Hey guys! I hope you are all having a lovely day, and maybe I can make it better by sharing two of my newest favorite books! I read these two (Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia and When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon) back to back, and I fell in love almost instantly. I haven’t always been into the contemporary/romance stuff, but recently I have found them to be light and fun and really enjoyable! So, even if you are unsure of the genre, I would encourage you to give these a try!
Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
Release Date: May 30, 2017
Genre: YA Contemporary
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.
Okay, I had heard sooo many good things about this book and it had a pretty good blurb, so I knew I had to try it. And I am so glad that I did! This is probably one of the best books I have read in a long time, and it has easily become one of my favorites.
Eliza and Wallace are such geeks/nerds (whatever your preference) and I can totally relate to them! Eliza spends most of her time locked in her room writing her webcomic, Monstrous Sea. And it’s worked out pretty well for her, too, since she’s practically internet famous. She made me wish I was that good at writing or art, so I could be that popular. Even though she has anxiety, Eliza is generally happy and can find happiness through her comic. I’m glad that this was shown through a more positive/happy light, and it added depth and a realistic sense to her personality.
Eliza spent a lot of her time online, and never really connected with people at school. I can totally relate, as I’m sure many, many people can! I would much rather be by myself than with a huge group of obnoxious teenagers that don’t seem to have any common sense. Eliza knows the value of a friendship, even if it is online. That does not make it any less meaningful than having a friend you see face to face. Unfortunately, Eliza’s parents don’t really get that. They want her to go out and be like a “normal” teenager, even though she has her own way of doing that from the comfort and safety of her bedroom. So, her parent’s weren’t my favorite, but they grow on you…
ANNNDDDDD enters Wallace! Wallace is the new kid, and he doesn’t talk much. Or at all when lots of people are around. He prefers to pass notes or text, even to Eliza or his friends. And let me just say Eliza and Wallace’s note passing is ADORABLE. XD Plus, Wallace is the number one fan of Eliza’s comic, Monstrous Sea. But get this: he doesn’t know who she is. Nor does anyone because Eliza’s anonymous online, and prefers to remain that way.
Anyways, Wallace is kind of mysterious and unreadable. He’s got a secret, complicated backstory that makes you want to keep reading and reading until every last question is answered. That’s something I really liked about this book. It’s not terribly predictable, so there’s some element of surprise mixed in, which is rather fun.
In the end, go read this book NOW if you love comic writing, note passing, wonderful and relatable characters. (There’s also some sketches and snippets from the comic that are interesting, too!) Zappia did an amazing job representing the introverted, anxiety stricken community in a way that made you understand their thoughts and feelings, even if you are unfamiliar with it. It was refreshing and lovable, something I long to find in every book I read.
“You found me in a constellation.”
“I made Monstrous Sea because it’s the story I wanted. I wanted a story like it, and I couldn’t find one, so I created it myself.”
“Disappearing is an art form, and I am its queen.”
“It’s not that I don’t like the outdoors. It’s that I don’t see the point of the outdoors when there’s so much I could be doing indoors.”
“Blank pages are supposed to be an invitation. A challenge, even. Here is your canvas–how creative can you be? What limits can you stretch to bring to life that creature in your head? A blank piece of paper is infinite possibilities.”
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: May 30, 2017
Genre: YA Contemporary & Romance
Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?
Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.
The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?
Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.
I had heard some mixed reviews on this one, but I LOVED IT!! It’s so adorable! Dimple is very individual and does not want to follow her parent’s unreasonable expectations, while Rishi is determined to follow Indian traditions flawlessly. They literally could not be more opposite. But it works!
Dimple and Rishi meet at a summer coding camp called Insomnia Con, and get off to a rough start. But, they learn to like each other (wow, what a surprise) and it just kind of goes from there. Personally, I would have liked to see more tidbits about their actual coding project, instead of just their love life. It did take place at a summer camp for making apps, so including coding and app making would seem like the logical choice.
That said, it was cute romance. Both Dimple and Rishi had lots of unique characteristics that made it relatable. There was also some good friend relationships, which seem hard to come by these days. Celia, Dimple’s roommate, is a good friend for her, even they don’t see eye to eye at first. Plus, both Dimple and Rishi have nice, loving families that are incorporated nicely into the story. Hooray for good families!!
The book was written in third person (not my favorite), but I actually didn’t mind! Sometimes the writing is monotone and impersonal when in third person, but I was totally connected with the characters the whole time, and Dimple and Rishi had very different voices. It alternates between their points of view frequently, but I was not confused at all. In fact, I really liked the style, and am eager for Menon’s next book!!
I would highly recommend this one to anyone in need of a good YA contemporary/romance. It’s super cute and easy to read. You will fall in love with the characters and their quirks, and find yourself smiling by the end! 🙂