Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Eliza and Her Monsters

Zappia, Francesca (Author/Illustrator)
HarperCollins 2017. 388 pages
First published: 2017
ISBN: 9780062290137 (hardcover)
9780062290151 (e-book)
Original language: English
Book type: Novel
Book genre: Multigenre

Text Elements:

characterization, conflict, dialogue, figurative language, multigenre, multimodal, point of view, setting

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

At high school, she’s considered a creepy loner. At home, among her sporty, outgoing family, she’s withdrawn. Online, she’s the star creator of fantasy webcomic phenomenon, Monstrous World. In this story of coming out of one’s shell, the character of Eliza Mirk combines compulsive artistic commitment with sensitivity to real-life interactions.

The language conveys the comfort and control of Eliza’s internet-filtered world: “He gets that talking is easier when there’s a screen or even a piece of paper between you and the person you’re talking to.” The story is supplemented with sketches and storylines from her webcomic, forum posts and private-messaging with best friends. “MirkerLurker: Why does a twelve-year-old know more about boys than I do? emmersmacks: IM FOURTEEN.”

Observant prose describes Eliza’s imagined world and her burgeoning need for a real life: “I don’t want to be the girl who freezes when confronted with … the smallest shred of intimacy. I don’t want to be alone in a room all the time.” The portrayal of family dynamics is authentic and entertaining: “‘I’m surprised you haven’t yet,” Dad chimes in. ‘Junior year of high school was when your mother and I—’ ‘Stop!’ Sully, Church and I yell at the same time, clapping our hands over our ears.”

When accidentally outed as the creator of Monstrous World, a horrified Eliza ultimately finds the courage to continue expressing herself artistically, while being more open with family and friends—for a richer experience of life: “I think this will be okay.”

  •  

    Eliza exhibits a great deal of maturity in her online publishing and business enterprises though she shies away from relationships with her friends and family. Consider the way she is initially constructed.

  •  

    Discuss the way the relationship between Eliza and Wallace develops. How does this relationship benefit each of the partners?

  •  

    Eliza shares her process for creating her webcomic. Create a comic strip that takes up one of the story arcs from the text, making sure to address one of the themes or sources of conflict. Share with peers and adults.

  •  

    Why might an artist or writer want to remain anonymous, regardless of their degree of fame? Discuss your thinking with a partner or in a small group.

  •  

    Notice the main verb tense throughout. Why do you believe the author used that tense to tell her story? How does it make the story “feel” to the reader versus the use of the classic past tense?

  •  

    Draw a timeline of Eliza and Wallace’s relationship from the moment they meet until graduation. Include all the main events.

  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Personal and Career Planning
  • Social Sciences
  • Visual Arts