A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that web comic author Francesca Zappia's novel Eliza and Her Monsters tells the story of a high school geek who's secretly the creator of a hugely popular fantasy web comic series. It deals with some heavy subjects, including a parent's suicide and its aftermath, depression, and the price of fame. It's also a lively read, with appealing, complicated characters who learn a lot of life lessons and emerge happier for it. Teen characters use crude language ("s--t," "f--k," "a--hole," etc.) frequently, but also have relatable breakthroughs and positive insights. The in-depth portrayal of internet culture and the world of fandom is illuminating and spot-on.
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What's the story?
Set in small-town Indiana, ELIZA AND HER MONSTERS is narrated by Eliza Mirk, an 18-year-old silent Weird Girl who can't wait to leave high school and Indiana behind. Unbeknownst to everyone but family, she's also LadyConstellation, creator of the hugely popular -- and very lucrative -- online fantasy series Monstrous Sea. She keeps the two worlds separate, and she likes it that way. But things start getting complicated when the new guy in school, who's even more silent than she is, turns out to be a Monstrous Sea fan.
Is it any good?
Web comic author Francesca Zappia writes from experience in this engaging tale of a teen living two lives: a silent one in high school and an exciting one online as creator of a popular web comic. Narrator/protagonist Eliza punctuates her story with texts, emails, and graphic-novel vignettes for a lively read that holds strong appeal for many teen readers, especially introverted, artistic, imaginative ones.
In many ways, Eliza is an extended commercial/prequel for author Zappia's popular web comic Children of Hypnos, but for many readers that'll be a huge plus -- more cool stuff to read.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how fan culture is depicted in Eliza and Her Monsters. Such cultures spring up around stories, including online media, local conventions, cosplay, and more. Do you find that whole scene appealing? What stories and characters do you relate to best?
If you had a story to tell, would you draw it? Write it? Sing it? Photograph it? Why would you choose that approach?
How can you tell that friends and family love each other -- and you -- even when they drive you nuts?
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