Accurate portrayals of mental health in the media have been on the rise in the past decade. As someone who has struggled with anxiety since I was fifteen, it has been comforting to find more and more characters that I can identify with. The first character I truly felt connected to was Eliza from the YA novel Eliza and Her Monsters.
This novel is centered around Eliza Mirk, an awkward high school senior and the anonymous creator of the popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. She is only known as LadyConstellation online. Eliza spends most of her time alone, avoiding her family, or online until she meets shy transfer student Wallace Warland, an avid fanfiction writer of her comic. As their relationship progresses, the closed off life she has made for herself begins to crumble.
While Eliza is navigating her romantic feelings for Wallace, she attempts to manage her anxiety. I related to Eliza a lot as she experiences anxiety attacks, becomes nervous encountering new people and tasks, and has fatigue from her mental health issues. Additionally, I overthink situations for days and have chest and stomach pains, just like her. The issues Eliza grapples with are ones that I have to deal with on a daily basis as well.
I would recommend Eliza and Her Monsters not only for its fantastic main characters and mixed media elements, but also for its representation of anxiety. I hope other people can find as much comfort in Eliza as I have.