Made You Up by Francesca Zappia
Published by Greenwillow Books on May 19, 2015
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.
I have really been hitting the jackpot on books at Goodwill lately! I was so excited when I found this one because I absolutely fell in love with the cover. The cover is beautiful, the contents are enchanting.
If you are looking for an absolute roller coaster read, this is a good option for you. Because Zappia took the time needed to understand paranoid schizophrenia and uses first person point of view, the reader is able to experience the experiences that Alex goes through right along with her. Much like Alex, the reader has no way of predicting when or where the hallucinations will hit. This adds to the realism of the novel and had me hanging on to every breath to see what was next.
Alex is a very well-written character. Not only is her disorder well-researched and brought to life, she is a typical high school girl who struggles with typical high school things. I loved that Zappia did not try to write Alex as an extra mature or more "adult" teen. Alex is awkward and gawky and weird. She is trying to figure out things that all high school girls need to go through. Not only does this make her easier for the intended audience to relate to, it helps them to understand what life with a disorder such as paranoid schizophrenia could be like. I am excited to add this to my classroom library because I believe that it will help encourage student empathy.
Because Made You Up is filled with brilliant characterization and simple world-building, it can be very easy for the reader to tell what Alex is hallucinating. I loved that it was not always easy. I spent almost the entire novel believing that Miles would be the made up character. When I found out who it was, I was MAD. I slammed the books shut, called my boyfriend, and made him listen to me rant about it for half an hour. When I was done annoying him, I texted my friend and blew up her phone. Zappia made me that person with her wonderful writing skills.
I absolutely loved this book! It was funny and filled with surprises. It encourages empathy and brings the reader into a world that becomes their own. I cannot wait to read more of Zappia's wonderful work!