Fandom Done Right: Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

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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.

Source: GoodReads

I loved this book.

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I have read many books about fandoms this year, I think it’s almost a sub genre in YA contemporary.  Lots of them have been good.  Lots have been mediocre.  And some of downright pandered to their audience.  With Eliza and Her Monsters I think I found one of these books that’s actually scary identifiable.

Though, I do not have near the anxiety issues Eliza has, I see a lot my teen self in her and I have had panic attacks before.  I also can relate to her as an introvert.

Extroverts, like Eliza’s parents, always have a hard time realizing why introverts like being by themselves.  Why we have to have that alone time.  Why it’s so crucial that an introvert has a people free day and be a RAT (rude antisocial troglodyte).

Yeah, I know.

Introvert whining.  But when you are constantly told that parties are fine and find yourself only looking at your watch the entire time wanting to know when you can go home and binge watch something on Netflixs…

Okay, end of introvert pity party.

The point, I’m trying to make-digressions aside is this book is so relatable.  It also goes into the pitfalls of how one can get absorbed in fandom in an almost unhealthy way.  And honestly reading this sort of scared me because I could see shades of myself in Eliza and while I loved her, that isn’t exactly a good thing.

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Okay, it was actually a great thing it made me feel for the character and made her journey seem even more real, but it also scared me on some level that some of the darker moments of this characters journey…well, I could see it happening to me if I were in her shoes.

The romance in this book was delightful.  I liked both Wallace and Eliza.  They both had this awkwardly cute quality about them.  I did get annoyed with Wallace towards the end of the book when he pressured Eliza to finish her comic.  His reaction, however, as douchey as it might’ve seemed wasn’t really that unrealistic.  In fact, had he not acted the way he did I probably would be calling the book out for not being realistic.

One of my biggest issues with Fangirl was that the fan fiction that Cath wrote was a very obvious watered down Harry Potter fan fic (the fact that, that got its own spinoff is another story for another day) the fandom in Eliza and her Monsters actually is its own thing and it sounds pretty cool.

Really, I wouldn’t mind reading a spinoff of Eliza’s story. which seemed to be more than Harry/Draco fan shipping.

Just saying.

I think what drove me into liking this book was that it was relatable.  It had its moments of darkness, but it also had its moments of hope.  If you want a good book about fandom, I highly recommend you check this contemporary out.

Overall Rating: An A

 

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Trend I Hate the Famous Youtuber: Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

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When BFFs Charlie, Taylor and Jamie go to SupaCon, they know it’s going to be a blast. What they don’t expect is for it to change their lives forever.

Charlie likes to stand out. SupaCon is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star, Reese Ryan. When Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

While Charlie dodges questions about her personal life, Taylor starts asking questions about her own.

Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about the Queen Firestone SupaFan Contest, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.

Source: GoodReads

A YA recent trend that I cannot stand: the famous vlogger/Youtuber.

Because Youtubers are annoying (for the most part).

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Okay, that was a huge generalization and I feel bad about saying it for those of you who are not annoying Youtubers but I do get annoyed with a lot of Vine/Youtube  celebrities.  And I know the main reason we’re seeing them is the same reason we had a lot of characters be bloggers a few years back, it’s supposed to appeal to the reading (reviewing) audience and honestly it reeks of pandering.  And unless you’re part of the Youtube elite you’re not going to get that famous (just saying) though you’d never realize it by books like this one.

Seriously, it seems like every Youtube star gets a movie contract in this book.

No lie.

Plus, the whole book tube thing really annoys me.  Especially since a few known ones are sponsored and I just…if you’re going to review a product you shouldn’t be paid for it.

There I’m saying it (and if I go on even more about it, it’s going to get ugly fast).

So reading about all these pretty much talentless wannabe celebrities becoming famous overnight because they know how to apply eyeliner-um, I don’t think so.

Then why did you read the book, you might be asking?

Um, because it involved cons and even the summary showed that this book was going to have lots of diversity on several different levels.  And I have to get the book credit for that.  This book is very inclusive-people of all different races, nationalities, sexual orientations, and it even features characters with disabilities  and it’s refreshing since the book depicts what we see in real life.  However, there was something that felt oddly superficial about it.

It shouldn’t have.  I mean, it recited the right messages.  I liked how social anxiety and talk about the Autistic spectrum were brought up.  Those were good messages.  Some of the messages about feminism and intersectionality were good as well.  BUT and I hate to say this, it almost felt like the author was copying and pasting these messages so to speak.

Yes, she said the right words.  But the book almost felt like a PSA since I didn’t really feel these characters.  For example, Charlie is bi and her ex boyfriend is a close minded bigot and there’s one scene where they have a discussion where he states he doesn’t believe that bisexual people exist.  It’s told in Taylor’s POV and we see that Charlie is upset but where this could’ve dived more into Charlie’s emotions and her reactions it just stops there.

Note,  if I would’ve wrote this review a couple of years ago I probably would’ve remarked that the bigot boyfriend was depicted unrealistically because surely most bigots wouldn’t be that openly disgusting with their hatred but after last year I’m going to give this a pass and actually state that his reaction is realistic.  It’s a shame I have to say this because how he acted should’ve been considered cartoonish.  But horrible is now acceptable now by a stupid part of society and…I’m going to have to stop myself again before I start ranting about stupid frogs.

The other lead, Taylor, has social anxiety, is on the spectrum, and is heavyset.  I thought there were some moments that really went into the issues she faces really well then it was dropped really sudden.  Same with the romance this character had, it really was never developed much and disappeared whenever it needed to.

Hell, I didn’t really care if any of these characters even got into a relationship they all sort of well, blended in.  Which is a shame because the book had so much to offer…

To be fair though, it’s one of the better books I’ve read by Swoon Reads.  I have had such bad luck with this imprint, I’m almost at the point of washing my hands with it all together but this one interested me so I was like why not.

And to be fair, it wasn’t that bad.  I mean, like I said it was probably one of the most inclusive books I’ve read this year and it did have a couple of moments that I really felt were well written but then it sort of turned into mush.

So, do I recommend this one…yes and no.  If you like the Convention Geek trend that’s going on in YA and don’t get annoyed with Youtube celebrities you’ll probably like this one.  However, if you read that premises and see all those scenes of  potential and then get annoyed with all the mush in-between then…sorry?

Overall Rating: C+ a lot of potential here but in the end I didn’t care for this one.  Still, a C+ from this imprint is almost like an A so hey….improvements.