Made You Up by Francesca Zappia
published on May 19th 2015 by Greenwillow Books
young adult | contemporary | romance | mental health
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Reality, it turns out, is often not what you perceive it to be—sometimes, there really is someone out to get you. Made You Up tells the story of Alex, a high school senior unable to tell the difference between real life and delusion. This is a compelling and provoking literary debut that will appeal to fans of Wes Anderson, Silver Linings Playbook, and Liar.
Alex fights a daily battle to figure out the difference between reality and delusion. Armed with a take-no-prisoners attitude, her camera, a Magic 8-Ball, and her only ally (her little sister), Alex wages a war against her schizophrenia, determined to stay sane long enough to get into college. She’s pretty optimistic about her chances until classes begin, and she runs into Miles. Didn’t she imagine him? Before she knows it, Alex is making friends, going to parties, falling in love, and experiencing all the usual rites of passage for teenagers. But Alex is used to being crazy. She’s not prepared for normal.
Funny, provoking, and ultimately moving, this debut novel featuring the quintessential unreliable narrator will have readers turning the pages and trying to figure out what is real and what is made up.
One of my most anticipated reads of the year, Made You Up certainly delivered. While I wish there was a tad less focus on the romantic aspect of the story, I can’t deny that it is a humorous and well-written tale with a protagonist you can’t help buy sympathize with.
Made You Up is the compelling story of high school senior Alex, who suffers from schizophrenia. Because of her condition, she has been homeschooled her entire life – until now…
Alex is a completely relatable character. The one thing she wants in life is normalcy, but with her condition that’s almost out of the question. (And, really, isn’t that something all teenagers want – to simply blend in with your peers?) As she begins her first year of public school, she finds herself falling in love, making friends, attending parties – and for each of those accomplishments, you can’t help but feel proud of her for coming so far.
I went into this expecting a unique look on what life is like for a teenager with schizophrenia and how the condition impacts her on a daily basis, but the reality of the story is completely different – it has a much more romance-based premise than I would have personally preferred. Not that I found that to be a huge problem (being YA, an overload of romance is virtually unavoidable), but I can’t help but wonder if I would have liked this a bit more if it was less focused on the romance and more focused on the psychological aspect.
The romance between Alex and the love interest Miles is not your typical romance. In fact, the two start out loathing each other, and slowly that turns into companionship. However, I could never truly see the chemistry between them. All I could think of when the two of them interacted is what a jerk Miles was to Alex in their first few interactions; and I struggled to see all of the great qualities Alex saw in him.
Having schizophrenia, Alex has constant delusions. We’re aware at the beginning of the story that one or more of the characters here are delusions on her part, but I found the revelation of who exactly those characters are to be a bit predictable, which was a bit disappointing because it could have been such a completely shocking twist.
2015 seems to be the year of “teen issues,” and Made You Up certainly delivers. It is a story filled with romance, delusions, and humor that I’d recommend to those who found themselves adoring All the Bright Places or My Heart and Other Black Holes.
Have you ever read a book where you felt the romance overpowered the plot?
Zoe is a critical reviewer. When she’s not reviewing, you can find her performing in plays / musicals, doing gymnastics, or designing websites.