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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Review: Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia
Publication Date: May 19, 2015
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
A Young Adult novel
Pages: 448
Genre: Mental Health, Romance, Mystery
   buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
R eality, 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 was really nervous about this book.  I had high hopes that I expected to be ruined (which I guess are not high hopes at that point, but I digress).  While it is important to have characters with mental illness in book, it's far more important to have characters with mental illness portrayed correctly. 

I’m happy to say, this book really rose to the occasion and created not only interesting characters, but a wonderful look into the mind of someone struggling with mental illness.  

Depicting the life of the sassy and strong Alex, who has been fighting her schizophrenia for most of her life.  The book goes through the trials she must face when the line between reality and her delusions begins to blur in Alex’s new high school.  The book shows wonderful portrayals of strong characters with a variety of struggles including abusive parents, autism, bullying, and sexual abuse.  Made You Up shows the importance of having a strong support group and also empowers anyone who is battling mental illness on their own. So, character-wise, this book hit the nail of the head.  The romance was satisfying and depicts a healthy relationship between two people. While the romance isn’t overpowering, it’s definitely very strong and used to move the plot along. So, if you are into love, pick this book up.  There is also focus into family relations which is heartbreaking and utterly beautiful. This is a both about Alex's interactions with the world, and the relationships really are what make the book.

The plot can get a little confusing because readers are experiencing and the same delusions as Alex.  It adds to the experience, but because the reader doesn’t know what’s real and what isn’t, it’s hard to keep up with fast-paced scenes.  Also, this book is pretty heavy at times, so not a beach time read. However, the book contains love, fear, a dangerous conspiracy and just some straight up fun, so if you’ve got sometime this summer I highly recommend picking up Made You Up.

Five Targets! And each one rightly earned!