I had every intention of reading Anna and the French Kiss this month… but right after I started it, I fell into a pretty bad reading slump. 😦 What usually happens — and what happened this time around — is that my life gets extra busy and I neglect to make time to read. A week or so later, I try to jump back into the book I had been reading and find myself stuck. So, I set it aside and read something else instead, usually with the intention to go back and read it after some time has passed. And more often than not, this works like a charm!
I wanted to move on to the next book on my August TBR — When Dimple Met Rishi — but because I’m the worst, I completely forgot that my e-book loan was about to expire. 😑 (Like, in two hours. SERIOUSLY. THE WORST.) So, I put a brand new hold on it, and I’ll be sure to read it ASAP whenever I get it again.
But I managed to grab Eliza and Her Monsters from the library. This is a book I’ve wanted to read since I saw it in the OwlCrate May Comic Explosion box, and it’s been recommended to me more times than I can count. I was also intrigued by the unique structure — the inclusion of online conversations and comic panels alongside traditional prose. Although this wasn’t on my August TBR, I’m so glad I picked up this book, and I think it was a fantastic way to end my month of contemporaries.
Not sure what this book is about? You can find a short synopsis here! Also, this review contains SPOILERS, so if you haven’t read this book and would prefer to remain un-spoiled, look away now!
What I Liked: I really liked Eliza and Wallace’s written conversations, as well as their interactions online. The way that the characters communicate — or fail to communicate, at times — in this book was fascinating to me, and as the reader gets to know both Eliza and Wallace, it makes perfect sense for the majority of their communication to occur non-verbally. And I felt that the depiction of anxiety in this book was spot-on. It didn’t feel forced, and I like that the book shows how beneficial therapy can be. One of my very favorite parts of this book was the world-building within world-building — Monstrous Sea — and how we’re given just enough details to understand what Eliza so passionately works on throughout the book, as well as what her fans are so dedicated to.
What I Disliked: For the most part, I liked the characters a lot, and I related to Eliza in a couple of ways. I did, on occasion, feel frustrated with some of them — which is totally okay! It means that I was actually invested in them and what was happening on the page. But one thing that irked me was Wallace’s pressure on Eliza to finish Monstrous Sea so that his book deal would work out. On the one hand, I get it. He’s excited that his transcription has been well-received, and a book deal might end up helping him to pay for school and begin a career as a published writer, proving to his step-father once and for all that being a writer can pay the bills. But on the other hand, I thought it was shitty of him to suggest that he would only stop being mad at Eliza (for withholding her true identity as LadyConstellation) if she did something that benefited him, regardless of the fact that forcing herself to do it would continue to trigger her panic attacks. His overall reaction — and particularly his demands of Eliza — felt somewhat out of character, and by the end of the book, although I’m glad that Eliza’s doing better, I found myself hoping that Wallace did a hell of a lot of apologizing for his behavior, or at least more than what we see in the book. 😟
Overall, this was an enjoyable read, and I read the last half of the book in one evening. I just couldn’t put it down! And that’s always a good feeling. 🙂