[Review] Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

made you up


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 came across this book during Amazon’s Black Friday sale. It was only $1.99 and the synopsis was enough to get my interest piqued.

I have this thing about only being able to read a certain amount of SciFi/Fantasy before needing a contemporary to “cleanse my palate” so-to-speak. After reading (and LOVING) Illuminae last week, I wanted some realistic fiction to ground myself again, and so I chose Made You Up.

Alex is a 17-year old paranoid schizophrenic who is terrified of Nazis and has to inspect her food for poison and/or tracers. A certain incident involving graffiti and the word “communists” gets Alex kicked out of her school and now she has to start over at East Shoal High School. Things get really weird when she runs into a guy she’s pretty sure she imagined in a hallucination when she was seven.

There were elements of this book that I loved, and others that I thought were just okay. I really sympathized with Alex – she was trying so hard to just feel normal and be able to do the things that other kids her age got to do. I loved her wit and her drive to make it to college.

Now for the not-so-good: the high school itself and the people in it were so strange that I don’t blame Alex for not being able to figure out what was going on. At one point I thought to myself, “Did I miss the part in the description where there might be something supernatural going on in this story?” There were a whole lot of things that didn’t add up – and it’s quite possible that Zappia meant it to be that way so that we could feel just as discombobulated as Alex did, which most of the time I did.

I felt like I spent most of my reading time trying to figure out what the heck was going on and then when we finally got some answers they seemed a bit far-fetched.

Made You Up was definitely a solid 3-star for me. It was entertaining enough to keep me interested but it’s not something I’m going to run out and recommend to everyone I see.

Have you read this one? What did you think?


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