Made You Up by Francesca Zappia
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.
Publishes in US: May 19th 2015 by Greenwillow Books
Genre: ya contemp mental illness
Source: Harper Teen via edelweiss
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I wanted to read Made You Up because I deal with mental health issues myself, and I love books that handle it well, and give readers a view into a world view and problems that they might not otherwise experience or understand. I don't deal with schizophrenia personally, but I have other issues, and can relate in some ways, but also have a lot to learn myself.
Alex is an easy character to like. The way that she describes the world is so real, but that's the thing for her, sometimes she has a hard time distinguishing what is real and what is a delusion. I can't help but feel for her, especially as she is describing her experience with doctors and finding the right medicines. It can be such a challenge to find a doctor that you trust, and then finding the right meds, ones that don't have huge side effects, and actually help more than hurt is a journey and experience all on its own. I think that it stays pretty realistic to what could easily be a real life medical experience.
Having an unreliable narrator is always an experience but this one surprised me more than most. There were certain aspects that I never even imagined could be a delusion but it was and it threaded throughout the whole book. There was also a scene that I would've bet my bottom dollar was a delusion that turned out to be real life. So it was surprising and it made me feel even more deeply for her because her lines of reality and hallucination are always so blurred.
I enjoyed the relationships that she formed in this one. They were complex and unique. Miles is a trouble maker, and he pulls some pranks on her and she dishes it right back out, earning her a spot in his closed off friendship bubble. They really complemented each other, and he wasn't easy to shake, and he ended up being a rock for her. He had his own back story that was fascinating as well as reasons to be more accepting of Alex and understanding of her illness.
The other secondary characters were well done too. There were some absolute jerks, and some others who also liked Alex regardless of her problems. She had forced community service with a club that helped with the snack bar, and setting up and breaking down equipment for after school sports. They were an eclectic bunch and it was interesting seeing their reactions.
The whole side story with presumed cheerleading mean girl was an interesting touch as well as the whole fascination of the principal with the scoreboard. It fell on a girl and killed her, and since their principal has been obsessed with it. It adds another dimension to the story, but at times it seemed a bit forced, but still a decent enough mystery and yet another place where we aren't sure where the line of Alex's perceptions are spot on or if she is paranoid.
There was a romance in this one, and it was sweet enough. I like that it began as friendship, and that always stayed a priority instead of head over heels, nothing else matters like it can be with teens at times.
I did enjoy how they ended the story. Alex had to accept a lot about herself and her disease, but I was proud of her determination and her strength.
My question to you, my lovely readers:
Have you ever had dreams you were convinced were real?