A 60 Second Review by Anne Brees
Genre – Young Adult Contemporary
Summary – 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.
Initial Thoughts – I really, really appreciate this book. Before the insight that this book gave me, I assumed schizophrenia was a dangerous mental illness that consisted only of voices in someone’s head. I am embarrassed by that assumption. This is why diverse books are so important.
Plot – ★★★★★ I spent the whole book worried for Alex and Miles. Alex’s schizophrenia is an important part of the story, but there are plenty of other plot threads to pull the story along.
Characters – ★★★★☆ With the unreliable narrator, I spent the whole book questioning what was true and what wasn’t. And that’s what Alex’s schizophrenia is like. I cared deeply for both Alex and Miles. While I thought there might have been a few too many side characters, they all had pretty unique traits.
Story world – ★★★★★ The story world is confusing, as told from Alex’s point of view. However, it was a confusing that added quite a bit to the story, not a bad confusing.
Style – ★★★★★ Zappia gives her readers a clear look at what schizophrenia really is like. There’s no breaks. There’s no easy way to ask for the truth. There’s no certainty. It was terrifying and educational and so important for me to read. Zappia also has a distinct voice with a lovely level of humor and sass.
Closing Thoughts – This is the first book that I’ve ever read about schizophrenia and I really appreciated the education it gave me. It was an interesting and well paced read.
Recommendation – Recommended for lovers of unreliable narrators, slow love, and diversity.