Blog Posts

Unemployed Woes

Being unemployed is so fun, I don’t know why everyone doesn’t do it. There’s no job demanding my time. I’m able to just sit back and have fun on tax payers’ money. Said virtually no one ever, let me assure you.

Certainly, there are those out there who do work the system. They exploit what they can, so they don’t have to work. They almost make an art form of it, with Centrelink believing they live somewhere they don’t, they pay X amount of rent when they actually pay Z, they aren’t in a relationship when they are. They spend their money on drugs, and alcohol, and plead to their family for bread to feed their children.

Most people aren’t like that. Most people living off of Centrelink are out there, applying to every job they can. They’re forcing themselves to go to interviews to jobs that they don’t want, because it will be better than nothing. It would certainly be better than relying on a system that doesn’t care about you.

I’ve recently finished my study. This means that I have to make a transition from one Centrelink payment to another. I’m going from Austudy to Newstart. Just as I went from studying full time, to realising that I’m unemployed and virtually unemployable, I’m now having fun dealing with the monetary side of things that will allow me to keep myself under a roof, with enough food to live.

Barely anyone on Centrelink wishes to stay on it. I have many friends who have no choice, who are unable to work more than they do due to chronic illnesses. Most of those would much rather be able to exist on their own and cut out Centrelink entirely. If only it were an achievable option.

Going to work everyday can be easy compared to meeting the expectations of Centrelink. At least then your free time is actually free, and you don’t feel any guilt for spending your money on something fun, something truly for you. I know that right now I would certainly much rather have a job, or at least one waiting for me, than deal with Centrelink. At least if I had a job on the line, I’d know that I’m going to be paid sometime soon. Whereas I am currently sitting in a well of anxiousness with no idea if I’m even going to be able to pay my rent next time it’s due.

Centrelink is supposed to be a system that’s there to support those who are down on their luck. It should be there to lend strength to the weakest members of our society. As such, you’d expect that it would be easy enough for people to reach out and get help from them. If only.

My own tale is just one example of how hard it can be to deal with this system that doesn’t care about people. The fact that I have spent the past two weeks on edge and close to tears more often than not because of it. That I have another two weeks likely to be spent the same way.

Going from one payment to another should be simple. I already exist on their system. I’ve been on Newstart in the past. The only thing that has changed is that I am no longer studying, and instead looking for work.

Towards the end of my time studying, I had a “to do” task on Centrelink’s website. It wanted me to arrange a phone meeting, regarding my switch from Austudy to Newstart. Except, I wasn’t able to arrange the meeting. I tried, multiple times on multiple days, but it was only offering me two days for the phone meeting, and telling me that both those days were unavailable to have a meeting on.

I called up at 8am, to speak to someone. I have had issues in the past where if I try to call even a few minutes later, I will simply hear a busy signal, and not be able to get through at all. It has been a while since I have needed to call at all, perhaps they have fixed whatever issue was causing that. However, I prefer to err on the side of caution.

Over the phone, I managed to schedule an appointment for the next day, between 1 and 2. I spent most of that hour with my phone in hand, only leaving for a few minutes to hang my washing out, at 10 to 2. Naturally, that’s when they rang.

So, I rang Centrelink to try to make another appointment. I was told that the “to do” task I’d had wasn’t meant for me, that it was instead for people under the age of 22. The lady I spoke to this time told me that the phone call I’d missed would have informed me of that, and that instead of having a phone appointment, I merely needed to wait until my study finish date, then make a new claim for Newstart.

I did as much. This time, I had another phone appointment, which I made certain my phone never left my hand for the entire hour I waited for their call. It was short, simply making an in person appointment for me at my nearest office (after being convinced that an office nowhere near me was my nearest). The appointment wouldn’t be for another couple of weeks, and in that time I’d need to get a medical certificate (to prove my anxiety and depression to them) and a form because I’m now a sole trader trying to sell myself as a writer and editor (which is working so well that I’ve had one job in the past few months since I got my ABN).

