Title: Made You Up
Author: Francesca Zappia
Release Date: May 19th, 2015
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Genre: YA, Contemporary
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.
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.
“Sometimes I think people take reality for granted.”
I loved this book! While there are a few YA clichés (e.g. the mysterious boy, who turns out to be not such a jerk after all), these are pretty easy to look past once you get into the stride of the novel.
Since I had read Neal Shusterman’s Challenger Deep, I was interested to see how this novel approached the topic of a schizophrenic teen. I was really happy to see that it was very different; not necessarily better or worse, just delightfully different. It came at it from the perspective of the narrator Alex already being very much aware of her illness and struggling to be a normal teenager. Regardless, it was a raw and powerful story that didn’t shy away from the awful reality of this illness.
I really enjoyed the development of the main characters, though for most of the book, I wasn’t really a fan of Miles. He did grow on me a bit towards the end, however. I felt that most of the supporting characters were a little bit two-dimensional, and there wasn’t much substance to them. That could have been a result of Alex not noticing much about them, but likely it’s just an issue of these characters not being deemed important enough to flesh out.
I found that most of the emotional connection to Alex came in the last third of the book, where she had to deal with a lot of things crumbling around her, and her illness catching up with her. Before that, I liked her well enough, but I didn’t really feel any deep care for her. I don’t necessarily think it’s a fault in the writing, though. I think it’s more about the character herself, and the way she didn’t express her feelings very much.
I found this to be a beautiful debut novel, and I would definitely recommend it for fans of Contemporary YA.
Review originally posted on Goodreads.