve been loving all the geeky and nerdy heroines that YA contemporary has been offering lately. It helps me instantly relate to them because I see so much of myself in them. I felt an instant connection to Eliza in Eliza and Her Monsters. She’s very introverted, keeps to herself, and her closest friends are online pals – that’s so me! Unlike Eliza however, I’m not a super famous webcomic writer of Monstrous Sea! Speaking of Monstrous Sea, I was so fascinated by the tale that Eliza had crafted, that I honestly was a bit disappointed that it wasn’t a really comic out there. There are plenty of illustrations and snippets in the book to appease me, but man, what an intriguing and epic story.

Back to Eliza! Even though she is a shy girl, there’s a ton of passion bubbling within that quiet exterior. She also battles with anxiety, and panics a lot, which is why she keeps her online identity a secret. Francesca Zappia did a beautiful job with crafting her character, in my opinion. She felt real and tangible, and very much lovable. This really was the story of Eliza’s growth, as she befriends Wallace, the adorable new boy at school, who also happens to write Monstrous Sea fan fiction. Despite Eliza keeping the reality of who she is from him, the two of them forge a unique friendship, which grows by leaps and bounds as they get to know each other. I died of all the swoons, you guys. There was something quiet, yet so shippable about the two of them. The romance was lovely, and it made my heart very very happy.

Family plays another great role in Eliza and Her monsters. I loved Eliza’s family, flaws and all. Her parents especially don’t quite realize just how famous she is, and they are constantly trying to get her to go out and make friends. The constant worrying, the desire for their daughter’s happiness, thrilled me. I loved that they were so involved and they wanted so much for her. It was refreshing to see YA parents that care for their children. Her brothers were pretty cool too. They don’t have the strongest relationship with Eliza in the beginning, but when something major happens to her in the story, they are right there by her side. They were the sweetest. Max and Emmy, her online friends, who constant pillars to her, were also fabulous. I loved their chats, and the openness that existed between them. It reminded me so much of my own online friendships.

Eliza and Her Monsters is a favorite for me this year. I loved every moment of the story – yes, even the misunderstanding between Wallace and Eliza. It’s a special and beautifully written book that will make lots of romantic nerds happy, so if you’re one of those, go forth and read this one.

Are you loving this trend of geeky heroines in YA? Are you part of any fandoms?
Let me know in the comments below!

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Nick
  • Eliza does sound adorable! Great review , thanks for sharing, I am happy that you enjoyed this so much.

    • She’s great!

  • This isn’t usually my thing but it sounds adorable. And I LOVE the push for introverted female characters recently, more MCs I can relate to! Especially the importance of online friendships, because that’s all of us! 😛 She sounds a bit like Cath (from Fangirl) to me.

    • YES! She totally reminded me of Cath. 🙂

  • So glad you loved this. It looks totally adorable! I haven’t been super into YA these days, but I want to give this a try. I love nerdy heroines, myself. 🙂

    • Thank you! I had so much fun reading it.

  • I love a good geeky heroine. I still need to read my ARC of her book from last summer. I will look this up.

    • You should read that too, Heidi. It’s so good.

  • I looove Made You Up so I’m looking forward to reading this one! It looks like a ton of fun and you know I can never say no to a geeky character!

    • Yay! Can’t wait for you to read it.

  • Totally agree with you! I really enjoyed this book, I loved the comic too, and YES- I felt like Max and Emmy were just like my own online friends! The misunderstanding thing did irk me a bit, but overall, it was really, really good! Great review 😀

    • I’m so happy you liked it too, Shannon! Right? Max and Emmy were great!

  • Oh wow, this one sounds so good! This sounds like one that I would absolutely love. I will be adding it to my TBR list asap! Great review!

    • I hope you like it if you read it, Julie! 🙂

  • kindlemom1

    I love that you still smile while thinking about this Nick! Wonderful review, this sounds like so much fun.

    • I love books like that! It’s such a great book.

  • Aww, this sounds wonderful Nick. I Love when a book makes me smile like that.

    • I love it too, Kim

  • Loved this one! 😀 I loved Eliza and her webcomic. I wasn’t a big fan to how Wallace took the ‘reveal’ but oh well;

    • You’re not the only one who wasn’t a big fan. I knew it was coming so I was ok with it. Glad you enjoyed despite it though.

  • This book sounded wonderful before your review and I knew I wanted to read it but you’ve reminded me why I was excited about it. It’s this real unique book which sounds like it ticks a whole bunch of YA boxes I love and it sounds like it’s gonna be hella relatable. I mean, I am a romantic nerd this book is basically made for me.

    • YES! I totally see you devouring this one. And you ARE a romantic nerd! 😉

  • I really really want to read this book! It definitely sounds like something I will LOVE. Your review has convinced me to get a copy!

    • I think you would like this too, Lori! I hope you can snag one.

  • This sounds absolutely adorable! I’m not shy or introverted but I do have a ton of online friends and I’m pretty into certain fandoms, so I’m sure I’ll relate to Eliza. Her relationship with Wallace sounds so freaking cute – and if this was well-written enough that you didn’t even mind the inevitable misunderstanding between them, then I’m fully on board. *scampers off to place a hold at the library*

  • Yay! I loved this as well! Though to be fair I wasn’t a huge fan of Wallace, and I may have skipped the middle 100 pages of the book. BUT IT WAS STILL GOOD. And super relatable. I mean yes, other than the fact that neither of us are the creator of a super popular webcomic. haha.