Goodreads Summary: 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.
“You found me in a constellation.”
It’s easy to live behind a screen. To be someone else entirely online as you are in person. For me, this means having a hundred or so friends on Goodreads. To Eliza Mirk, aka LadyConstellation (one of the coolest usernames ever), this means writing a phenomenon with millions of hardcore fans who do things like tattoo her quotes on their skin and use them in their wedding vows.
Eliza Mirk is a complete nobody at school; she has no in person friends, people are scared of her, and she participates in no extracurricular activities. All of her spare time goes into being LadyConstellation and creating Monstrous Sea for her millions of fans. When she meets Wallace, the Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer (who is actually writing an amazing transcription of her webcomic!), he slowly starts drawing her out of her shell. She starts to make in person friends with Wallace’s other friends, and accept herself for who she is, Eliza. And then her identity is exposed and the sht hits the fan.
My issue with this book–I really wanted to love it!–was that I just didn’t like Eliza. She let Monstrous Sea be not just the most important thing in her life, but the only thing in her life. Personally, I thought that she was horrible to her family; she always pushed them aside for her online life. I understand having anxiety and not being comfortable making friends, but she was so determined to make them antagonists in her life. I really enjoyed her two younger brothers, and I could tell that they really loved her, but she condemned them as being just annoying and made absolutely no effort to figure out what was happening in their lives.
I also didn’t like the way the negative way her parents were painted. They often told her to get off her phone, and for that she lashed out at them, claiming that conversations online are no different than conversations in person. While I agree with this somewhat, and find it annoying when my parents often interrupt text conversations with friends, I strongly believe that if someone wants to spend time with you in person (like Thanksgiving??? She was on her phone on Thanksgiving!), you should value their time.
This actually struck a personal nerve with me because for the longest time, I stuck around with these friends who were always on their phones texting other people or using Instagram or something while I was trying to talk to them. I recently ended my friendship with them because they were treating me like sht, and I thought that Eliza was doing the same thing. Fortunately, this was addressed to some extent towards the end of the book. It didn’t mitigate my ire with Eliza, though.
With that being said, Eliza does grow and mature over the course of the story. I enjoyed the second half of the book significantly more than the first half. I was really impressed with Eliza’s character growth, since she started out so annoying; I never really liked her, but she grew on me.
There were several twists/things that I didn’t expect. They redeemed the characters to me in a part (not entirely, but I definitely liked them a lot more than I did in the beginning). And I really liked all the rest of the characters in this book! Unlike Eliza, I loved her family, especially her two younger brothers. And my absolute favorite characters to read about were Eliza’s online friends, Emmy and Max!
The issue of suicide was seriously addressed, which I was not expecting, but I think really added to the story. It really added a level of depth and realism to the story, taking it from a cute contemporary to the next level.
The story was also told in a really original and fun way; it was full of chat threads, emails, letters, online profiles, status updates, and best of all, excerpts and drawings from Monstrous Sea. I think that most teenagers and people growing up in this generation will really be able to connect with the story, and will enjoy these parts 🙂
3 out of 5 sketched stars
You can also read my review on Goodreads here.