I showed up to my appointment on time, with my forms in hand. I waited in a rather long line to see the person who was organising where everyone should go to wait for their appointments, or to help themselves at the self service stations.

When I finally got to see her, I was told that I didn’t have an appointment. She double checked with her team leader, who agreed that I didn’t have an appointment. They told me to go home and just upload the forms I had to hand in. I did so, though I was worried about not showing up for the appointment that I knew I’d had.

I missed a call from a private number while I was walking out of the Centrelink office. When I got another call from a private number yesterday, however, I barely gave it the chance to ring.

Hello, I’m ringing in regards to the appointment you had on Friday which you didn’t show up for.”

Can I see the future, to know that I was going to get such a call?

I was so miserable on Friday that I wasn’t able to write a review. The weekend didn’t help me feel much better. Even today, I’m feeling utterly miserable. I have another two weeks before my next appointment. My anxiety is convinced that something will go wrong. That I’ll be denied Centrelink. I have no money to my name until I get paid by them again. Any savings I had was spent on rent for the fortnight. On bills. I’m currently looking at two weeks of barely doing anything. Of existing on two minute noodles. I’m glad my cat has enough food to last the two weeks, or I don’t know what I would do with myself.

Anxiety is a horrible companion, and it only weighs heavier on me at the moment. I don’t know that I’ll be writing my Friday reviews for the forseeable future. Indeed right now it’s hard enough for me to get this written down, to explain why I can barely breathe, let alone write.

There are those who might exploit the system, and use Centrelink with no intention of ever getting a job. Those few are the reason the rest of us struggle to afford rent. To buy food.

The system is broken, and it’s not the only one. It’s a broken system that doesn’t care about those under its care, reliant on it in their moments of weakness. As a broken system it does its best to break those honest few who are reliant on it. It can be hard to realise the truth, to know that you are trying your hardest to look for a job, when people look down your noses at you, and the very system in place to help make this time easier for you is insistent on putting you down, on making you feel a drain on society.

Advertisements
Blog Posts

Blue Screening Mind

Without a routine, days can so easily bleed into one another. Outside of any university or work which can remind me what day is what, I completely forget what day it is. I can tell you the date, since it’s sitting there on the lower right hand side of my computer screen, but the day itself is a mystery to me. Which is how it wasn’t until I was lying in bed last night that I realised I’d missed my self appointed day to post a blog.

Unstructured days can be the enemy when you have a mental illness. I usually try to do things when I’m on holidays, so I have certain days to do certain things on. Unfortunately, it can be quite difficult to do those things when they require at least some level of money and you have none. As such, most of my days at the moment tend to be structured by incidental things. Whether one of the webcomics I read has updated. Whether the friends I talk to online are working. Whether or not my Grandad goes out for dinner.

Another problem I face with getting my Tuesday blogs out at the moment is that I’m finding it difficult to come up with topics when I’m not going outside and doing anything. Perhaps one week I might inform you of the struggles I face with playing competitive Overwatch in a low tier. Or I could discuss how easy it can be to open up a beautiful game, and realise hours later that you haven’t had a break.

I could talk about how hard it is for me to read these days, when that means pulling myself away from the only human contact I really have access to, which is playing games with friends. I have resigned myself to knowing that I won’t reach my reading goals for the year. There are so many unread books currently sitting in my room, calling out for me to read them, yet how can I do so?

My mental health is currently hanging by a very thin string. A single wrong word or loss in a game can send me into tears. I hate it. I feel so miserably weak. I’m working on it, I am, but it’s so hard to do so when the thing you’re trying to fix is the very thing that’s stopping you from fixing it.

A brain is very much like a computer. Except, it’s the only one you have. When you are unable to connect to the internet, there is no way for you to search for a way to fix the problem. When you face your fourth blue screen of death in a day without any improvement or way to get help, giving up can seem like your only option. For me, it’s not an option. Because when it works, there are other computers on the network that rely on mine to be functional. They can work in the meantime, but I don’t want to leave them without my computer in the long run. My computer has suffered sudden losses of others on its network, and I know how hard it is for people to deal with that. I can’t do it to other people.

