Book Review: Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

Made You Up
Author: Francesca Zappia
Reading Level: Young Adult
Genres: Realistic Fiction | Mental Illness | Romance
Release Date: May 19th 2015
Review Source: Greenwillow Books

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 freakin’ loved this book. Like, I now have an emotional attachment to Miles and Alex and we are best friends and no one take that away from me. Although, in contradiction to that, after I read the synopsis, I was convinced I was not going to like it and I would do anything to avoid it after starting it. I thought it was going to be one of those books that put me in a bad mood. I couldn’t have been more wrong. This book had me smiling so much and I was so giddy that I literally just had to put it down and collect myself in order to continue reading it. The story is so interesting and the characters are so vivid and the development was seamless. Honestly, this may have made it into my top ten favorites. I finished this in a matter of a few hours; I started it late morning, maybe 10 AM, and finished before 5:30 PM. That’s saying something, because it has been a while since I have finished any book that quickly.

See, Alex was diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of ten after an incident at a grocery store when she was seven. She was caught trying to “free the lobsters.” She had told her mom that she and a little blue-eyed boy wanted the red lobsters to be free and she saw them crawling all through the aisles. Alex learned that day that she had only gotten to reach the top of the tank and her mother pulled her off before she could even get inside and that lobsters only turn red after being cooked. Fast forward ten years and it’s Alex’s senior year and she has to start at a new school. It’s not too bad, though. Her co-worker, Tucker, goes there too. The night before the first day of school, a tall, blond, blue-eyed teen walks into the restaurant where Tucker and Alex work who is notorious for being rude and Alex is convinced he is “Blue Eyes” from the grocery store. Then she has to remind herself that anything that happened that day was a delusion and those memories cannot be trusted. Bust she knew those eyes. And those eyes belonged to Miles. Turns out, he was in charge of the club she had to be a part of for community service hours. They got along, she was making friends, went to a party. Things were going great, but with making friends, you’re bound to make enemies. She may have gotten too close and started unraveling everything she felt was wrong with this place despite her better judgement. Herself, Tucker, and Miles team up and get to the bottom of things.

There are so many components to this story and everyone in it. There is so much to learn and to love and it’s hard to not get the least bit attached. Honestly, a beautiful story.

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