Title: Made You Up
Author: Francesca Zappia
Rating: 5/5 hearts <3
Release date: May 19th 2015
Publisher: 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.
It's been a while since a contemporary novel made me gush, swoon, cry internally and laugh out loud, but Made You Up did it. I can't remember when a novel last made me squeal over an adorable scene or get so attached to a character. This story is going to stick with me for a long, long time.
First we have the characters- Miles, Alex and the gang. Alex has Schizophrenia, a mental disorder that is characterized by the failure to distinguish what is real and not real. With that being said, she fights a daily battle but forces herself to cope with how it affects her life. Alex is amazing. She's strong, sarcastic, witty and smart, but most importantly she accepts the fact that she's schizophrenic and she goes on with her life dealing with it. She doesn't talk about it like it's the end of the world and she doesn't wallow in self pity or wait for people to come and rescue her. In fact, she hates it when people come close to even talking about her mental illness.
What I like about Alex is that she knows she's flawed and different, but she chooses to live anyway. Unlike other female protagonists who chooses to act like damsels in distress, Alex is independent and very capable of looking after herself. Moreover, she's not a complicated character and is in fact very relatable. She's also very lovable because of her sass and wit. Plus, she actually has emotions. Yes she's struggling and is constantly fighting a battle nobody knows about, but she's still a living human being who tries her best to make friends, works hard to build a future and even starts to have feelings for a guy just like any other teenage girl. the author does this thing where she explains the ideas of Schizophrenia through a character who struggles, endures and eventually picks herself up from it. When do you ever come across such a f***ing well-rounded character who, ironically, is mentally unstable and flawed through and through?
Now on to Miles. When we first met him, he's this cold, mysterious guy who doesn't seem to have any friends, so my first thought was 'Great. An angsty teen who probably gets good grades and lives a perfect life.' but boy was I wrong. Miles is a Historian at heart, he's brilliant, awkward, adorable and just overall a really great character. You just can't help but appreciate him in the story because of the way he reacts to the different situations laid out for them. Plus, he's German, and he's quite proud of being German despite being constantly bullied about it (yay for diversity and cool accents!). We mainly follow these two characters and it's their journey as they try to fit in with society and learn to behave in social groups. The book also revolves around Alex's family quite a bit which I appreciate as it is not often mentioned in most YA novels.
Another thing I really liked about the book is the author's writing style. She does not try to write poetically, she writes as if she is her own characters. Her writing takes you to Alex's mind and you're experiencing what she's going through. It is as if you're the character in the book, and because of that the story becomes real. There are also plot twists peppered throughout the book and I did not see them coming :o . Craziness! The ending of the book wraps everything up really nicely and although it isn't your ideal typical contemporary ending, you feel satisfied somehow.
Hoping for a new sequel would be too much at this point but I'm happy with the way it ended anyways. I loved every single thing about this book (shoutout to the ESRAS club! I adore Jetta <3 ) and I cannot wait for the author's upcoming book Eliza and Her Monsters. It's now become my most anticipated read of 2017! If you see this Made You Up anywhere, do me a favor and pick it up. Read it. Love it. Gush about it. Please, just read it.
Thank you so much HarperCollins Australia for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review! <3
Published by Bookish Smaug