Book review: The Name of the Star & Eliza and Her Monsters

This was a pretty good week for reading and momming. My husband spent the weekend in Dallas going to SneakerCon (he definitely owes me a BookCon now) and my son and I just had the weekend to ourselves. We went and played with the ducks, went to the playground, did some shopping, cuddled, I mean, it was just the greatest.

Not pictured: Calvin screaming from 6am to 7:30am Saturday morning, Calvin breaking my Anthropologie measuring spoons, Calvin locking himself in the bathroom, Calvin throwing a fit and running out of the fitting room at the mall. 

Also not pictured, me dropping Calvin off at childcare last night to have dinner with friends while skipping and smiling and singing all the way back to my car. 

Gotta take the good with the bad! And this weekend the good definitely outweighed the bad. (He really is a super sweetie little cuddle bug)
And now to the reading! This week I read The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson and Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia.

The Name of the Star

Read: July 6-8 2017

Rating: 3 stars…no…2.5…no 3….2? I don’t know. I just don’t know. 

My Review

I’m not quite sure how to rate this book. This is a contemporary story where someone is copying the Jack the Ripper murders in London! Dun dun duuuuun. Our MC Rory has moved from Louisiana to go to boarding school in London where these murders are taking place. Rory sees the guy who is the only prime suspect and then becomes a target for the ripper because she’s the only one who can see him. It’s a mystery, paranormal kind of read.

Things I liked

  1. Rory is awesome! I really enjoyed reading from her point of view. I liked her because she felt like her age. So many times in YA I’m reading the perspective of a 16 or an 18 year old and they sound like a 30 year old. 16 year old are not that smart or that mature guys! Rory was a fun believable character and I liked her.
  2. I appreciated that Rory was making out with someone and it wasn’t serious. YA its usually all or nothing. You either have no relationship or it’s effing Romeo and Juliet with this burning crazy psycho love. Which is intense for high school kids. YA stop teaching teenagers to expect intense love! Everyone just calm the eff down!
  3. Jazza her roommate! First of all, her name is Jazza and that name is freaking awesome. Second of all, I liked that Jazza and Rory liked staying in their room and studying and just talking. Girl friendship after my own heart. 

Things I did not like

  1. There was a really fun upbeat and intriguing beginning and then it just got…boring. I found myself not really caring, but then caring again. 
  2. Okay so…I LOVED Stalking Jack the Ripper (and I can’t freaking wait for Hunting Prince Dracula.) And there were things about Stalking Jack the Ripper that made no sense and were unnecessary but in the end I didn’t care because I loved the story so much. This being another Jack the Ripper story had me comparing the two, not in the actual story premise, but in how much I enjoyed the story. Which seemed unfair to this book. If I didn’t remember all the stuff about Jack the Ripper I would’ve been more interested. But since I just read a Jack the Ripper book a few months ago, I was pretty harsh in my judgement. I thought there was a lot of amazing potential for the spin they put on it in this story but it just wasn’t…enough…
  3. Okay so the first time Rory gets kissed in this book there is no description of anything and she’s just like “oh and we kissed” and then it ended and I was like WTF are you serious whyyyyy. But then it also made me feel weird…I don’t need kissing scenes, I’m not some weird freak like that…so….just ignore this point….because I don’t need kissing scenes…..
  4. So Rory is one of the very few people who can see the Ripper (no spoilers) and she has this cool kind of super power and I think it’ll be developed more and be awesome in the next book in the series, but in this one it was introduced so late in the book and it just didn’t seem super awesome to me. I really liked Meg Cabot’s Mediator series. Suze is freaking hilarious and awesome. I hope that Rory will one day be like Suze. But I don’t see this series going that way.

I would say I was just…”whelmed” by this story. It wasn’t overly good and it wasn’t overly bad. It was just okay. There were parts that had me excited and parts that had me bored. I’m not 100% sure I want to read the next one.

Eliza and Her Monsters

Read: July 8th, 2017

Rating: Five stars

My Review

This book gets five stars for being a binge read that I did not expect. So an author that I follow in IG (gaaaah I don’t remember who and I can’t find the post) posted a picture of this book and recommended it a few weeks ago. And I remember seeing it and thinking that it was just another contemporary love story that I didn’t want to read. The whole premise seemed a little far fetched to me. Eliza is in high school and has 2.5 million people who follow her comic series. That’s a lot of freaking people. Maybe there is a whole comic world out there I don’t know about where this could be more likely, but I just kind of rolled my eyes at that concept. And I had just recently read Alex, Approximately and it seemed like it would be somewhat along the same lines. Eliza, secret online identity meets boy who is obsessed with her online comic but she’s too scared to tell him. Another secret online identity reveal. I knew at some point the truth would come out and blah blah blah.

