Review: The Elizas
The Elizas, Sara Shepard
To Be Published April 17, 2018 Atria Books
When debut novelist Eliza Fontaine is found at the bottom of a hotel pool, her family at first assumes that it’s just another failed suicide attempt. But Eliza swears she was pushed, and her rescuer is the only witness.
Desperate to find out who attacked her, Eliza takes it upon herself to investigate. But as the publication date for her novel draws closer, Eliza finds more questions than answers. Like why are her editor, agent, and family mixing up events from her novel with events from her life? Her novel is completely fictional, isn’t it...
Initially I was a little annoyed by the fever dream quality of the story and had a hard time connecting with Eliza who seemed to be suffering from a joint case of “poor little rich girl” and a deep desire to always be a little bit too much.
As I continued to read I was still struggling with encountering so many characters who are deeply and proudly odd that there was an oversaturated manic pixie feeling to everyone. It made me want to put the book down. But when I put the book down I found that I was still thinking about and would pick it back up a read a little more. And as the many mysteries around Eliza swirled I found that I had to keep reading.
The story isn’t entirely a new one. I won’t name specific references in order to avoid spoilers, but suffice to say there’s two movies in particular that come to mind once I got to around the 80% mark of the book. They happen to be movies I enjoyed, and the book still delivers it with a unique twist, so I don’t mind revisiting this idea.
If, like me, you read many of the Pretty Little Liar books when they came out and had a love/hate relationship with the drama, there’s none of that teenage soap here. Some of the choices the characters make, especially in terms of keeping secrets for the supposed benefit of others feels just as outlandish, but without the extra bonkers vibe the PLL books gave. By the end of the book in particular, Eliza’s story is firmly in the adult world.
This story is thoroughly enjoyable once you get to know everyone and actively make the decision to just strap in for the ride. You'll have the most fun if you're willing to suspend your disbelief for awhile and step into Eliza's shoes.
There’s quite a few fun little nods to being an author in this day and age, the social media requirements and the ways that someone’s personal traumas can be spun into salacious fodder for selling more books.
Overall I can’t help but want to deem this book a great vacation read or “beach read” for the light tone of the writing, and the blend of darkness, quirk, and glamour of the content. It’s fun in it’s own odd way.