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.
Scott Westerfeld’s Afterworlds meets Nimona in this novel about art, fandom, and finding the courage to be yourself. Features illustrations by the author throughout. Perfect for readers of Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, this is the second novel by the acclaimed author of Made You Up.
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.
Buy it – Amazon
I genuinely thought this story would be about someone with dissociative identity disorder and because of that, it wasn’t on my TBR. I’m a bit… of a hypochondriac. Because of that, I tend to avoid books that explore certain themes because they can be a bit triggering.
Anywho, so when I read the title of this book…I assumed that it would explore a mental disorder. Stupid on my part, I know, but I read the synopsis of the author’s other book and it deals with a similar subject.
Dis wasn’t that.
I didn’t hate or love this book. It was very… eh.
Before I start, I’d like to reveal that this review might contain spoilers.
Quick Summary :
Eliza is writing this huge book. Graphic novel? I have no idea how to phrase it. Imagine a super prolific wattpad author? It’s canon and not fan fiction at all. It’s like a huge, years long, graphic novel. She’s doing it anonymously. She has millions of followers, and she’s made a bunch of money just off of merch. It’s such a big THING that there are fan fiction authors making stories based off of her work. A few chapters into the book, she meets this guy. He’s one of the most popular fan fiction authors on her site.
I hope that made sense.
I’ve dealt with social anxiety my entire life. When I was in elementary it was hidden well, but when I entered middle school it reared it’s ugly head. My parents dragged me out of an elementary school that was a few cities away from where we lived, and dropped me into a neighborhood middle school. That’s when I realized…something was a little off and…it was a bit hard for me to make friends (plus more, not reducing it to that). As someone who grew up riddled with anxiety, I did find a home online. I could connect with Eliza. Because of that, for me, it did take a long time to learn to detach from the internet and live life outside of it. Which is hard, because uh, anxiety. It’s a whole lot more difficult to talk to people online rather than in person.
Reading this as an adult was wild. I was constantly TSKING at Eliza.
Get out of your room.
Stop talking shit to your brothers.
Talk to your parents, they’re trying.
Then I remembered, she’s a teenager. I was a few years older than her when my way of thinking evolved. As a teen? It seemed fine. Now? I’m in shame with the way I acted as a teen.
Basically this book snatched my wig and dragged me across the street. I was basically Eliza. The quaking fear she felt whenever she was around others, the comfort she felt, alone in her room and on the internet. That was me as a teen.
Just broke as hell.
I couldn’t drag her either, because that’s how teens are. Plus, by the end, she got help and that’s all that mattered.
Regarding social media, Francesca really did that. Both positive and negative aspects of social media were discussed.
- How it can be a godsend.
- How it can be a deep black hole.
I read this book right after I read Simon vs The Heterosexuals, and I feel like this book had a more realistic view of social media use. This author probably used it WAY more than the author of Simon vs.
I still had this question though :Why was she messaging her online friends online?
I have online friends.
After a few months, we exchanged numbers and switched to iMessage.
If Eliza is so invested in keeping her identity anonymous…why the hell is she messaging online? From a different account, but by the end of the story…when she was outed…her readers figured out very quickly who she was.
Here were my issues:
The whole, anonymous thing. Let’s talk about that.
As big as Eliza is written to be, I don’t believe she could have been anonymous in 2018. Someone would find out.
I follow plenty of people on twitter with thousands of followers who remain anonymous. And there are people on Tumblr who remain anonymous. But this girl had over a million followers.
Someone would have figured it out, or talked.
The relationship between her and the guy. I don’t have the book, and I don’t feel like googling his name. But the big white blonde guy. Him. I didn’t like him. I’m realizing that I hate most romance in YA novels. (NOT all) Sometimes the author just seems to throw it in there because it’s marketable. Coming from a history of reading romance novels, (lulz) I’ve read plenty of books that showcase healthy RELATIONSHIPS. I don’t know who approved her little boo forcing her to continue her web series because HE wanted to further his career.
Maybe it was just to show a realistic portrayal of men, cause I can think of a few that would say something that stupid.
I disliked her relationship with her parents & brothers. The girl was… just so caught up in herself. She didn’t even realize her brothers were fans. Is this common for teens? My younger cousin has three baby siblings. She’s 20 right now, and they’re ages 16,9, and 11 (?). She knows what’s going on in their lives. She’s in university, has a huge social life, and works. But she knows what’s going on with her siblings, it’s literally impossible NOT to because they live together. To be honest, I didn’t think Eliza cared about her family at all. I thought her parents were trying to get into her head, and form a relationship, but Eliza dgaf. Actually, you know what?
Diversity: 0 stars.
LGBTQIA : everyone is cishet.
Racial : everyone is white. and then her boyfriend’s step mother appears and she mentions that she’s black. So I assumed everyone in the story was white until then.
Mental Health: MC has social anxiety.
Situational (idk how to phrase this. I mean stories that center foster children, poverty, etc.): She seems pretty well off. As does everyone else in the story. Wallace is adopted, but we don’t learn this until the end.
Plot: 2 star. I definitely enjoyed the concept, and I thought it was well thought out.
Setting: Didn’t really stand out. Could have been set anywhere.
Characters: I liked the twins. 0 stars.
Writing: 1 star, basic.