I especially can’t do it to the people that I care about, who are of course the ones who would be most affected.

So this week’s update is that I’m working on my mental health, and struggling quite severely at the moment. Hopefully next week’s update will at least be on time. I’ll try to talk of happier things as well.

In the meantime, if you’re facing blue screens of death yourself, don’t forget you can always reach out to people. It can be hard sometimes, when your only means of contact keeps blue screening. You simply have to take those functional moments. Hell, sometimes you need to remember that before the internet there were other ways we talked to people. Try to reach out to those close to you when you’re stuck staring at that dreaded blue screen. Even if they’re not experts, they can often provide some sort of solace or distraction, which can help you get up the courage to restart, and try again.

Books Books

The Lunar Chronicles

I mentioned in my latest blog how I was originally sceptical regarding the quality of a finished NaNo product. After all, writing fifty thousand words within a single month is a lot, and given one of the core tenets of NaNo is not editing what you write until the month’s finished, I found it hard to believe that the finished product would be as good as something someone took their time to write.

Hardly the first or last time I’ve been wrong. Today’s review, in honour of National Novel Writing Month, is the Lunar Chronicles, by Marissa Meyer. Not only did Meyer win NaNo, and go on to later publish a book from what she’d written, but during November 2008 she wrote three novels in a single month, which she later edited, and finally published, as the first three novels in the Lunar Chronicles. Knowing that made me eat my thoughts in regards to quality of a NaNo novel.

Of course, I know that much of the work that goes into a novel is done in the editing stages, though as a perfectionist who likes to get things write the first time, it can sometimes be hard for me to accept that. Yet I want to be an editor, involved mainly in that process. Yeah, I know I’m weird and illogical.

I have yet to read Fairest, but last year I bought Cinder on a whim. Once I’d finished it, I immediately had to go out and buy Scarlett, Cress, and Winter. I may have a bit of a problem when it comes to buying books. What can I say, I like to support fellow authors. While enjoying their wonderful words.

When I reviewed The Selection series, by Kiera Cass, I mentioned how I regretted judging the books by the covers, which is what lead to me taking so long to get around to reading them. The same thing happened with this series. Except, instead of expecting some sappy romance, I was expecting… Well, Twilight. The focus of red on the black cover for a Young Adult novel series gave me flash backs. Eventually, however, I bit the bullet, and I’m very glad I did.

On the scale of genres, I usually sit very far on the fantasy side, though now and then it’s nice to dip my toe into science fiction. I found that Meyer managed to blend both genres together perfectly. While there was a lovely science fiction setting, there was some classic fantasy tropes which worked together quite well. Then again, when you’re retelling fairy tales, the tropes are easy enough to fit in there.

I found the characters all amazing. As with Richelle Mead’s Glittering Court series, she manages to create four unique and strong heroines. Each heroine is strong in their own way. They all have their own goals and motivations, which are entirely different from each other. There’s Cinder, a genius mechanic cyborg, who also happens to be the lost Lunar princess. What starts for her as a pull towards a handsome prince, becomes a fight for the freedom of the people on the moon, whom she barely knew to begin with.

Scarlett lost her grandmother, and fell for the Big Bad Wolf. She stands up for the side of right, and for those who can’t stand up for themselves. While not the mechanical genius that Cinder is, she’s pretty handy with a gun.

Cress is a genius computer whiz, who grew up isolated on a satellite. She becomes attached to Cinder and her Prince, and dreams of her own handsome rogue saving her.

Finally, there’s Winter, the loving Princess, who’s equally loved by her people, although hated by her step mother (what is it with fairy tales and step mothers?). She has a strong attachment to a childhood friend, and an aversion to the glamour that is popular among Lunars.

The series is wonderfully written, with a cast of captivating characters, a compelling plot, and a fantastic setting.

I highly recommend it, and will almost certainly read it again at some point.

Not bad for something where three whole novels were written in the space of a single month.

