Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Book Review: Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

Title: Made You Up
Publication Date: May 19th 2015
Print Length: 448 pages
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Fiction
Reality, it turns out, is often not what you perceive it to be—sometimes, there really is someone out to get you. For fans of Silver Linings Playbook and Liar, this thought-provoking debut tells the story of Alex, a high school senior—and the ultimate unreliable narrator—unable to tell the difference between real life and delusion.

Alex fights a daily battle to figure out what is real and what is not. 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 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. Can she trust herself? Can we trust her?

I'm big into books that deal with mental illnesses. When I heard about Made You Up by Francesca Zappia, I knew it was a book that was right up my alley. I was not left feeling disappointed.

The plot and world building felt very realistic although I'm not Schizophrenic nor do I know anyone who is. I could not tell what was real and what was a delusion by Alex. Kudos to Zappia for giving us a brief glimpse into how a Schizophrenic would feel. I kept second guessing myself throughout Made You Up. Sometimes it would be obvious that Alex was hallucinating, but there were many times everything felt too real to be a hallucination. I would be wrong, and something realistic would be a hallucination. As you can imagine, there were many plot twists throughout this book. There was one major plot twist which I had predicted towards the beginning which turned out to be true thanks to subtle hints the author would throw in, so be sure to be attention to every word on the page to try to grasp what is Alex's reality and what is not. I did feel like the main storyline of Made You Up was whether or not Miles, the boy Alex met briefly when she was a young child, was actually real or not since she meets him again her senior year of high school. It was fun trying to guess if Miles was real or not and if he was the same boy Alex met as a child.

All of the characters in Made You Up had a lot of depth to them. They were all easy for me to imagine as real people instead of characters in a book. I enjoyed reading about Alex and her thought process and what all she had to go through all the time due to her Schizophrenia. Alex, like all the characters in this book, was a very likable character. Miles was interesting. I didn't really know what to make of him throughout the book (mainly because I was trying to figure out if he was real or imaginary). I did enjoy him, and I was definitely intrigued by his back story. It was great learning about him. I loved little Charlie and how much she seemed to love her big sister, Alex. Alex loved Charlie so much as well, and I loved reading about the tight sisterly bond between them. 

Trigger warnings for Made You Up include some profanity, some violence, death, minor gore, some child abuse, mental illness, a minor sexual situation, bullying, references to Nazis,  attempted murder, and death.

All in all, Made You Up is a very interesting read with a fantastic plot and well developed characters. It's obvious the author did her homework before writing this novel. I would definitely recommend Made You Up by Francesca Zappia to those aged 16+ who are seeking a book full of twists and turns. Just be warned that this book will have you second guessing almost everything (which isn't a bad thing).

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