Made You Up
Author: Francesca Zappia
Publication Date: May 19th 2015
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~
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.
Made You Up is a...touchy one to review, which is why I'm doing more of a What I Liked Vs Issues. But, I just have to say, though I haven't read many (if any) books about Schizophrenia, this has to be the best one I've read (I know, totally illogical, but whatever). I loved how it was explored and felt more of a positive story than a negative one.
So, what I liked...
- · Unreliable Narrator
I love unreliable narrators, and we have one in Alex. Seeing as Alex has schizophrenia, throughout the day, and her testing out medication, she doesn't know that some strange things she see's is real or just a delusion, therefore, we don't know either. She uses her camera as a way of keeping track and to prove to herself what is real by taking photographs of what she's seeing and looking through them at the end of the day. Unreliable narrators are always fun, but it's extra fun, because even though we know Alex has schizophrenia, it never actually felt like you were reading from someone with schizophrenia, if that makes sense. While it's the main subject of the story, it doesn't feel like it, it just felt normal.
- · Romance
The romance is sweet, and I loved how Blue Eyes evolved, and how it linked back to a major event in her childhood, and how she wasn't quite sure whether Blue Eyes was a delusion or not. The romance is also cute because there's so much banter back and forth, and awkwardness because they both don't know how to act around people or how to act 'normal'. They also play pranks on one another and let's just say, Alex gave as good as she got.
- · Positivity
There is some negativity, because obviously, it's only realistic, so with people finding out about Alex's diagnosis, there is backlash and bullying. But...As I said above, the story felt more positive and hopeful, and a way of showing how someone who has schizophrenia can act, it shows the symptoms and how it can progress, and how the medication can affect you. It also shows how it doesn't mean your life is over, or that the personality of that person is gone. They just need a little help and support as they get there. And those bits that were twisted around, nicely done, Francesca Zappia.
- The Lobsters
So I'm just going to say it. I felt the lobsters were a great metaphor for how Alex was feeling. Trapped. She wanted to free them, and maybe if she did that, then she saw hope, and how it was weaved into the story, once again, nicely done Francesca Zappia* Or maybe I'm reading into it too much, but that's how I saw it, anyway.
The few issues I had...
- · Secondary Characters
This is mainly why it's four 1/2 stars instead of five, even though we do get to know some of the secondary characters, there just there. There's not enough background to make them feel real, they felt like characters to just help the story along. Then we have the psycho characters-and believe me, they are psychotic, and to be honest, need more help than Alex-we get a little more on them, and we get why Celia is the way she is, and holy crap, you guys. Holy. Crap.
- · The Parents
Alex's father is absent for most of it, since he's an archaeologist and is working, her mother is present, though we don't get too much of her, so it's partly Parents-in-YA-Syndrome, and the scenes we do get, I want to slap her. Look, I know she's trying to help, and she doesn't know what to do for the best, but wow, the way she acts towards her and talks to her is not nice. At all. She's really puts Alex down.
Made You Up was pretty damn good. It's messy and honestly confusing and weird at times, but it's honest and funny and cute and awkward and will have you smiling as you see Alex and Miles get to know each other, understand one another, and ultimately, with Alex coming to terms and living with her diagnosis.