BUT. What I did not expect from this story was the mental health issues that were addressed in this book. And then I was like….

Oh. Eliza and her monsters. NOT JUST THE ONES IN HER COMIC. Duh. 

Things I liked

  1. I liked the drawings in this book. They were good but they weren’t like OMG amazing. Made it more believable to me that it was created by a high school student who has a million other things going on
  2. I felt like I could relate to Eliza to an extent. I’m so weird, because if I’m with people who I like and they’re funny and they think I’m funny, I can be the freaking life of the party and be loud and say crazy things and have a good time. If I’m with people who don’t think I’m that funny or we don’t have much in common or they are just really pretty blonde women, I can shut down and get super insecure and be like, “oh Calvin pooped at the house and the baby sitter says it’s real gross and I need to leave.” And then bolt and go read alone for eight hours and have a great time by myself. I get why she doesn’t like hanging out with people. I get why it’s so much easier online. There are a lot of people that I can text FOREVER but in real life it’s like…….hi………..I feel like this book is good for anyone who reads a lot because we generally would rather be alone in our reading than with a large group of people.
  3. Her parents. And I know that’s kind of weird to say because her parents actually suck and they are the worst, but when I was reading this I kept thinking, “ugh Eliza just talk to your parents,” and getting really frustrated with her. But then I thought about my own life and my relationship with my parents when I was her age (and even now) and then I was relating to her way more and could understand why she didn’t want to talk to her parents. 
  4. So Wallace doesn’t talk. He passes notes while he’s sitting right next to Eliza and texts when he’s with a group of people. And I was super judgmental right when this whole issue was introduced. Because this just seemed crazy!!!! How can you be so involved online that you can’t have a freaking conversation with someone?!!?!? I was so annoyed and my son was banned from ever having a phone when he was older and I promptly took him to the park to interact with other children. (He’s 18 months old, I really think he’s okay.) But, as the book goes on I realized that I was being judgmental and that I was a jerk and I’m sorry Wallace. Did I mention that I love when books change my mind about my initial responses to events? I freaking love that crap.
  5. Did I mention I love the mental health issues that were addressed here? I think there’s a negative stigma to people who struggle with anxiety or panic disorders or depression or anything like that. As a Christian, there’s this whole unsaid thing where you shouldn’t be suffering from any of these issues if you were in faith. And it’s complete BS. I was really proud of Eliza for getting help and taking care of herself. Mental health issues are real issues people!

Don’t really have anything bad to say about this book. I really really enjoyed it! And contemporary books have to work extra hard to get me to really like it because I’m not super excited about the setting. Good job, Eliza and Her Monsters!

My final thoughts
Great reading week! Did you read anything good?!


5 thoughts on “Book review: The Name of the Star & Eliza and Her Monsters”

  1. It seems everyone has a different opinion on The Name of The Star. I remember not being a fan of the first half but loving the second half (but that was a while ago so my thoughts may change if I reread it). I read the second book and remember it being meh. I never actually picked up the last book.
    Your son is ADORABLE! And lol your husband definitely owes you BookCon! I think I’m going to be going next year (if money isn’t an issue…)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Did you ever read Stalking Jack the Ripper? They aren’t anything alike but I liked SJTR so much more! I don’t think I’m gonna read the second one if it’s just meh…

    And thank you!!! I want to go to BookCon so bad! But Oklahoma to NYC is quite a ways away!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t it’s one that I would like to read but I always forget about it when looking at books to buy. I’ll have to remember it when I’m grabbing books to take with me on vacation next week! Yeah I don’t blame you for not continuing the series. I honestly don’t even remember what happened in the 2nd book… Just that I wasn’t impressed.

      We’re about the same distance from NYC! I live in Louisiana so I feel the struggle with the distance, but I’ve been to NYC twice (been to BookCon once) so it is possible! *optimism!* I’ve started saving money now so I can hopefully have enough to go in May!

      Liked by 1 person

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