Blog Posts

Stress and NaNo

National Novel Writing Month, or NaNo for short, is an absolutely wonderful experience. I can hardly recommend it enough. When I first heard about it, I was quite sceptical how can something that someone writes in a month be any good? But that’s not the point the point is encouraging people to write every day, and to get into that habit.
It’s a great habit to be in as a writer. Sadly it’s not one I’m in at the moment. I’ve mentioned previously how I’m currently feeling quite overwhelmed with stress. I had initially been looking forward to NaNo, as I have for the past few years. The NaNo community in Brisbane, which I am lucky enough to be a part of, is truly wonderful. We have some fantastic Municipal Liaisons (MLs) who provide us with sugar, and cheap coffee, as well as organise memorable events. From the Kick Off party, to the Thank God It’s Over party, November is usually a fun month where I churn out the words. For the past few years I’ve managed to go above and beyond the 50,000 that designates “winning” NaNo. Last year I even managed to double that word count.
This year, however, I have been struggling hard. I usually enjoy writing, though now it’s a struggle to come up with words and ideas. I have a story in mind, with an idea of where it’s going to go. This has never failed me before. However I feel so overcome with stress at the thought of writing, that I can barely bring myself to do it.
I’m not going to win NaNo this year. Which is fine. I have accepted this, and in doing so felt at least one cause of stress leave me. It’s sad that something I truly do enjoy can be a cause of such stress, but that’s sadly something I have to live with.
I was first diagnosed with depression when I was 18. Of course, being more aware now, I know that I was suffering for a few years before that. The anxiety diagnosis came later, and was more or less lumped into my depression. Again, it’s something I was struggling with long before the diagnosis. Knowing can make a huge difference though.
Of course, knowing why I am struggling to put words together doesn’t help me put them together. Even though I have given up trying to “win” NaNo this year, writing is still coming hard for me. I want to write. I have a novel I’m working on which I’m actually excited about. I have an idea for a visual novel, which I’ve started working on, and again am extremely excited about. However I look at tge words I’ve written, and I simply cannot find a way to continue.
Thankfully, the Brisbane NaNo community is truly wonderful. Even though I doubt that I will be able to write anything, I know that I will still feel so welcomed and supported at write ins. Sadly I haven’t been able to make the last few, though there’s one tomorrow I intend to go to.
I’d like to spend a quick moment now expressing my adoration for any of you with similar issues. It might not be writing. It might be spending time with your friends. It might be playing a game you like, or going to work. Often times we experience those moments we want to give up, or points we just can’t pass. Today, I managed to write this blog, despite how hard words have been to put together for me lately. Tomorrow, while I doubt it, I may just end up writing something at the write in.
Never be afraid to admit when you’re overwhelmed. Sometimes we all need to take a step back. We need to breathe, and take things one step at a time. I know I won’t win NaNo, and even writing this blog feels like a big step for me write now. That being said, here it is in black and white.
Just breathe and relax. Sometimes, a smaller goal might be necessary. Even when you’ve managed tougher ones before.

Blog Posts

Fantastic Beasts, the Crimes of Grindlewald (Spoilers)

I’m going to take a break from book reviews today, to give a movie review. It’s also going to be quite heavy with spoilers, so fair warning, if you haven’t seen Fantastic Beasts, the Crimes of Grindlewald yet, don’t read any more of this blog. Instead, go see the movie, and read when you’ve watched it, and feel you need to see the opinions of another person who’s watched it.

I’ve mentioned before how I’m a big fan of Harry Potter. I grew up with it, and the story is a huge part of me. Which is why when the first Fantastic Beasts movie came out, I made sure that I was seeing it as soon as possible, in a special screening. The same for the second film.

This won’t be me arguing about the casting choice for Grindlewald. I know it’s a very controversial topic right now, so I’m just not going to touch it. Instead, I’m going to talk about the film itself.

To start off with, I loved it. It was visually stunning, with great effects. Newt was just as adorkable as ever. Tina was wonderful. Jacob and Queenie were absolutely beautiful. Then of course, there are the stars of the film, the beasts themselves.

