The Line Between: Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Eliza and Her MonstersEliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What I loved about this book was the way that it portrayed the creative process.

Zappia GETS IT when it comes to the desire to escape into an imaginary world, when it comes to that world feeling more real than the one you live in, when it comes to living two lives simultaneously, and when it comes to ignoring real life so that you can more fully submerge yourself in a fictional one.

She gets how unsettling it is when real life starts to feel more compelling than imagined life, and how scary it can be to navigate that transition, with all the inherent danger of real emotions and real consequences.

She gets how fragile an imagined world can be, and how devastating it can be when something happens to interfere with your relationship with it.

Those are the reasons I love this book, and the reasons that it spoke to me. But I also appreciated the nuanced portrayal of social anxiety and the way the characters didn’t fit into neat boxes — a jock can also write geeky fanfiction, you say? I know, I wouldn’t have believed it, either, but this book convinced me!

The writing is beautiful, the character portrayals nuanced, real, at times heartwrenching. I didn’t love everything, but I gave the book five stars because it’s one of those books that does what it does right SO right that I was willing to overlook where it fell short.

But my quibbles — I didn’t particularly love how reminiscent of deception-romantic comedy plotlines the central tension was, in terms of Eliza not being willing to reveal her identity to Wallace. And I sort of wish that books about fandom would once in a while just be about regular fans rather than THE MOST UBER OF ALL FANS AND THE MOST LAUDED OF ALL CREATORS. Here, Eliza is the famous (but anonymous) creator of a viral, beloved internet comic, similar to Cath being the pre-eminent Simon Snow fanfic author in “Fangirl.” And of course, Wallace had to be THE most famous fanfic writer in the Monstrous Sea world rather than just A fanfic writer within that fandom. There’s a bit of wish-fulfillment in YA’s propensity for always making the main character the most dramatic representation of the class being portrayed.

Also, I thought it was pretty tacky how the author used her own previous work as the iconic book series that the main character was obsessed with.

All that aside, I still loved this book, obs.

Popsugar Reading Challenge: A book I meant to read in 2017.

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