Made You Up by Francesca Zappia (Review & Giveaway)

Made You Up

“Sometimes I think people take reality for granted.”

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.

Personal Thoughts:

“My first-ever friend was a hallucination: a sparkling entry on my new resume as a crazy person.”

The quote above basically describe the condition of the main character in Made You Up. Alex is suffering from schizophrenia, a mental health condition where a person experience hallucinations, delusions or something similar. Alex mind can project a lot of things, and sometimes she failed to recognized what’s real and what is not.

As a narrator, Alex is very unreliable which makes me on the edge of my seat. I keep questioning everything while trying to figure out what’s real and what’s not in the story. I’m trying to dissect Alex mind, trying to find pattern or clues that is non-existent because even Alex doesn’t know it herself. It’s a tricky experience reading from Alex point of view. I keep on expecting something and questioning everything. Like who’s real and who is not? or did that really happen or just another hallucinations?

And the biggest question that keep on popping is, “Is Miles real or not?” What if he is just in Alex’s head all this time. But then the question and doubt is gone when Alex and Miles are in school where Miles is acknowledge by other students, teacher and almost everyone in there. He can’t not be real if others interact with him too like real person. Can’t he? But after removing Miles on the list of possible hallucinations, the next question is “who isn’t real then?”. The title MADE YOU UP suggest someone is just from Alex’s head. So I keep on guessing while I read. When it was revealed my mind still can’t stop thinking what if everything isn’t real? Or more accurately fictional real. What if everything is just in Alex head? Ok. I think I sound crazy saying that but honestly this book is a crazy read. I swear my mind almost hurt trying to figure out what real and what’s not. It’s crazy!

“If nothing’s real, then what does it matter? You live here. Doesn’t that make it real enough?”

Ok, I guess I’m done talking about my crazy experience, let me try to review this now properly.

Beside Alex being crazy and unreliable, she is also an interesting and charming character. For one she is a history buff, which I find really cool. The first time she played Five Questions with Miles I’m impress. For someone who has mental condition, Alex is definitely handling it well. She seemed already come to terms with her mental health. Even sometimes, she herself doesn’t know what is real and what is not, she still brave enough to want to figure things out. I admire her for that.

As for Miles, well he is fascinating just like Alex. No he doesn’t have mental health issue but he’s unique on his own. He’s like one of John Green’s male characters if you know what I’m mean. Yeah, I think he fits the part. He is smart, quirky, adorable, and did I mentioned smart? Yeah definitely smart. Maybe even the genius kind of smart. Love him simply being that. He maybe the king of franks at school who people interpret at smart-ass jerk, but actually he is just a driven person who will do anything for his Mom. Readers will surely feel for him. Everything he went through at home with his Dad is just heartbreaking.

“Intelligence is not measured by how much you know, but by how much you have the capacity to learn.”

Then we have Tucker, Alex’s co-worker/friend, second genius to Miles, and ex-best friend of Miles. His closeness to Alex is heartwarming. He add normality in Alex’s life. He never judge Alex even when it was revealed to everyone her sickness. Even when he has the right to be mad at Alex he never did. He understands her, supports her and continue to be her friend.

“People say teenagers think they’re immortal, and I agree with that. But I think there’s a difference between thinking you’re immortal and knowing you can survive. Thinking you’re immortal leads to arrogance, thinking you deserve the best. Surviving means having the worst thrown at you and being able to continue on despite that. It means striving for what you want most, even when it seems our of your reach, even when everything is working against you.”

Francesca Zappia’s written a unique, interesting, fun, and enlightening story in Made You Up. Her take on mental illness is very eye-opening. Having read a lot of contemporary novels that deals with different mental conditions, it is surprisingly refreshing to read a different type and different approach on character like Alex.

Overall, Made You Up is interesting, quirky, crazy, funny and enlightening just like its main character. Reading Alex’s story is a different wonderful experience on its own. Readers will surely enjoy this new contemporary novel from a newly debut author, Francesca Zappia.

Check out the rest of the tour here.


* The giveaway is provided by Pinoy Book Tours

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1 thought on “Made You Up by Francesca Zappia (Review & Giveaway)

  1. I keep on seeing copies of this from our local bookstores and the cover really entice me though I’m not sure if I can handle reading another “issue” book at the moment. Thanks for reviewing this.


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