Monday, June 22, 2015

Review: Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

Title: Made You Up
Author: Francesca Zappia
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Source: Greenwillow Books via Edelweiss

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.
Review by Nara

Made You Up is seriously one of those books that we've all been waiting for. A book that properly portrays mental illness, has parents that actually do things, and that doesn't include a romance only to "save" the protagonist in some way. A book with unique characters and an unreliable narrator and shocking plot twists. A book that I'd certainly recommend that you read.

The characters are very interesting, especially our main two, Alex and Miles- neither of them are extremely likeable as characters if you look at the raw data, but there's something about them which really draws you to them. They really grow on you- the snark, the ridiculous pranks. I think it's because they're not really "normal" characters in the sense that they're not characterised in a way that makes it obvious that the author is trying to get you to like them. They're characterised in a way that's as if the author is saying well, these are the characters. Like them or don't, whatever. There's just one character that I didn't really like that much (and couldn't really appreciate as a villain either), and that was Celia, this girl who's obsessed with Miles for some reason or another. She just seemed a bit over the top.

The entire plot toes the line of reality and fantasy, and you can never really trust what's happening in any scene. It was quite a great portrayal of schizophrenia and how the delusions make it so that you can't trust anything, not even that which is seen with your own eyes and heard with your own ears. And sweet jesus, because of this, you're subjected to what's one of the most shocking twists I have ever encountered in a contemporary YA.

The romance is fantastic. It's extremely slow burn, which is probably my favourite type of romance. It's also one of those which progresses from hate (or at least dislike) to love, which, again, is one of my favourite types of romance. It's just a great romance. It takes a bit of time to understand the love interest, Miles, but when you're there, you're really there.

Well, if you want to read a book where a character has schizophrenia, go for this one.
And if you just want to read a good book, that's also a good reason to read this one.

Really liked it
Overall: 8/10
Plot: 4/5
Romance: 4/5
Writing: 5/5
Characters: 4/5
Cover: 4/5