Everyone’s favourite niffler returns, this time with some babies who cause havoc in Newt’s home. The baby nifflers are absolutely adorable, and I’m not afraid to say that I’m probably going to buy plushies of them as soon as I can. I remember walking away from the first film talking with my friend, excitedly talking about how we needed a niffler plushy. Of course, they delivered. I have one sitting right behind me now.

Nagini is wonderful, although I can definitely understand the controversy surrounding her. The idea of a maledict is great, and of Nagini, the snake we’ve all grown to love/hate in the original series, being one is wonderful. However, I am somewhat worried because I instantly fell in love with her. Nagini is a lovely person, who’s clearly been hurt in the past. She spends most of her time in the film trying to help Credence on his quest to discover who he is. However when the time comes to choose whether to follow him and join Grindlewald, or to stay with the chance to fight against Grindlewald, she chooses to stay. This is where I have my problem. Well, let’s just say, potential problem. It will take a great amount of fantastic story telling to get this beautiful character to join Voldemort. Certainly, there’s an element of Voldemort having control over her due to her being his horcrux. However, Harry was able to resist, without even being aware he was a horcrux.

There are other wonderful creatures, of course, though many we only see briefly. There’s the augurey, who I would have loved to see more of, after everything in Cursed Child. Pickett makes another appearance, with his beautiful bowtruckle nature. We see some firedrakes in a cage, and a kappa in a bath. Of course we see the kelpie, who Newt and Bunty are helping with healing. We catch a glimpse of a leucrotta, and there are the matagot’s in the ministry. Thestrals make another appearance, driving the cart where Grindlewald makes his mistake.

Finally, a new star appears to try to steal the show with the zouwu. A beautiful creature, it is very reminiscent of a cat, with the way Newt manages to befriend it and calm it down. I feel one of my favourite moments may have been when Tina took the toy and caught its attention.

Now it’s time to talk more story things that I may or may not have been happy with. I loved how charismatic they showed Grindlewald to be. This was what made him such a dangerous person, how he managed to convince people that he was working for the greater good. It wasn’t that he hated muggles, but that wizards were better. He even convinced Queenie, a character who loves a muggle, to join him, for the betterment of wizard kind. They didn’t even shy away from showing how Albus loved Grindlewald, which made me quite happy.

Leta was wonderful. I was curious about how she would fit in with the story, and particularly with how she was going to fit in to Newt’s story. I was a little worried, after the first film, that perhaps she would be a Bellatrix clone. Instead, she was a lovely person, set to marry Theseus, Newt’s brother. Theseus was also quite an interesting character. Not gonna lie, there may have been some tears on my part when Leta died. Her story was beautiful. I loved how she was a perfect example of a Slytherin, without being evil.

I have saved what I feel as the most controversial and spoiler filled thing for last. At the end of the film, after it is revealed that Leta swapped her brother for another child on the boat, we (supposedly) discover Credence’s true identity, as a long lost brother for Aberforth, Albus, and Ariana. I was so angry when this was revealed, because it seemed like lazy writing and story telling to me.

Then I thought about it some more, and realised that it could be amazing story telling instead. The so-called proof that was offered up was a phoenix, (presumably Fawkes) who Credence had been taking care of as a baby, and was revealed to be a phoenix at the end of the film, when Grindlewald reminded us of a story that had been briefly foreshadowed earlier about a phoenix coming to a Dumbledore in need.

At first, I was angry, because of how this contradicted what we know about the Dumbledores. Of course, that’s when I started to really think about it more. Because it does in fact contradict what we know. Here’s what we know.

Ariana Dumbledore was an obscurus, much like Credence. She became one after muggles teased her furiously. This is when Percival Dumbledore killed the muggles who had hurt her, and was locked up in Azkaban for it, where he later died. Even in the wizarding world, it takes two to make a baby. Then there’s the little fact that Credence couldn’t have been more than twenty years old in the first film, which took place in 1926, a solid 27 years after Kendra passed away.

