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Made You Up by Francesca Zappia Book 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.

“Believing something existed and then finding out it didn’t was like reaching the top of the stairs and thinking there was one more step.” 

THIS BOOK WAS AMAZING. Yay for books that talk about mental disease, especially when they get it so right.

What I loved about this book the most was Alex. She was the most unreliable of narrators, so trying to sort out what was real from what wasn’t was really interesting. She’s just as lost as the reader is, so there’s never an inequality in information. I loved Alex not because she’s schizophrenic, but because she’s so real. She has her fair share of problems like we all do, it’s just that she has more on her plate. I liked that the author never tried to set Alex apart from everyone else; the author made us see that yes, she has schizophrenia, but she’s just like any other person.

"I was a schizophrenic, not a damn invalid." 

Alex’s family also play a huge part in this book, and it was wonderful to see that while they didn’t necessarily understand her condition all the time, they were still there for her and tried their best to cope with the situation they were handled.

The romance here was just so…. ASDFGHJLHGFKALKDHGOFIL. Miles is an unconventional romantic lead. He comes off as a closed off jerk at first. Once you get to meet him he’s snobby and rude. But once you really know him… *dreamy sigh* Miles is incredible. He wasn’t just a romantic interest, but an amazing friend and human being to Alex. Their interactions are always all over the place, since Alex has such a strong and sassy personality, and Miles is always throwing it back at Alex. They were completely amazing together and I wish I could’ve seen more of their romance in the book.

Now, this book isn’t all cheery and funny and swoony. It completely breaks your heart as well. You get to feel so much for Alex and her situation. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll just say that there are some twists that you won’t see coming that are going to completely shatter your heart.

My absolute favorite part of the book? It doesn’t romanticize or undermine schizophrenia. It’s not the kind of story where the girl falls in love and is magically cured. It’s the kind of story where the girl falls in love and finds support and understanding from both her significant other and her family. This book shows us how serious schizophrenia is. It tells us how important it is to get help; and most importantly, it doesn’t put a negative connotation on actually wanting to get it.

“You’re allowed to ask for help.” 
“Why doesn’t anyone tell us that?” 
“Because… maybe no one told them.” 

Overall, this book really wins in every single thing it tried to accomplish. Honestly, my review doesn’t even mention the amazing side characters, or the wonderful and supporting friendships, or even the surprising yet entertaining paranormal twist. This book is an incredibly written and sincere portrayal of schizophrenia that you should definitely read! It’s definitely one of my favorites of 2015!

-Marianne :) 


  1. I still haven't gotten to this one! I should though.

  2. This looks so good and I just love that cover! Glad you liked this and wonderful review!

  3. Oh I soooo need to get this book. I have and now I need to read it I love unreliable narrator reads, knowing this one has a paranormal twist makes it even more appealing. . Not that it needed that to be appealing. so glad you felt that way about the romance. I am not sure its a word I can repeat though,. We will go with cheery, swoony, and funny. just like I like them.

    1. Hahaha I hope you get to read it, since it seems to be to your liking :)

  4. Sounds like a fantastic book, and I love the cover!


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