Title: Made You Up
Author: Francesca Zappia
Genre: YA Contemporary
Number of Pages: 448
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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’ve actually read this book twice, but I entirely forgot to review it the first time. This is technically a reread, but hey, it happens. I’m going to be doing a small section with spoilers at the end, but I’ll clearly mark when that section begins.
Made You Up was very character driven. Long story short, the humor in this book was it’s strong point. The entire cast of characters all had their own unique senses of humor that really made you love them. I’m a pretty sarcastic person myself, so whenever I come across characters with similar personalities, I love it.
Being in Alex’s head was a really unique experience, as she was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia when she was a child. This makes her somewhat of an unreliable narrator, as her mental illness causes her to hallucinate, and also have paranoid, irrational thoughts. I’ve read books about characters with anxiety, OCD, and depression, but never schizophrenia. It was really an interesting perspective. Some of the things that Alex would talk about immediately stuck out as hallucinations, but some things really left me wondering if they were actually real or not.
The mystery aspect of this book really caught me by surprise, but I ended up really liking it. Throughout the story, you’re left to wonder whether or not these mysterious events are really happening, or if it’s all a product of Alex’s mental illness. I can’t really say too much about this particular storyline without spoiling it, but just know that it’s a welcome addition to the story.
For those of you who are here for a spoiler free review, this is the end of the line. I definitely recommend this book for anyone who loves humorous characters, and even a little bit of a mystery.
SPOILER SECTION AHEAD. DO NOT CONTINUE IF YOU HAVEN’T FINISHED THIS BOOK.
I really enjoyed how Alex was able to admit that her schizophrenia was getting out of control, and that she really did need to be admitted to a mental hospital for a while in order to get things under control. The YA genre has been taking on more and more mental health issues lately, but many of these books just don’t portray mental illness in a healthy way. Yes, Alex had some issues with taking her medication. However, when she didn’t take her medicine, she saw negative effects. I was sold when Alex admitted to Miles that she wanted to go and get better, instead of choosing to stay with him and be healed by “love”. Serious props to Francesca Zappia for this.