Sounds very contradictory of course, when you lay it all out like that. However, what if it is supposed to be? And this is where I decided to accept (at least for now) what happened at the end of the film. It’s yet another example of Grindlewald using his charisma to get others to do what he wants. He explained previously how he wanted Credence to join his side so that he could kill Albus for him, something Grindlewald couldn’t do himself because of the blood oath he and Albus swore.

Kendra Dumbledore was killed by her obscurus daughter. Grindlewald, being close to young Albus, and part of the cause of Ariana’s death later on, was well aware of this fact. Which further explains why he might want Credence to be the one to kill Albus, to hurt him all the more. No one ever said he wasn’t a cruel man. So, Grindlewald simply needed Credence to be uncertain about his heritage, and to prove that he couldn’t be Corvus Lestrange, in order to convince Credence to join him. Once there, he lies about Credence’s parentage, in an effort to make Credence hate Albus, so that he might kill him.

Of course, there’s always the chance that my theory is wrong, and that it simply was lazy story telling with an attempt at a shock factor. I suppose the only way to find out will be to watch the next film, when it comes out in two years time.

Blog Posts

Farewell Stan Lee

Today the world mourns.

It is not the first day that we have done so, nor will it be the last. Sadly the time is coming where mourning will be quite frequent. It is the sad truth of the world as it spins and moves through space that we humans must grow older. Eventually, we all must die, and return to the Earth. Today, the Earth has welcomed back much-beloved Stan Lee.

I have never read a comic book in my life. I appreciate the art. I admire the story-telling. I love the characters. I just have a thing where I always feel the need to start at the beginning. A horrible thing to think about when it comes to comic books, but it’s something in my head nonetheless, which I can’t seem to get past. While I may never have read his works, I’ve fallen in love with the man’s creativity all the same.

I’ve preferred Marvel to DC for longer than I even knew the two were different. Watching superhero movies as a kid, I may have enjoyed Batman more than Superman, but it was Spiderman which really made me enjoy the genre. Then, of course, came the X-Men. Then Iron Man, and the current Marvel Cinematic Universe which we all know and love.

Since before I even knew who he really was, I enjoyed Stan Lee’s work. When I was younger, I was unaware of all the cameos he made. Now, every time I go to see a Marvel movie, I keep my eyes open, eager to spot him. I think the next few Marvel movies to come out will be the hardest to watch. Stan hasn’t been a spring chicken for a few years now, and has outlived many other much-loved celebrities. There have been rumours for quite a while now that even after his death, his cameos in Marvel films will be continued. That they have enough recorded footage of him to be able to keep him in his creations with the help of technology. I don’t know if this will happen, but I do know that it will be hard to watch regardless. Whether it’s a movie he’d finished filming his cameo for before passing away, or a technologically implanted Stan Lee cameo, or no Stan Lee cameo at all, the first movie will be the hardest.

Stan Lee isn’t the only notable name we have lost in recent years. We have lost many big names in the creative circles. From Robin Williams, to David Bowie. Alan Rickman, to Prince. These are people I grew up with. Watching. Listening to. I knew their work before I knew who they work. I was singing “Magic Dance” before I knew it was David Bowie who sang it. I was quoting Professor Snape before I knew Alan Rickman’s name. Hook, and Aladdin are both among some of my most beloved movies, before I ever understood who was playing my favourite characters.

It’s truly tragic, when we lose someone who has influenced the world so much in such a way as this. We have proved, however, time and again, that we can move on. They may not ever be replaced, not truly, but their work will live on forever. Much like Shakespeare’s works are still around today, and Beethoven’s music still celebrated.

I’d like to take the rest of this blog to have a moment of respect for the wonderful creatives we have lost. And to appreciate the ones we still have. Deaths can be unexpected, like Robin Williams’, or Kurt Cobain’s. Sometimes, you know it’s coming for a while. It’s still a shock, regardless. We need to love and appreciate the creative artists that we still have.

For today, farewell, Stan Lee, and thank you so much for everything you have given to the world. You have been so lucky to share your stories with the world as you have, and to have felt the love and appreciation that the world has for you.

