Made You Up by Francesca Zappia
Release Date: May 19th 2015 by Greenwillow Books
Genres: Contemporary, Mental Illness, Romance
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.
I can’t remember the last time I read a book about mental illness or a proper one at that, but all I know is that Made You Up probably ruined them for me. It was hilarious and heartbreaking at the same time.
I’ve seen the term unreliable narrator being tossed around countless times but I never really understood the full meaning behind it. And with Alex, she is the very definition of an unreliable narrator. She suffers from schizophrenia and often times blur the lines between hallucination and reality. Reading from her perspective was downright terrifying because a) you don’t know what the heck is going on and b) it pierces you right in the heart.
Before I make this review any gloomier than it already is, let me tell you the more positive notes of Alex. She’s got so much sass. Like if she and Sturmhond were in an out-sass battle, she’d have legit odds of winning (sorry Sturmhond). Having said that, it was refreshing to read a character that’s full of vibrant energy given the circumstances she’s in.
And there’s Miles. Oh, Miles. He’s a smart-ass bastard and he doesn’t care what you think. Before you continue mentally stabbing him in the face, let it be known that it’s part of his appeal. He and Alex compliment each other so well from the beginning, the story could’ve ended there! If he were a goody-goody knight in shining armour, I don’t think I’ll enjoy this book as much.
At this point, you think you’ve figured out what the ending’s going to be like. Believe me when I say, Francesca will throw everything you thought out the window. It wasn’t the ending I had in mind, but it was just soooo right that I couldn’t have thought of it anyway.
In conclusion, this is one of the best YA I’ve read in a lifetime. It may seem like I toss that phrase around haphazardly, but I can’t help it if the book made me feel so many feels. And I’m happy to say that Francesa Zappia deserves a spot in this figurative hall of amazing stories.