Monday, June 1, 2015

[Review: Made You Up by Francesca Zappia]

"Made You Up"
Author: Francesca Zappia
Series: None
Pages: 448
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Thriller
Date Published: May 19th, 2015
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Format Read: eARC provided by publisher (via Edelweiss) for honest review


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.

My Thoughts:

An Open Letter To Made You Up,

You were a weird one. On some levels I really liked you a lot. It was interesting to be in someone's head that didn't know what was real and what was made up. You had a couple really cool moments where I didn't even know what was going on, and I liked that feeling. Though I will say that some of you was very predictable for me. I liked you, even if I didn't love you!

-The White Unicorn

I love unreliable narrators, and that's just what Alex is. I thought that this book was refreshing, though I also thought that the story got a bit out of hand at moments. Zappia is obviously an author who is willing to think outside of the box, and I think that even though every element of the story didn't work for me, she has a really interesting voice. Needless to say, I was impressed with her debut.

Alex has schizophrenia, and she's learned how to make sense of the world around her. No one in her new school knows that, and she plans on keeping it that way. She has so many little quirks, like taking pictures of things that might or might not be there, asking deep questions and looking for answers in a Magic 8 Ball, and questioning everything. So she's basically a regular teenager, but it's her carefully created voice that makes you feel like something is a bit off. I have to admit that I loved living in her head for the duration of the novel.

Zappia's way of writing characters fit the book perfectly. I liked that we got to know each one of them really well, while also questioning every single motive that they had. Were they really Alex's friends? Was she making them up? Were the people she was surrounding herself with even there in reality? I had all of these thoughts rolling around in my head as I read, but I still found myself liking the people in Alex's life. Real or not.

I did have some issues with the story. While it worked well for the book, I found that the high school setting was odd. I found the scenes that took place outside of the school worked much better for me. Meaning that a good portion of the novel felt a little forced for me. I wish that wasn't the case, but it totally was. 

In the end, the good outweighed the not as good for me. If you like books that leave you guessing and are told through the eyes of an untrustworthy narrator, give this one a shot!

3 Unicorns = I liked it a lot but it had it's issues!

1 comment:

Alaska Brown Bear Hunts coastal said...

The ending was satisfying. I felt like it worked. Alex got what she wanted. Miles and a better future. I thought that was good. It suited the book. It made me happy to see her happy. Kissing and loving. In love. Crazy in love. It was odd. But the romance...worked. Somehow. I'm not sure how. There were no more questions. Nothing I wanted to ask.
She got her happy ending. In an odd way.