Books Books

Eliza and her Monsters

I’ve mentioned earlier in a previous Books Books how I was subscribed to Owl Crate, a service which would deliver a book to my door every month. Unfortunately, I’ve had to cancel my subscription for the time being. However, while I was subscribed I enjoyed quite a number of the books I was sent. It is one of those books that I’d like to talk about and share with you today.

I had no idea what I was in for when I first held Eliza and Her Monsters. I was definitely not expecting the roller coaster that Francesca Zappua took me on.

Eliza was a wonderful character, who suffers from anxiety and depression. It didn’t take me long at all before I connected with Eliza. An artist first and writer second, she had a blog she updated regularly with a story of her own creation, which had become quite popular. Of course, no one knew that it was actually shy little Eliza who was the artist in question. No one, save for two of her best friends, who she only really knew online.

I related to Eliza very heavily. Even if I’m miserable at art, and don’t have a crazily successful webcomic. I relate because like me, Eliza is a creative person, who uses her creativity as a way to get away from things sometimes. An escape from the world. Like me, she has created a world that she knows backwards and forwards, and characters she knows better than the people she lives with.

As a writer, I could definitely relate. Much as, as an anxious and depressed person, I could relate with her on that level. Eliza wasn’t diagnosed at the start of the book, but France wrote her so well that it came through clearly anyway. At least, it did for me.

Because I related so much to Eliza, I soon became desperate to finish the book, to find out what would happen, how this was going to go. Not going to lie, I had a bit of a sleepless night, with a fair bit of gross sobbing as certain things went down.

[Spoiler alert] When it came out without Eliza’s wishes that she was the author that everyone was obsessed with, she broke down. I also felt like I was breaking with her. The writing was so beautiful that I felt as though I were there, that my boyfriend and friends suddenly hated me. [End spoiler]

I was sobbing in the middle of the night, because the writing and characterisation was so perfect. I related so much to Eliza at that point. I understand how hard it can be to open up about things. Particularly big things. It seems easier to just keep it close to your chest, to never let it out. I’ve never had a secret as big as Eliza’s, but I’ve had moments where things have come out that I’ve been trying to keep in. It can be devastating, no matter how small it is, no matter how supportive people around you might be. It can be hard to have something like that come out.

Eliza wasn’t the only character I came to love in this book. Wallace was an absolute sweetheart. Then there’s Eliza’s family. Her brothers were wonderful, but I think I have to give some parent of the year awards to her parents. Certainly, they weren’t the best to begin with. They had some typical problems that parents of teenagers in Young Adult novels seem to have. They didn’t really understand their child, for one. However, when shit went down, they soon realised their mistakes. They fixed their ways, and worked hard to understand their child more. Zappia also did well to make it quite clear that it wasn’t purely the parent’s fault. Eliza wasn’t particularly open to her parents, to begin with. Yes, this is one of the things that a good parent aught to be aware of with their teenage children, and try to work around. Because, let’s face it, teenagers rarely talk to their parents. They’re almost never completely open with them about how they feel. I know I certainly wasn’t.

The ending was absolutely beautiful. I couldn’t have asked for more. It was so real There was no “she was fixed, everything was perfect.” Instead, Eliza started working on her problems.

Another thing that made this book so beautiful and special was the art that Zappia shared throughout it. Art from Eliza’s webcomic Monstrous Sea. With it, there was also shared some of the backstory and facts about the webcomic. There were some beautiful quotes which had meaning not only within the webcomic and the novel, but which has more meaning beyond that.

“There are monsters in the sea,” and “You found me in a constellation.” There are so many other beautiful quotes, both those that were in the webcomic which Eliza and other characters reflect on throughout the book, and in the book itself. These two are simply some of my favourites. And I may need to choose between them one day as to which will be inked permanently upon my body. One day.

I will most certainly be reading this book again, and I cannot possibly recommend it enough for everyone else to read. I cannot understate how much I loved it. It was positively beautiful. It made me ugly cry late at night while desperate to finish. I loved the art, the characters, and the story telling so much. Everything about this book was absolutely beautiful, and even though I know I’ll cry when I read it again, it’s going to happen.