Hello, book lovers! 💕
So here I am again with another Author Appreciation post. I can’t help but gush about the authors who write such amazing books that make me happy. Not only that, but so far the ones that I’ve featured deal with some tough topics in their books (Becky Albertalli and Elizabeth Acevedo). But that’s one of the reasons I love their books so much. And Francesca Zappia is no exception.
I discovered Francesca Zappia back in 2017. I don’t know what exactly drew me to her books in particular, but I do remember loving Eliza and Her Monsters when I first read it (and every time after that). To be honest, it was probably BookTube (the book community on YouTube) that introduced this book to her initially.
And that’s not even her first book. She had written another book before that called Made You Up. I didn’t know she had a previous book while reading Eliza and her Monsters. So of course, I had to read her first book, and while it wasn’t quite as good as Eliza, but it was still really good.
Something that I really like about Francesca Zappia’s books is the fact that she tackles mental illness in both of them. It’s something that you don’t see a lot of in YA fiction, though I have been seeing it more and more in the recent books that I’ve read. It’s really important that teenagers and young adults who read are able to identify with the characters, and if they deal with mental illness, it’s important to explore that in literature. It helps let teens know that they’re not alone; that other people go through similar struggles.
There are so many things that I loved about Eliza and Her Monsters. I know that I keep saying that I loved it, but trust me when I say I loved it, I truly mean it. ( I mean, I’ve read it three times already and will most likely read it again in the future).
I loved the depth of the characters and the representation of mental illness. I loved the perspective of a creator who has to deal with the opinions of so many people and coping with them. And the relationship between Eliza and Wallace….it was just freaking adorable, I could barely handle it. I also really liked the family aspect to the whole story.
Plus there are illustrations throughout the book, which is an added bonus that I really enjoyed. Because Eliza created a webcomic, so it would only make sense that the reader would want to see some of that throughout the book. It gave more dimension to the story as a whole.
So with Zappia’s debut novel, I could definitely see her growth from Made You Up to Eliza and her Monsters. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed this book when I read it. I haven’t read it as many times as I did with her second book, but that might just be because of the fact that I related more to the characters in her second book.
But I remember it being mysterious, especially towards the end. There were things that happened in the middle/end of the book that caught me off guard. I think that’s what I liked most about it. Also, while I’m not entirely sure if it represents schizophrenia accurately, as I don’t have it or know anyone who does, I did enjoy the fact that it delved into that mental illness. A reader on Goodreads asked her if she had to do a lot of research on schizophrenia, and this was her reply:
I did have to do a *lot* of research on paranoid schizophrenia for Made You Up. I think the only way you could write a book about it without doing research is by having paranoid schizophrenia yourself, which I do not. Because I didn’t have access to anyone who actually had the illness, I researched from as many other sources as I could find–books, documentaries, online forums, interviews with paranoid schizophrenics and mental health professionals.
It’s not something I read about in YA fiction. I read a lot about depression and anxiety, but not much about any other mental illnesses. It’s probably because they’re not as common, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be represented in YA fiction. I liked that Zappia explored that topic in this book.
And as it turns out, Francesca Zappia wrote another book that was published last year in October. I had no idea about it until I started writing this post. It’s called Now Entering Addamsville, and it’s some kind of mystery thriller ghost story. From the reviews I’ve read on Goodreads, it seems that it is very atmospheric, spooky and perfect for Halloween/autumn.
I definitely plan on picking it up around that time when I’m in the mood for a spooky book. It seems like the type of book that would give me ask the spooky Halloween vibes that I look for around that time of year.
So there you have it. So there you have it. A gush about another really great author and some really great books. Have you read any of her books? I’d love to discuss it in the comments below